Book Review: The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want by Sonja Lyubomirsky

by Scott Crabtree

sci of happyBased on years of groundbreaking research, The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want is a comprehensive guide to understanding the fundamentals of happiness. It is data based, thorough, and practical — the best of the bunch on happiness.

I truly love this book because it was my introduction to the science of happiness and the beginning of my career helping others apply the science to work. When I read the book I thought it was amazing: real, solid science on how to be happier, which results in numerous benefits including resilience, productivity, and health. I wanted to remember it, act on it, become happier, and enjoy all the benefits that come with happiness. It occured to me that the best way to learn something was to teach it, so I started teaching workshops based on this book and others.

In part one of the book, author and researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky shares about how to attain real and lasting happiness, speaking to:

  • The real keys to happiness
  • The what and why of being happy
  • Happiness Set Point & happiness myths
  • Choosing happiness activities that are right for you

Part two of the book is packed-full with happiness activities that can be applied to boost your happiness and well-being:

  1. Practicing Gratitude and Positivity Thinking: Learn how to express gratitude, cultivate optimism, and avoid overthinking and social comparison
  2. Investing in Social Connections: Learn how to practice acts of kindness and nurture social relationships
  3. Managing Stress, Hardship and Trauma: Learn how to forgive and develop strategies for coping
  4. Living in the Present: Lean how to increase flow experiences and savor life’s joys
  5. Committing to Your Goals: Learn six benefits of committed goal pursuit and the types of goals you should pursue
  6. Taking Care of Your Body and Spirit: Learn about practicing mediation, getting physical activity and the power of acting like a happy person

In the final part of the book, Sonja shares five secrets to sustainable happiness, and closes with a postscript on depression and its implications for happiness.

Reading The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want is like taking a graduate-level Positive Psychology course; when you’ve finished reading you feel like an expert and are able to share with others the how of being happy. It is highly recommended for anyone interested in positive psychology, whether academically, professionally or personally.

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