The User's Guide to the Human Mind: Why Our Brains Make Us Unhappy, Anxious, and Neurotic and What We Can Do about It

The User's Guide to the Human Mind: Why Our Brains Make Us Unhappy, Anxious, and Neurotic and What We Can Do about It

4.8 5
by Shawn Smith
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Your mind is not built to make you happy; it’s built to help you survive. So far, it’s done a great job! But in the process, it may have developed some bad habits, like avoiding new experiences or scrounging around for problems where none exist. Is it any wonder that worry, bad moods, and self-critical thoughts so often get in the way of enjoying

Overview

Your mind is not built to make you happy; it’s built to help you survive. So far, it’s done a great job! But in the process, it may have developed some bad habits, like avoiding new experiences or scrounging around for problems where none exist. Is it any wonder that worry, bad moods, and self-critical thoughts so often get in the way of enjoying life?

Based in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), The User’s Guide to the Human Mind is a road map to the puzzling inner workings of the human mind, replete with exercises for overriding the mind’s natural impulses toward worry, self-criticism, and fear, and helpful tips for acting in the service of your values and emotional well-being—even when your mind has other plans.

  • Find out how your mind tries to limit your behavior and your potential
  • Discover how pessimism functions as your mind’s error management system
  • Learn why you shouldn’t believe everything you think
  • Overrule your thoughts and feelings and take charge of your mind and your life

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“You’ve been using the tool between your ears your whole life, but how often have you considered what it is and what it is good for? No user’s manual came with it, but this book helps make up for that shipping mistake. You would not use your dishwasher without cracking the manual. Come on. Time to take a look!”
—Steven C. Hayes, PhD, Foundation Professor of Psychology at the University of Nevada and author of Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life

Library Journal
Smith, a clinical psychologist and blogger at ironshrink.com, defines the mind as "the combined systems that churn away beneath our conscious awareness." Because of a genetic history that reaches back to prehistoric days, our minds continually try to protect us from environmental dangers. These protection mechanisms, which can include anxiety, depression, instant gratification, pessimistic thoughts, and immobilizing thoughts, are the mind's way of attempting to regulate our behavior and stop us from doing what it perceives as dangerous. Smith explains that only after we have found a set of values, i.e., "the principles and standards that drive us toward meaningful action," can we act deliberately against what the mind dictates. Many exercises in introspection (some quite difficult) are provided to help achieve this aim, as well as strategies, case studies, and suggestions of lifestyle changes. VERDICT Despite plenty of humor and numerous examples, this discussion of the human psyche is complex—covering emotions, thoughts, moods, and the internal battle between our primitive and higher minds. Still, though it lacks the simple explanations necessary for wide appeal, the book will nevertheless please serious readers of psychology.—Maryse Breton, Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec, Montreal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608820528
Publisher:
New Harbinger Publications
Publication date:
12/01/2011
Series:
Unassigned Series
Pages:
216
Sales rank:
416,107
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Shawn T. Smith, PsyD, is a psychologist in private practice who has enjoyed a lifelong fascination with the mind. He has done clinical work in diverse locations, including a rape crisis clinic, the International Commission on Missing Persons in Bosnia, and the Colorado prison system. Smith lives in Denver, CO, with his wife, daughter, and their dog.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The User's Guide to the Human Mind: Why Our Brains Make Us Unhappy, Anxious, and Neurotic and What We Can Do about It 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AnnaBirks More than 1 year ago
Dr. Shawn Smith does an amazing job of communicating the experience so many people struggle with, our relationship with our mind. Shawn takes a very complicated concept and communicates it simply, meaningfully and with humor. His approach throughout the book is engaging, thought provoking, and powerful. The book provides tangible tools and resources to assist in evaluating your current life challenges from a refreshing and alternative perspective while also providing you with a road map to create a meaningful and fulfilling life. As a clinical psychologist, I plan to encourage those I work with to utilize this valuable resource. I have already recommended this book to both friends and family. It's a MUST READ!!
Kellsch More than 1 year ago
I have been so happily impressed by this book. It is friendly, arrpoachable, and it allows people to see their "brain problems" in a whole new light, which happens to be a much more accepting and manageable light. The reader comes to understand how to work WITH rather than against his or her own troublesome thoughts, realizing that they are part of human evolution and not as hard to escape as it often seems. It is nice not to feel alone in our seemingly crazy anxiety ridden worlds. We are all human and all have the brains that work this way, but some people have learned to live more harmoniously with their brains, and we can too! My only negative comment about the book is about the title, since I do not feel it does justice to the book's unique take on the problem of troublesome brains and imprisoning thoughts. It sounds like just another book about human cognition, but it is anything but; it is a well written, warm book full of well chosen anecdotes that can help you and/or your patients learn something really new!
CraftyG More than 1 year ago
Think of this book as a fun-to-read instruction manual for how your brain works and how you think. Dr. Smith manages to balance research and clear explanations with a playful and encouraging tone. Since reading this book I have caught myself practicing some if his techniques, allowing me to pursue what I value in life in a more direct manner. I highly recommend for all (even if you are not unhappy, anxious, or neurotic!).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing! It is a clear, concise guide to why our minds work the way that they do. I was impressed with the humorous personal anecdotes, and I appreciated the exercises Dr. Smith gives to his readers to utilize our perfectly normal tendencies toward neuroses! It's difficult to find a psychology book that doesn't have a patronizing tone. The information in this book is funny and informative - I can't recommend it enough!