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The Happiness Trap: Stop Struggling, Start Living Paperback – 1 March 2007
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From the Back Cover
A guide to ACT: the revolutionary mindfulness-based program for reducing stress, overcoming fear, and finding fulfilment.
Popular ideas about happiness are misleading, inaccurate, and are directly contributing to our current epidemic of stress, anxiety and depression. And, unfortunately, popular psychological approaches are making it even worse!
In this controversial but empowering self-help book, Dr Russ Harris reveals how millions of people are unwittingly caught in 'The Happiness Trap'! He then provides an effective means to escape, through a revolutionary new approach which is shaking the very foundations of western psychology.
This book is for everyone, from CEOs to sales staff, from astronauts to housewives. Whether you're lacking confidence, facing illness, coping with loss, working in a high-stress job, suffering from anxiety or depression, or preparing for the performance of your life - within these pages you will learn scientifically proven techniques to:
- reduce stress and worry
- rise above fear, doubt and insecurity
- handle painful thoughts and feelings far more effectively
- break self-defeating habits
- improve performance and find fulfilment in your work
- build more satisfying relationships and, above all,
- create a rich, full and meaningful life.
'Dr Harris shines a powerful beacon forward into the night. enjoy the journey. You are in excellent hands.' Steven Hayes - bestselling author of Get Out of Your Mind And Into Your Life
About the Author
- Publisher : Exisle Publishing (1 March 2007)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 284 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0908988907
- ISBN-13 : 978-0908988907
- Dimensions : 15.1 x 2 x 23.4 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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However - there were aspects of the book I really didn't like. Firstly, the thinly-veiled attacks on other therapies (particularly CBT). The author acts as if ACT is the holiest holy grail of therapies, and the rest are rubbish. This simply isn't the case. In my opinion, ACT is really CBT in disguise, or at best a nice add-on (it is essentially cognitively reappraising how you think of your own thoughts). Many of these ideas are around in CBT anyway. But even if ACT was brand new, it would still stand on the shoulders of the many therapeutic models which have come before and exist alongside it. CBT has helped me tremendously and yet the author here dismisses it out of hand - he does not believe there is any value in challenging negative thoughts, only in accepting them and making room for them. I believe the two things can go hand in hand. Sometimes making room for a thought isn't enough if it is built on a flawed and highly threatening interpretation - this interpretation needs to be chipped away at. If, for example, someone grew up with abusive parents and absorbed the view that they are bad/useless, it is unlikely to be enough to just see this view as a "story" - that person likely REALLY believes it, heart and soul. I really believe a cognitive strategy is necessary - "making room for" such thoughts isn't really going to cut it.
The style is also exceedingly smug and condescending at times. I understand the author is trying to cut thoughts down to size, but in doing so he comes across as trivialising very real pain. A bit of empathy wouldn't go amiss.
So - some good ideas here but it is not what the author seems to want it to be.
I stumbled upon Dr Harris' work in a moment of real darkness in my life. 25 years old, graduated in a degree with honours and about to graduate from a masters, living on my own with wonderful friends in an amazing city of a foreign country, working in a qualified job that attracted awe and respect from parents and acquaintances alike. Yet, for some reason, I started to feel increasingly miserable and blue, and I did all I could to run away from these feelings, telling myself stories about how inappropriate it was that someone as lucky as me was feeling that way. As it happens, these emotions could not be reined in for long, so they finally burst in the form of heightened levels of anxiety and panic attacks. Feeling desperate, I reached out to my close friends for support, and I also sought some tools from self-help books in Amazon. And "The Happiness Trap" had very good reviews, so I thought of giving it a try.
Boy, I think I've never spent £7.14 more wisely. Part 1 of the book sets for an interesting journey. Part 2 simply blows your mind: anybody who has ever had trouble with an anxiety disorder or depression will connect with Dr Harris' layman stories and explanations as if he had started to write the book only after returning from an expedition into your own mind. It makes you understand the source of all of your suffering and be more at ease with your thoughts and feelings, as you learn to value them simply for what they are: words and pictures created by your mind. Part 3 is inspirational, a super synthesis of the best coaching contents.
I finished the book an hour ago with a stupid smile on my face and I felt the urge to write this review. And because this urge is indeed helpful in building a more meaningful life, for me and for others, I allowed myself to fuse with it (readers will understand my choice of vocabulary best).
In summary, if you feel a bit lost in life, you're struggling with depression or anxiety, or you simply want to grow internally and understand your mind better, this book is a MUST. And to top it up, it's designed as a reference book, so it'll always occupy a preferential spot in your bookcase. As Americans would say, a no-brainer!!