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The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Livingby Russ Harris
Synopses & Reviews
What if almost everything you believed about finding happiness turned out to be inaccurate and misleading? What if those very beliefs were in fact making you miserable? Too many of us are caught in the happiness trap: we think that we should be happy all or most of the time, and we believe that we can control the circumstances of our lives in order to avoid unpleasant experiences.
In reality, every life is touched by disappointment and difficulty. Ironically, it is our fear of negative experiences that keeps us trapped in cycles of unhappiness. Based on the insights and techniques of a new form of psychotherapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Harris offers key principles and techniques for escaping the happiness trap to create a full, rich, and meaningful life.
Harris shows how mindfulness and acceptance can help us to overcome common emotional problems. He presents the six key techniques of ACT that have been proven effective in helping individuals to:
handle painful feelings more effectively
escape the grip of self-defeating habits, including addiction
rise above fears, doubts, and insecurities
create a richer and more meaningful life
"Physician Harris challenges some basic assumptions about the all-American tradition of the pursuit of happiness, drawing heavily on the 'acceptance and commitment therapy' (ACT) work of University of Nevada professor Steven Hayes, which argues that happiness is not a normal state of being; pain is inevitable and what matters is how it is dealt with. The ACT prescription is to be 'mindful' of negative thoughts and emotions, reconnect with core values, act in accordance with values and with the 'psychological flexibility' to adapt to any situation. ACT techniques include diffusion — decreasing the impact of self-defeating thoughts (without making them go away), turning off the 'struggle switch,' practicing 'expansion' to make room for self-observation and connecting with the present moment. While these concepts might sound like typical self-help fare, Harris makes key distinctions: ACT is not a form of meditation or a path to enlightenment — to reap the benefits, action is imperative. More of an ACT primer than anything else, there's enough interesting content here to keep the reader, um, happy. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Based on the insights and techniques of a new form of psychotherapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), this new book by Harris offers key principles and techniques for escaping the "happiness trap" to create a full, rich, and meaningful life.
About the Author
Dr. Russ Harris is a physician, therapist, and speaker specializing in stress management. He travels nationally and internationally to train individuals and health professionals in the techniques of ACT. Born and educated in England, he now lives in Australia. For more information, visit actmindfully.com.au.
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