From 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)
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"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