I have just finished reading a self-help book by an Aussie author, Russ Harris, called The Happiness Trap. The underlying theme of this book is that unhappiness is caused by failing to live in alignment with our values and that living a values-based life will result in a rich and meaningful life with experience of a full range of emotions. The book also provides skills and techniques to deal appropriately with unpleasant emotion and guides the reader to identify their values.
Written in 3 sections it first describes how our underlying beliefs can create a trap of unhappiness and identifies these to help recognise and avoid this trap. Secondly, there is a significant section on ACT – Acceptance and Commitment Therapy which provides skills to respond positively to unpleasant emotion, skills for acceptance and something called defusion which helps unhook emotion from unpleasant thoughts. The Third and final section helps the reader to identify their values so they can deliberately align their behaviours to these.
Something I didn’t like about this book was the writing style which laboured each point. However the usefulness of this book would rate very highly on the Cardinal-Cyn-Scale-of-Usefulness.
Interesting how I found this values thing – I felt quite uncomfortable reading it. Apparently this is because there’s a gap between values and current reality! No shit Sherlock. Anyhoo one of the value domains is about employment and it was this that triggered my decision to quit with the sole trader idea and get a ‘real’ job. I felt so good about being proactive! Like I’ve moved closer to a value which I was avoiding before – it feels... sort of right. Very interesting to note. I’m feeling positive and chirpy about the job thing. In fact I feel a lurking sense of excitement!
Have you read this book? What did you think about it? Click ‘comments’ and tell us about your happiness levels.