The Happiness Trap, a Review

Self help books, I tend to avoid them as I normally find their content lacking.  The Happiness Trap however deviates from that trend and delivers a solid, practical method of changing your mindset.  The author (Russ Harris) draws from ACT (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acceptance_and_commitment_therapy) to get his points across.  He does so in a humble fashion, even suggesting not following his methods if they don’t work.  He doesn’t promise a life free of pain but instead he offers better means of handling hardships.  Most importantly, he asks you to perform mental exercises and asks if you noticed a difference or not.  These details are what kept me reading to completion.

The book starts off by debunking the most common myths about better mental well being.  It dismantles common wisdom on achieving happiness and then builds on top of that.  You will gain insight into the human mind and why it processes experiences the way that it does.  You will go over the ACT method, starting by placing yourself outside of your thoughts (defusing).  You’ll then go through the other core principles which are expansion, connection, the observing self, values, and committed action.  Each of these principles will build and refer back to others and you will get a plethora of analogies to reiterate the point.  You will also be shown how to apply each one of these to several hypothetical situations.  The concept of self awareness will also be drawn upon heavily throughout the book.  The author will ask you to be aware of biases, insecurities, childhood programming, etc.  Towards the end, you will be confronted with the most common self mental objections (which are referred to as “demons” with an ongoing analogy).  The focus will begin to shift on changing your life, asking you to consider what success really is, and determining how willing you are to enact changes.  I found it an appropriate way of wrapping everything up.

There are many other fine details that I can’t fit in one post.  I would recommend this book to anyone who’s caught up in a mental rut or simply seeks to live a more fulfilling life.  Though I was already unknowingly implementing some of the methods before reading this, it certainly serves as a guide to refine those changes.

You can find this book here.

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