Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling, Start Living

( 16 )

Overview

Are you, like milllions of Americans, caught in the happiness trap? Russ Harris explains that the way most of us go about trying to find happiness ends up making us miserable, driving the epidemics of stress, anxiety, and depression. This empowering book presents  the insights and techniques of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) a revolutionary new psychotherapy based on cutting-edge research in behavioral psychology. By clarifying your values and developing mindfulness (a technique for living fully in ...

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The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living

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Overview

Are you, like milllions of Americans, caught in the happiness trap? Russ Harris explains that the way most of us go about trying to find happiness ends up making us miserable, driving the epidemics of stress, anxiety, and depression. This empowering book presents  the insights and techniques of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) a revolutionary new psychotherapy based on cutting-edge research in behavioral psychology. By clarifying your values and developing mindfulness (a technique for living fully in the present moment), ACT helps you escape the happiness trap and find true satisfaction in life.

    The techniques presented in The Happiness Trap will help readers to:

   • Reduce stress and worry
   • Handle painful feelings and thoughts more effectively
   • Break self-defeating habits
   • Overcome insecurity and self-doubt
   • Create a rich, full, and meaningful life

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Carefully and creatively presents techniques that anyone can use to undermine struggle, avoidance, and loss of the moment. Harris systematically explores how we get into the 'happiness trap' and then shines a powerful beacon showing us another way forward."—Steven Hayes, PhD, author of Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life

"Eminently practical and readable. This book reveals that when calibrating one's life according to acceptance and valued action, happiness is a pleasant sideshow in the larger carnival of an engaged and purposeful existence."—Zindel Segal, PhD, author of The Mindful Way through Depression

"An exciting alternative to the usual approach of so many self-help books. Harris explains how we can work with ourselves as we are, rather than aggressively trying to alter ourselves. I'm impressed by the simple and effective methods of ACT."—David Richo, PhD, author of The Five Things We Cannot Change

Publishers Weekly

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)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590305843
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/3/2008
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 43,508
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 5.86 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet 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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Table of Contents


Foreword     ix
Introduction: I Just Want to Be Happy!     1
How You Set the Happiness Trap
Fairy Tales     9
Vicious Cycles     19
Transforming Your Inner World
The Six Core Principles of ACT     33
The Great Storyteller     36
True Blues     46
Troubleshooting Defusion     56
Look Who's Talking     63
Scary Pictures     70
Demons on the Boat     76
How Do You Feel?     80
The Struggle Switch     86
How the Struggle Switch Developed     90
Staring Down Demons     97
Troubleshooting Expansion     106
Urge Surfing     115
Back to the Demons     120
The Time Machine     122
The Dirty Dog     130
A Confusing Word     135
If You're Breathing, You're Alive     139
Tell It Like It Is     146
The Big Story     149
You're Not Who You Think You Are     157
Creating a Life Worth Living
Follow Your Heart     167
The Big Question     173
Troubleshooting Values     180
The Thousand-Mile Journey     183
Finding Fulfillment     191
A Life of Plenty     199
Facing FEAR     203
Willingness     211
Onward and Upward     219
A Meaningful Life     227
Acknowledgments     233
Suggestions for Crisis Times     235
Further Readings and Resources     237
Index     238
About the Author     245
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    The author elaborates on Acceptance Committment Therapy (ACT) an

    The author elaborates on Acceptance Committment Therapy (ACT) and how it can be used to improve one's life. I have used this in conjunction with a therapist. As a "stand alone" self help book, it probably can help. I don't have experience with that. In conjunction with therapy, I recommend the book and the therapeutic method as it's helped me. That said, not everyone will find this set of "wrenches" helpful for managing life.

    Accepting what we cannot change doesn't mean we agree with what we cannot change. That's not easy to wrap one's head around. Also, I've learned "defusion" to help myself with unhelpful thoughts that my mind has appear. The human mind is an interesting, complicated place.

    It does take effort to work through the methods and learn how to use them in the book. Just reading it and hoping for this to improve one's life won't work. Just like any other "self care" tome, this takes work. I'm finding that the effort I put in to this method has helped me. Not all the things in the book help me. Mostly, self care is about finding what works for one's own self.

    Overal, I'm pleased with the book. And I'm glad I've got a therapist who suggested it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2008

    All of us want to be happy.

    But what does being happy really mean? Ask different people and you are guaranteed to get a mixture of responses. Even if you are fortunate enough to know what happiness means to you personally, is it possible to always be happy? If you go to the self-help or personal development section of any bookstore or library, you'll find plenty of books that promise to change your life for the better. And whether or not one of those books has been written to help you to lose weight, or to become wealthier, or to find a new career, or whatever, the underlying message is that, by reading that particular book, you will be happier than ever before. But is it really as simple as that? For most people, it's not. That's because life is complex, and lots of challenges are placed in front of all of us that prevent us from always being happy. So what's the solution? If you are currently disillusioned with life in general, or maybe some aspect of it, I would urge you to read a new book titled 'The Happiness Trap'. In the briefest of descriptions, the 'Happiness Trap' involves frantic attempts to run away from negative emotions and desperately strive for positive ones ¿ resulting, of course, in a vicious cycle in which we are trapped with little or no chance of ever being successful long term. This book is refreshingly unlike any other self help book that I have ever read, and I believe that one of its major strengths lies in the fact that it challenges its readers to redefine what it means to be truly happy. The book then presents a number of practical strategies that can be used to live a fulfilling life, despite the ups and downs that all of us encounter sooner or later. Another great strength of 'The Happiness Trap' is that it is both easy and enjoyable to read. And because the content of the book has been organized into short, focused chapters, you can pick up the book and simply read one, two or more chapters at a time and never feel overwhelmed. The book has been written by Dr Russ Harris, a former GP, who now works as a therapist and coach in the field of 'Acceptance and Commitment Therapy' (ACT). ACT, an innovative and creative mindfulness-based behavioural therapy, is the foundation on which 'The Happiness Trap' book solidly sits. Harris explains that 'Acceptance and Commitment Therapy' is 'based upon six core principles which work together to help you achieve two main goals: a) to effectively handle painful thoughts and feelings, and b) to create a rich, full and meaningful life'. Summing up ¿ read 'The Happiness Trap' book to learn how to create a life for yourself that is indeed worth living.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2009

    best book i have bought

    I highly recommed this book. I have panic attack with agoraphobia and this is by far the best book I have ever bought. this book really helps you understand yourself better and allows you to learn how to deal with difficult life situations through acceptance, rather than avoidance, (which is what most "self help" books do these days). If you are looking for a way to improve yourself and alternative ways to deal with difficult life situations, no matter what they meay be, this is definately the way to go. One thing I have to say though is that you MUST do the exercises that are recommended. The author gives you step by step instructions on how to handle a situation through acceptance, and sometimes asks you to write down answers to questions on a paper, these exercises are crucial. If your not willing to do the work, then it will still help, but MUCH less then if you actually did it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2008

    A reviewer

    This is a great book that even people who dont like self help books can enjoy (as well as those who do). The Happiness Trap is based on the latest scientific research. It can be used by anyone to help improve their life - whether they are facing everyday problems, or more complex issues such as anxiety and depression. It offers a sensible and practical approach to dealing with the stressors of modern life. In summary this is an easy to read book, that can be easily applied by anyone who is interested in improving their life. I highly recommend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2008

    A must read book on ACT

    A beautifully written, clear, and concise ACT book. 'The Happiness Trap' is not only useful as a self-help book, but it is also a fantastic book for clinicians who want an easy to read, complete summary of ACT. Russ manages to captivate his audience so that you really must keep reading until the end!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    Love this book. Very clear and extremely helpful approach to tho

    Love this book. Very clear and extremely helpful approach to thought work. ACT is a great tool to improve how we live our lives.

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  • Posted June 6, 2009

    Great concept

    Very interesting concept, and wonderful if you can make it work for you. However, it would take a long time to retrain your mind to think in this way and learn to turn off the negative thoughts. Several books have tried to accomplish this, so it is not new concept. It does , however, give some new insights and new ways to address this possibility to turn negative into positive. Overall, it is worth reading.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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