It’s Christmas time – a time that’s meant to be the happiest of the year but for many, the festive season is fraught with stress, relationship strain, financial burden and that Scrooge-like feeling that can seriously test the boundaries of inner contentment. Balancing the ‘perfect’ get together with family and friends can become an intensified balancing act that mimics the everydayness of modern life . . . that seemingly endless attempt to feel ‘happy’ – when you have every reason to, yet still can’t achieve it.
We live in a moment in time that encourages high-achieving perfection. We want it all and can have it all, yet depression rates continue to rise. We are so fortunate and able to cram our lives with so much that SHOULD make us happy . . . yet happiness remains so elusive.
What’s going wrong?
Author Chris Skellet has worked as a clinical psychologist for over thirty years and for the past decade has developed a strong interest in leadership and executive coaching. Experienced in teaching members of high stress corporate environments the basic principles of living life well, Chris shares his expertise in this enlightening book – with the hope of helping his readers enjoy a richer and more fulfilling life.
In When Happiness is Not Enough, Chris shares the simple yet fascinating concept that there are actually two types of happiness. The first is pleasure. That feeling you get when you gobble down that piece of chocolate cake or bag that bargain at the Christmas sales or kick back on that island holiday sunlounger.
While this type of happiness is rewarding and even great fun (especially the chocolate cake part), it cannot possibly supply that richer, more meaningful inner contentment we call true happiness, no no. That deeper contentment comes from a much more intense source – and this second kind of happiness is called Achievement. Satisfaction. That feeling you have worked hard to secure something that makes life feel worthwhile.
Understanding the difference between these two types of happiness is the key that drives this interesting book.
When Happiness is Not Enough is clearly-written and easy-to navigate book that first introduces the Pleasure/Achievement principal. Before moving on, the author encourages the reader to complete the Pleasure/Achievement questionnaire to provide a broad sense of where they stand on the happiness scale. From here, we learn about our values and how they shape us, about acting, thinking and living in balance, and the influences of our past on our present.
The author also covers the way family, culture, society and work shape our beliefs and attitudes to life before going on to explore the principles of pleasure and achievement in greater detail. I really like how the principles are then applied to varying segments of our lives . . . goodness knows each of us is a completely different person in our varying roles as workers, parents, friends and lovers, so divvying up the application of the Pleasure/Achievement principles in this way is mighty helpful.
Stress, burnout, setting limits, planning, self-control, food, depression and relating to others, in our various roles, are just some of the topics covered, providing a holistic book that is meaty and – satisfying. A concise yet comprehensive personal plan at the end of the book is prime real estate for jotting and fleshing out your happiness plan.
The book is studded with notes and questions that provide an interactive platform to self-discovery, and each chapter summarises helpful key points to keep you on track. There’s even a frequently-asked-questions section and a wonderful appendix full of relaxation exercises to help readers full appreciate the attainment of that elusive happiness balance.
I’m off to reassess how I can achieve those deeply satisfying/truly happiness-making goals. And I may just have me a piece of chocolate cake, too – after all – a little bit of both sides is what balance is all about.