The Happiness Trap.....Russ Harris

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Post by Pixie1970 on Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:57 am

Forgive me Admin guys if I have posted this in the wrong place.

I am reading a book called The Happiness Trap. It basically teaches you to accept your painful thoughts and feelings and gives you techniques to diffuse them. Being HSP means that I have a lot of these thoughts and feelings on a daily basis. I try to make them go away but they never do. This book changes the way that you deal with them so the power goes back to you and not the thought.

ACT breaks mindfulness skills down into 3 categories:
1) defusion: distancing from, and letting go of, unhelpful thoughts, beliefs and memories
2) acceptance: making room for painful feelings, urges and sensations, and allowing them to come and go without a struggle
3) contact with the present moment: engaging fully with your here-and-now experience, with an attitude of openness and curiosity

In a nutshell, ACT helps people to fundamentally change their relationship with painful thoughts and feelings, to develop a transcendent sense of self, to live in the present, and to take action, guided by their deepest values, to create a rich and meaningful life. ACT takes the view that most psychological suffering is caused by experiential avoidance, i.e. by attempting to avoid, escape, or get rid of unwanted private experiences (such as unpleasant thoughts, feelings, sensations, urges & memories). Our efforts at experiential avoidance might work in the short term, but in the long term they often fail, and in the process, they often create significant psychological suffering.

Have a look at the website and see if the book will be of any help to you.



http://www.thehappinesstrap.com/about_act

I highly recommend the book.

Pixie xxx
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Post by jaded on Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:19 pm

It has taken me 44 years to learn to let it go. I don't worry about others so much anymore. I have grown more apathetic & i love the sense of freedom it has given me.
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Post by melodiccolor on Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:45 pm

What ACT is encouraging is solid advice. I have training as a clinical counselor and one of the basic things we learned was the only way to heal is to deal with painful and unhappy events and our reaction to them. To deny them does cause further pain and damage.

The 3 techniques you outlined are solid methods of doing so.

(I hope you don't mind, but yes, I am moving the thread to a more appropriate subforum.)

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Post by Pixie1970 on Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:14 am

melodiccolor wrote:What ACT is encouraging is solid advice. I have training as a clinical counselor and one of the basic things we learned was the only way to heal is to deal with painful and unhappy events and our reaction to them. To deny them does cause further pain and damage.

The 3 techniques you outlined are solid methods of doing so.

(I hope you don't mind, but yes, I am moving the thread to a more appropriate subforum.)

I don't mind at all melodiccolor......I wasn't sure where it should go... Thanks for moving it. Wink
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Post by Pixie1970 on Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:29 am

melodiccolor wrote:What ACT is encouraging is solid advice. I have training as a clinical counselor and one of the basic things we learned was the only way to heal is to deal with painful and unhappy events and our reaction to them. To deny them does cause further pain and damage.

I wish I had this knowledge years ago when I was going through a really painful time. Something was going on within my relationship and my although my sensitivity meant that I picked up on things quite quickly, I had no idea what was actually happening. In the end, after numerous demands to know what was going on, I was told and in quite graphic detail. My mind went into overdrive and these images were bombarding me throughout the day. I couldn't bear to think about them so I just used to envisage the word STOP, I was denying them and it made me ill. I have photographs taken at that time and I am skin and bone, the unhappiness is plain to see. Another event happened within a short time...my Dad was diagnosed with cancer and he was terminally ill. I threw everything into looking after him....what was going on in my life got shoved under the carpet. Those images stayed there as the pain of losing my Dad overshadowed anything else. If I could have used these techniques then maybe I would not have become ill. I never did acknowledge them again...maybe it's time to take a peek under the carpet and get rid of them for good?
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Post by BlueTopaz on Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:29 am

thank you thank you thank you for this
it was just what I needed today

boy, the universe does send you what you need when you ask....

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Post by Pixie1970 on Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:53 am

BlueTopaz wrote:thank you thank you thank you for this
it was just what I needed today

boy, the universe does send you what you need when you ask....

xxx
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Post by melodiccolor on Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:51 pm

I recently dealt with buried pain mayself; it had been buried for over 30 years after ripping me in two. When it came up due to reading someone in a simular circumstance that I love, it was like it happened yesterday and I got ripped to pieces all over again. This time I did deal with it directly, work through the pain and grief. It will not happen again.

Pixie, I highly recommend dealing with what happened in a space and time that other trama isn't happening. Allow yourself to grieve and see things from a more mature perspective now. Sometimes life doesn't allow the time to deal with something that happened to you because of other things happening that must be dealt with. I know this all too well, as do many others.

BT, and Pixie;

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Post by petersi on Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:24 pm

hey pixie,

thanks for sharing. i read the webpage but it was abit technical for me. could you please give some examples of how it work? i will try to see whether its in my library later.

personally i try letting it all out,
cry (internally or externally) it out so to speak, and then
accept it as what it is without sugar coating it and then detach
it from you and throw it into the wastepaper basket.
*poof*
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Post by Pixie1970 on Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:33 am

petersi wrote:hey pixie,

thanks for sharing. i read the webpage but it was abit technical for me. could you please give some examples of how it work? i will try to see whether its in my library later.

personally i try letting it all out,
cry (internally or externally) it out so to speak, and then
accept it as what it is without sugar coating it and then detach
it from you and throw it into the wastepaper basket.
*poof*

From the sounds of it...you are part way there petersi....

The book talks about happiness and how people may feel that they would be happy if only they didn't have bad thoughts, images, feelings etc but negative feelings and thoughts are part of life, they will always be there no matter what. So people think they can't be happy and that is why it is called the Happiness Trap. The methods involve taking these negative thoughts etc and accepting them for what they are...just a thought...just an image...they can't harm you. So you acknowledge the thought or image and then using the techniques in the book...diffuse them...take the power away from them so they don't affect you in the same way. There are techniques using images or sounds. Some people are more visual so they can use a technique which involves seeing their negative image/memory played out on a tv in your mind or on posters or pictures etc ...someone who is more audible would probably do better putting songs to their negative images or a funny voice. Imagine having a memory of someone who said some terrible things to you....and everytime the memory comes back ( and it always does) it hurts you. Well take that same memory and visualise the person saying it to you only this time....give them a funny voice like Mickey Mouse or even dress them up so they look silly. The idea is that you will have the memory but by diffusing it in this way you wont be able to take it so seriously. Each time the memory comes back...you say to yourself...oh righto...it's that ........ memory again and you use the technique. Negative thoughts stop us from moving on. We do well and get a chance of a job promotion or something and our negative memories from the past will have us saying to ourselves that we wont be good enough or we will fail etc. I have a memory of someone calling me stupid..someone quite close to me...said enough times...it went in and I started to believe it. I still have that memory and it crops up whenever I have a challenge...so now I can use the technique of disfusing it. Acknowledge it...accept it for what it is ...diffuse it and move on!
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Post by petersi on Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:55 am

Ha ha thanks pixie..yeah make a mickey mouse of them...
I have always approached it a different away...sounds weird for a hsp to said but i tried to rationalize it...of course not everything can be explained away but often more than most people think...for example if someone did something unkind..i often asked why did they do that?..in the past i always blame myself like most hsp did...destroying themselves unneccessary...but then i realise some people are just like that...they are destroyer of peace as much as hsp are representative of peace...so we look outward and not inward...we must always believe in ourselves...our ability to do good to others and ourselves...like i always said distant yrself from poison people..i have been practising this for 20 years now...people said i look much younger than my age and i wonder whether its a result of this practice...but this method doesnt always work eg what if your boss or colleague is the antagonizer?
Anyway thanks for sharing and your explanation.
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Post by Pixie1970 on Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:31 am

petersi wrote:Ha ha thanks pixie..yeah make a mickey mouse of them...
I have always approached it a different away...sounds weird for a hsp to said but i tried to rationalize it...of course not everything can be explained away but often more than most people think...for example if someone did something unkind..i often asked why did they do that?..in the past i always blame myself like most hsp did...destroying themselves unneccessary...but then i realise some people are just like that...they are destroyer of peace as much as hsp are representative of peace...so we look outward and not inward...we must always believe in ourselves...our ability to do good to others and ourselves...like i always said distant yrself from poison people..i have been practising this for 20 years now...people said i look much younger than my age and i wonder whether its a result of this practice...but this method doesnt always work eg what if your boss or colleague is the antagonizer?
Anyway thanks for sharing and your explanation.

You're welcome petersi Smile and thanks for sharing yours as well.

I have tried rationalising certain experiences.Mostly that involving my ex husband. I find it easier now I am away from it all. I understand that he was suffering an illness of the mind and while he had little control over most things in his life...control over me was one thing that he did have and that is because I allowed it. If he could have watched a film of the way that he treated me then I am certain that he would have been appalled as it would not have made for easy viewing! One thing that you pointed out made sense to me. When I left...people commented on how much younger I looked! I looked and felt healthier, I actually had a glow whereas before I was pale and drawn. My ex still has his demons to deal with only this time I am there as a friend. I still have the after shocks ( memories) to deal with but by using these techniques...I am getting there, it works for me! I can't remove him from my life completely....I don't want to. I still care but from a distance.

As regards a boss or colleague.....there is actually an issue going on at the place where I used to work involving a woman who started off as one of us and became a supervisor. She basically walked around the factory sticking her nose in where it should not have been. She had her department but made it her business to include everybody else's. She spoke to the women like crap and put a compulsory hours overtime ( only really to be used to get orders out) most nights, sometimes making them clean up, just to spite them. There have been several issues as regards her manner and quite a few complaints. One complaint involved her alleged manhandling one of the women who consequently left when her witnesses to it were too scared to back her up. To be fair to the witnesses, they knew only too well what their working life would be like if they made a statement against the supervisor but this only meant that the supervisor got worse and remained unchallenged! Good visualisations to help with boss issues would be to imagine that they are sat at their desk looking at you all serious but underneath the desk, they are wearing a tutu and ballet shoes ( if male) that was the case for me lol....haven't thought about a female! confused Very Happy
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Post by petersi on Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:06 am

Thanks pixie for sharing..I am glad you got out of your previous relationship and not destroyed yourself..happy for you Very Happy
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