Book Club: The Happiness Trap By Russ Harris

Growth Is A Journey is inviting fellow growers on a new end-of-the-year reading adventure with the book The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris.

The book has sold in over a million copies worldwide and has been translated in over thirty languages. The book is a guide in ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), which is a revolutionary psychotherapy that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies and techniques to build the capacity to experience fulfilment in life – beyond the “happiness” trap of our modern lives. With a background in medicine, Russ Harris is a therapist, coach and globally-known trainer in ACT.

A key paragraph from the book, offering a glimpse into its teachings describes the two different meanings that can be attributed to the word “happiness”:

“The word ‘happiness’ has two very different meanings. Usually it refers to a feeling: a sense of pleasure, gladness or gratification. We all enjoy happy feelings, so it’s no surprise that we chase them. However, like all our other feelings, feelings of happiness don’t last. No matter how hard we try to hold on to them, they slip away every time. And as we shall see, a life spent in pursuit of those feelings is, in the main, unsatisfying. In fact, the harder we pursue pleasurable feelings, the more we are likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.

The other meaning of happiness is ‘a rich, full and meaningful life’. When we take action on the things that truly matter deep in our hearts, when we move in directions that we consider valuable and worthy, when we clarify what we stand for in life and act accordingly, then our lives become rich and full and meaningful, and we experience a powerful sense of vitality. This is not some fleeting feeling — it is a profound sense of a life well lived. And although such a life will undoubtedly give us many pleasurable feelings, it will also give us uncomfortable ones, such as sadness, fear and anger. This is only to be expected. If we live a full life, we will feel the full range of human emotions.”

Join me in reading “The Happiness Trap” by Russ Harris and stay tune for a book review and discussion in early 2022.

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