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The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living: A Guide to ACT Paperback – June 3, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 1,255 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

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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Review

"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

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
1,255 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on November 15, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on June 27, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on June 27, 2018
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Top international reviews

CheeseFan
2.0 out of 5 stars Some useful ideas but not the holy grail
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 23, 2019
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Shavi
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly transformational book. I feel I'm a different person now.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 17, 2019
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Dr. I. J. Newey
5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible ACT.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 3, 2018
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comingbackformore
5.0 out of 5 stars i can't recommend this book enough
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 14, 2016
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Geoff Poole
2.0 out of 5 stars Long-winded and repetitive
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 26, 2019
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hayley butcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Must buy- best self help book out there!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 29, 2018
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Nicola
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 21, 2017
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Mrs MS Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book with a different approach to combating low mood ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 23, 2018
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Sanz
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 12, 2020
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Gurumax
4.0 out of 5 stars Great little book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 19, 2019
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Stephanie M.
3.0 out of 5 stars No quite sure of the message.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 19, 2019
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Angela Pavlou
5.0 out of 5 stars A book of logic - but put the effort in!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 10, 2019
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Daniel
3.0 out of 5 stars It’s not a bad book, but like so many of the self ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 23, 2018
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Neil
4.0 out of 5 stars I think it is really useful in understanding some of the destructive negative thoughts that ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 3, 2018
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Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Arrived damaged
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 17, 2019
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