The Happiness Trap Summary – Mindfulness Meditation

Author: Russ Harris

The Happiness Trap (2007) is an easy-to-follow, practical guide to implementing Acceptances and Commitment Therapy (ACT) written by Russ Harris, an ACT expert and the world’s leading authority on happiness and self-improvement. This book offers a step-by-step approach to using ACT to overcome negative emotions and achieve your goals in life. The happiness trap offers a comprehensive and straightforward explanation of how ACT works and provides all the techniques you need to apply it to your own life.
the happiness trap

Detailed Summary

There’s no doubt that mindfulness is all the rage right now. From celebrities touting the benefits of meditation to employers offering mindfulness courses to their employees, it seems like everyone is talking about mindfulness.

And while there are certainly benefits to mindfulness, sporadic and isolated efforts at mindfulness may not work well. Developing a regular practice and integrating it into your everyday life is important to get the most out of mindfulness.

The happiness trap is a comprehensive handbook to mindfulness based on the latest scientific research ACT (empirically-validated acceptance and commitment therapy). This is a modern technique to spend life with your negative emotions instead of struggling to change them.

The Happiness Trap Summary Key points

Do you think to live with your negative thoughts peacefully? The ACT technique learns to live with negative emotions rather than fight with them.

Don’t make negative emotions worse by fighting against them

People often make negative emotions worse than they have to be. We tend to fight against them when we should accept them and work through them instead. It’s bad enough to feel stressed, sad, or angry in the first place.

Unfortunately, most of us heap lots of additional stress, sadness, and anger on ourselves by trying, and usually failing, to make that bad feeling go away as soon as possible.

When we try to push away our negative emotions, they tend to stay with us longer and cause more damage. It’s time to break the cycle and learn to live with our negative emotions. By accepting them, we can start to work through them more productively.

Think about how you feel when you get upset. Do you think the feeling gets better if you start berating yourself for having it? If you try to push the feeling away? If you tell yourself you shouldn’t feel that way?

Probably not. Research has shown that the more we fight against negative emotions, the worse they get. So what can we do instead? One thing is to accept that we feel a certain way – even if we don’t like it.

Learn to enjoy the emotions that arise

Do you ever feel like you’re constantly chasing after happiness? You’re not alone. A lot of people feel this way, but there may be a better way to approach the pursuit of happiness.

The popularity of mindfulness meditation has shown that a lot of people want to learn how to be present in their lives. Unfortunately, a lot of people also give up on mindfulness because they find it difficult to stay in the present moment. The problem is that we often try to control our emotions by directly pursuing the pleasant feelings that we want. This usually doesn’t work out, and we eventually give up on mindfulness.

ACT, or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, is a mindfulness-based approach to therapy that can help you learn to enjoy pleasant feelings when they do arise while realizing that it doesn’t work to pursue them directly. In other words, it’s not about controlling your emotions but accepting them for what they are.

Mindfulness doesn’t involve trying to control our emotions. Instead, we accept our emotions and commit to taking action despite them. This usually works out better, and we’re more likely to stick with mindfulness in the long run. Studies have shown that the practice of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) can effectively boost happiness levels.

You can’t choose your emotions, but you can choose how to react to them

Designing your life around your emotions is a recipe for disaster because emotions are uncontrollable. Now that you’ve learned to stop struggling against your emotions and ride them out instead, what will you do with your emotional freedom? Will you bury yourself in work, numbing yourself from the pain? Will you lash out at the people you love? Or will you take a step back and figure out what matters to you?

People often try to design their lives around how they want to feel. But what if you can’t always feel happy?

You can still grow a greater sense of satisfaction with your life by establishing your values and taking incremental steps towards realizing them in your chosen goals. Values-based living is about being honest with yourself and then taking action based on that honesty. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it.

You may not be able to change how you feel at first, but if you act on your values, you can still get where you want to go. So, just act on your values and be patient with yourself – growth takes time.

Remember, it’s not about how you feel but how you act. So don’t try to design how you feel. Just act on your values.

The happiness trap quotes

“A = Accept your thoughts and feelings and be present. C = Connect with your values. T = Take effective action.” Russ Harris

“Expansion means making room for our feelings. If we give unpleasant feelings enough space, they no longer stretch us or strain us.” Russ Harris

The Happiness Trap Summary reviews

“This book will change your life for the better, no matter how desperate things may seem right now. Get it. Get it now.” Tony Young

“Incredible brings awareness to a problem you didn’t know society had; I love the illustrated version as well.” Emma Dietz

“I’m a licensed mental health counselor. This book is my go-to recommendation to clients (and family, friends, etc.).” The law wrangler

To whom would I recommend The happiness trap summary?

I would recommend The happiness trap summary to all college and university students who are going to face the reality of the world and disappointments by people for the very first time. And anyone who needs emotional help or guidance toward happiness.

The Happiness Trap Summary - February 2022

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