August 08, 2011

The Happiness Trap

I have just finished re-reading the book The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris. 

I think it is a truly excellent book. The book is based upon ACT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. It is basically a modern day version of what many religions called 'mindfulness'. The main principles are to be in the moment, accepting of your feelings, and to allow them to exist without trying to push the unpleasant thoughts and feelings you have away, simply observing them and acknowledging them but not battling with them. 

I first found this book after Tommy Angelo had often mentioned mindfulness, and ACT itself seems like an agnostics ideal alternative to the religious 'mindfulness' we often hear about. ACT is a nice combination of western science meets eastern wisdom. Having been raised as a Roman Catholic I have pretty much always been sceptical about religious mumbo-jumbo, but having lived in Buddhist Thailand I can also appreciate the other side of religion.

A meaningful life

  1. Defusion - Recognizing images and thoughts as just pictures and words, and not giving them more attention
  2. Expansion - Making room for feelings and allowing them to come and go as they please
  3. Connection - Being fully aware of here-and-now
  4. The Observing Self - The perspective from which you observe your thoughts and feelings absent of attachment or judgement
  5. Values - Clarifying what is the most important in your heart and what you want to stand for in this life
  6. Committed Action - Taking effective action in line with your values, again and again, no matter how many times you go off track

These six principles are summarized in the ACT formula:


  • A = Accept your thoughts and feelings and be present
  • C = Connect with your values
  • T = Take effective action
Redefining Success


There is a potential danger in telling inspirational stories, and that danger is the way in which we define success. Whether we are talking of artists, doctors, athletes, businessmen, rockstars, politicians, or policemen, "successful people" are typically defined in terms of the goals they have achieved. If we buy into this woefully limited definition, then we're condemned to a goal focused life: chronic frustration punctuated by fleeting moments of gratification. So I invite  you now to consider a new definition:

success in life means living by your values.


Define your values, set goals which match your values, consciously take action towards them, embrace uncomfortable feelings and accept them, keep persevering towards your goals which are in line with what you value.


For me my values are to keep on learning and growing as a person, learning new things about the world and myself every day until I die, to have independence, to be free financially, physically and mentally. To be a source of fun, encouragement and reliability for my friends, and family.


These are my values, and the actions I want to take in order to live by them are to be a great TEFL teacher over this next year and to go on to do a MA in TEFL at the same time as travelling and meeting new people from lots of different countries. This will allow me to learn lots about new cultures, expand my knowledge, give me freedom and also add massive value to my life in terms of fun, experience and opportunity for the future.


Posted By Acombfosho at 04:46 PM

4 Comments

Tags: values and action

4 Comments:

PrickselFish posted on August 08, 2011 at 17:20 PM

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Super!


gazavat posted on August 08, 2011 at 18:00 PM

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Your blog is splendid! Keep up the good work!


StevenChamberlain posted on November 14, 2017 at 06:28 AM

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I first found this book after Tommy Angelo had often mentioned mindfulness, and ACT itself seems like an agnostics ideal alternative to the religious 'mindfulness' we often hear about. Have a look at Generic Provigil 100mg which is the best.


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