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Book Review: The Happiness Trap


Book Review: The Happiness Trap


The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris is a great book for people struggling with OCD, Social Anxiety, and/or general stress and worry. The author, Russ Harris, builds the case against our obsession with trying to feel “happy” at all times. He suggests that our avoidance of “negative” thoughts and feelings is actually leading us towards greater unhappiness. Below, I detail a couple key points from the book.


Tip 1: Change your relationship with your thoughts and feelings

If you believe that the problem in your life is the existence of negative thoughts and feelings, you are setting yourself up for frustration. The truth is that we have very limited control over our thoughts and feelings. Russ uses the analogy of two neighboring countries at war to emphasize this point. Those countries can resolve themselves to unending war (you can continue to battle your thoughts and feelings), they can establish a cease fire (you can grudgingly tolerate your thoughts, but remain paralyzed by hopelessness and frustration), or those countries can work towards actual peace, even if they don't like each other all that much. Making real peace involves truly accepting that unwanted thoughts and undesireable emotions are a part of life. It means no longer fighting with all of those doubts and worries and anxieties in your head. So that you can start living your life and moving forward.


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