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I must confess I love this book. I re-read it often and also have it as an audio book and sometimes listen to it on long car journeys if I’m on my own.

So many of us link happiness to things and situations – if I had X I’d be happy, if I achieve Y I’d be happy, if I could be in Z I’d be happy. The problem is when is enough enough. The thought processes and drives which say “I’ll be happy when have X” don’t stop when you have X so you end up constantly dissatisfied, constantly chasing the next “thing”.

In this book Richard Carlson introduces us to 5 principle aspects of healthy psychological functioning – a nice feeling.

    – Thinking
    – Moods
    – Separate psychological realities
    – Feelings
    – Present moment

During the course of this book we learn that our thoughts determine our feelings and so we need to be aware of our thoughts and let them come and go without taking them to heart. We learn that moods, your emotional status, fluctuate continuously and that things look worse when you are in a low mood. No prizes for that but he also explains that you can’t think your way out of a low mood and that it is better to let it pass rather than dwell on it.

We need to understand that we are all individuals and each have our own reality based on our own thought systems so no two people will perceive any situation identically or have identical beliefs. To improve our happiness and relationships we must acknowledge this and not try to impose our world view on others and judge them from our perspective.

Or feelings are the barometer of our psychological functioning and the result not the cause of our thoughts. Our feelings serve as a warning our thinking is off track.

Living in the moment rather than focusing on the past or the future will allow us to be happier.

Using these principles as explained can help you improve relationships and problem solving, deal with stress, bad habits and addictions.

Undoubtedly there will be some things that you say “Yeah, yeah, that’s obvious” but I guarantee most people will not already be putting these principles into practices. Doing so will give you a healthy sense of perspective and help you lighten up and be happier.

Keep it with you, read often.

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