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Happy at Last: The Thinking Person's Guide to Finding Joy

af Richard O'Connor

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From the bestselling author of Undoing Depression - a groundbreaking program to get happy and stay happy! Do you want to live the happiest, most satisfying life possible? Does happiness feel like an elusive goal? According to the most recent developments in psychology and science, the brain can be trained to be more receptive to happiness, because staying happy doesn't come naturally. Nor does our society make it easy. In  Happy at Last,  psychotherapist Richard O'Connor offers new thinking about how we attain and maintain happiness, and he shows us that it doesn't necessarily have to come at a high cost or in a big package. Rather, we can be in command of our happiness by learning to control how our minds work so that we can identify and savor the hidden positive aspects of everyday life. To do this, O'Connor provides us with a set of skills that will help us re-wire our brains to allow ourselves more joy. Filled with practical advice and exercises,  Happy at Last  is a step-by-step guide that will help you achieve * The core skills that we need to feel happy and fulfilled in today's world. * Strategies for increasing happiness, reducing unnecessary misery, and experiencing greater satisfaction. * Techniques for keeping sadness at bay and stress from getting in the way of enjoying life. This is not glib pop psychology but rather the best current science has to offer, put into an accessible and absorbing book. Richard O'Connor makes it possible to be, finally,  Happy at Last !… (mere)
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Can't afford a therapist? In his book Happy at Last, Richard O'Connor combines cognitive therapy and Buddhist philosophy to provide a clear framework for improving your mood and outlook on life.

O'Connor begins by drawing heavily on Daniel Gilbert's Stumbling on Happiness and other recent research on psychology and behavioral economics, as he argues that a great deal of the unhappiness we experience has to do with our outlook or the circumstances of modern American life, and that we do have the ability to change our mood. He discusses the negative traps that lead to unhappiness that we fall into, and intersperses easy exercises we can try to keep from falling into a dark mood. The book stresses that there are no magic pills to happiness, nor should we expect to live in a constant state of bliss. It does, however, provide practical suggestions for change, andleaves the reader confident that he can make real improvements in his mood and outlook on life. ( )
  OliviainNJ | Sep 4, 2009 |
About: Psychotherapist O'Connor gives an overview of human happiness and provides reasons why folks are unhappy and as well as exercises that can bring upon a happier mindset. He identifies three causes of misery: Contemporary insanity is the stuff that the modern world requires of us like the 50 hour work week and other forms of stress; innate foolishness is the false ingrained beliefs such as getting what we want will make us happy; finally, unnecessary misery comes from our emotions or defense mechanism such as denial. 40% of happiness is in your direct control with 50% being genetically determined and 10% due to external causes like health or employment. In order to makes that 40% the happiest it can be, he provides techniques involving things like gratitude, mindfulness, and meditation that will rewire your brain so you can be a happier you.

Some Interesting Things I Learned:

* A big cause of unhappiness is comparing ourselves to other people, we always want to be better and have more than the other guy but even if we get that, it won't make us happy.

* People like things more if they end on a high note.

* People regret not doing things more than they regret the things they did, even if what they did wasn't all that great.

* Losing something hurts more than gaining something gives us pleasure.

* There's twice the chance a kid of divorced parents will need mental health services than one from an intact family.

* In the last 10 years, types of Pop-Tarts has grown from 3 to 29 and Lay's Chips from 10 to 78.

* The more television you watch, the less happy you become.

* People who watch less than two hours of television a day enjoy it more than those who four or more hours.

* Olympic bronze medalists are happier than silver medalists (they think how close they were to not medaling as opposed to thinking how close they were to winning)

Pros: Engaging, interesting read. Good intro. Several "Do's" and "Don'ts"asides provide quick tips like "don't do anything you wouldn't tell your mother, God or children about" and "do take all of your vacation time." Sources cited, further reading list provided. Provided exercises are handy. Also covers happiness in relationships. Wonderful concluding chapter that provides a summary of the topics of the book as well as techniques one can use to stay happy. So if you see this book in the bookstore, skip to the last chapter if you want the Cliff's Notes.

Cons: Underlining of certain words and phrases is distracting. Gets into a sort of a polemic on the ills of modern society in one section and on how current parents aren't good parents in another. All the stuff on mindfulness is a bit too much. ( )
  charlierb3 | Nov 6, 2008 |
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From the bestselling author of Undoing Depression - a groundbreaking program to get happy and stay happy! Do you want to live the happiest, most satisfying life possible? Does happiness feel like an elusive goal? According to the most recent developments in psychology and science, the brain can be trained to be more receptive to happiness, because staying happy doesn't come naturally. Nor does our society make it easy. In  Happy at Last,  psychotherapist Richard O'Connor offers new thinking about how we attain and maintain happiness, and he shows us that it doesn't necessarily have to come at a high cost or in a big package. Rather, we can be in command of our happiness by learning to control how our minds work so that we can identify and savor the hidden positive aspects of everyday life. To do this, O'Connor provides us with a set of skills that will help us re-wire our brains to allow ourselves more joy. Filled with practical advice and exercises,  Happy at Last  is a step-by-step guide that will help you achieve * The core skills that we need to feel happy and fulfilled in today's world. * Strategies for increasing happiness, reducing unnecessary misery, and experiencing greater satisfaction. * Techniques for keeping sadness at bay and stress from getting in the way of enjoying life. This is not glib pop psychology but rather the best current science has to offer, put into an accessible and absorbing book. Richard O'Connor makes it possible to be, finally,  Happy at Last !

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