Book Blast: Lasting Happiness in Uncertain Times
“Bruce Alexander has responded with deep thought to lingering societal anxiety and his own significant life challenges. Drawing on traditional culture, spirituality and recent medical research, he synthesises the best current thinking on happiness into easily adoptable life skills that combine to build a resilient personality. His lifetime experience as a creative writer has produced a book that is refreshing, appealing and draws the reader deeper into their quest to experience true joy.”
Dr Graham Costello, B.A., Grad Dip, M.Sc., D.Phil.
A dramatic change has been taking place among psychologists and neuroscientists, including studies of heart transplant recipients proving that traumatic memories are stored in the heart, not just the brain. “Lasting Happiness in Uncertain Times” distils recent studies into the new science of happiness into 20 actionable habits of thought and emotionally nourishing activities that create a pathway from discouragement to renewed life satisfaction.
Sydney University lecturer and former advertising agency head Bruce Alexander combines his insights as an academic with his engaging writing style and personal experience of grief to present a fresh and constructive approach to restoring personal life satisfaction and durable joy. The book’s 20 adoptable habits of thought or emotionally nourishing activities are simple to put into action early in the book and may at times appear just common sense. Yet their strength is how they synergise.
Early in the book readers are shown how to identify personal qualities they admire in others and try to imitate them. Even minimal progress boosts your self-esteem in a way others can see. This makes all the difference with the following skill which is how to join special interest groups and present yourself to strangers. A group of like-minded people will find you easier to get to know because of your personal qualities. Their recognition further encourages your self-esteem. So the two skills synergise and an upward spiral results.
Be prepared to change in uncertain times
More complex new habits of thought with more profound effects on our personality emerge as the book progresses. ‘Tame Wild Memories’ is a technique for preventing thoughts about past tragedies jumping back into your mind uninvited. Once learned, the skill enables you to ‘Think Beyond’. Here, people recovering from grief can find an emotional resting place in a vividly imagined happy future and return to the present with renewed calm and confidence.
Importantly, the boost to your happiness gained from the early skills makes you a better learner. This equips you to master the more ambitious habits of thought that are introduced later, including changes you may have tried before but were hampered by discouragement. The book’s subtitle is ‘Rediscovering joy when life doesn’t go the way you want’. In an age of uncertainty and Covid Aftershock, this book is going to find a large audience.
Q&A with Bruce Alexander Author of “Lasting Happiness in Uncertain Times”
What inspired you to write?
Traditional theories and practices for restoring happiness are no solution for a society suffering from the shadow epidemic, Covid Aftershock. The pandemic has fundamentally altered the nature of work. The office or work site is no longer a meeting place. Working from home has swapped real interactions with de-personalised staring at a screen. Combined with galloping climate change, terrorism and disruptions to world order create an age where people need far more robust skills to find authentic life satisfaction.
What 5 books have changed your life?
Clearly, many of the academic studies and books I researched in preparation for writing my own were significant. Perhaps the best of these was written by American psychologist Martin Seligman. Called “What you can change and what you can’t”. It reminded me of the persistence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, meaning the after-effects of grief. While my book is a cheery read, full of happy thoughts and ideas, it is nonetheless dedicated to ‘the hurting’ and I know because I’ve been one of them.
What are your top 5 tips for independent authors?
- Invest in Dragon or a similar voice dictation package and a powerful PC or laptop. Being able to pull your thoughts out just as they come into your head is no longer limited by typing speed. Revisit your dictated copy an edit very carefully to avoid wordiness or repetition.
- Always put yourself in the shoes of your reader, even when speaking from the heart. Constantly ask yourself how people will react when they read this.
- Analyse the style of successful books in the genre you’re writing. Your work must be totally original. However, you can copy successful writers style anytime you want until you develop a distinctive voice of your own
- Write the PRESS RELEASE for your book before you write the book. Yeah I don’t mean a one paragraph synopsis like you might see on a back cover. I mean a snappy overview followed by 5-10 really interesting insights you intend to include in the book. If press release isn’t fresh, inviting and engaging it’s unlikely the book will be either.
- Believe in yourself but don’t be stubborn. Get discerning friends to read your early drafts and listen carefully to their advice. Remember, you are writing for your readers, not for yourself.
Get into a good book during lockdown and choose Lasting Happiness In Uncertain Times
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