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Topics in the self-help literature and their relevance for happiness

Topics in the self-help literature and their relevance for happiness

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Advice for a happier life is found in so-called ‘self-help books’, which are widely sold in modern countries these days. These books popularize insights from psychological science and draw in particular on the newly developing ‘positive psychology’. An analysis of 57 best-selling psychology books in the Netherlands makes clear that the primary aim...

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Context 1
... is a large database were most correlational findings about happiness are gathered. Table 5 summarizes the topic choices in the self-help literature and makes a comparison with the correlational data in the database. Table 5 confirms the impression that self-help books recommend for things that are related to happiness. ...
Context 2
... 5 summarizes the topic choices in the self-help literature and makes a comparison with the correlational data in the database. Table 5 confirms the impression that self-help books recommend for things that are related to happiness. The differences between the recommendations in self-help- books and the observed correlates of happiness do not seem to be random. ...

Citations

... The primary reason so many of these self-help books fail to meet the American Psychological Association's (APA) guidelines around using the best available research, client preferences, and clinical expertise ( Norcross, 2000 ), and why they are often poorly rated by psychologists, is because they are unguided ( Richardson et al., 2008 ). Without guidance from a therapist, or what's called guided self-help, self-administered (or unguided) self-help books ( Bergsma, 2008 ) implicitly suggest that reading is sufficient to actualize solutions (or treatment) without follow-through in changing behaviours, cognitions, or accessing ongoing support ( Cherry, 2008 ). ...
Preprint
A psychedelic industrial complex is emerging as new research on these substances and their effects are being approved. These substances show promise, but much remains unknown about their potential for both benefit and harm. Despite the paucity of reliable mechanistic evidence, some entrepreneurs have already begun to market psychedelic advice. We draw on some critiques of the self-help industry to propose potential parallels in the psychedelic industry. Overstated claims, cultural lore, for-profit organizations, and spiritual gurus come with the territory of both industries aimed at selling solutions for mental health disorders. We offer some guidelines for responsible research, therapy, and policy to temper these concerns, focusing on evidence-based practices, decriminalization, and rigorous therapist training.
... This field is aptly labelled 'happiness education' that is comparable to, and often intertwined with, existing 'health education'. Happiness education can be found in a growing number of advisory books, on self-help websites and at the mounting supply of (online) courses on happiness [13,14]. Next to such education, a practice of happiness coaching has developed [15,16]. ...
Chapter
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Most people want to be happy and many look out for opportunities to achieve a more satisfying life. Following a happiness training is an option, but the effectiveness of such training is being questioned. In this research synthesis we assessed: 1) whether happiness training techniques add to the happiness of their users, 2) how much happiness training techniques add to happiness, 3) how long the effect of happiness training lasts, 4) what kinds of training techniques work best, and 5) what types of groups of people profit from taking happiness training. We took stock of the available research and found 106 reports of effect studies on training techniques, which together yielded 314 findings. These findings are available in an online 'findings archive', the World Database of Happiness. Using links to this source allows us to condense information in tabular overviews, while providing the reader with access to much detail. Happiness training techniques seem to do what they are designed to do: 96% of the studies showed a gain in happiness post intervention and at follow-up, about half of the positive results were statistically significant. Studies with cross-sectional designs and studies that used control groups showed more mixed results. The average effect of happiness training was Prime Archives in Psychology: 2 nd Edition 3 www.videleaf.com approximately 5% of the scale range. We conclude that taking a form of happiness training is advisable for individuals looking for a more satisfying life. Since happier workers tend to be more productive, organizations would be wise to provide such training techniques for their workforce.
... This field is aptly labelled 'happiness education' that is comparable to, and often intertwined with, existing 'health education'. Happiness education can be found in a growing number of advisory books, on self-help websites and at the mounting supply of (online) courses on happiness [13,14]. Next to such education, a practice of happiness coaching has developed [15,16]. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Most people want to be happy and many look out for opportunities to achieve a more satisfying life. Following a happiness training is an option, but the effectiveness of such training is being questioned. In this research synthesis we assessed: 1) whether happiness training techniques add to the happiness of their users, 2) how much happiness training techniques add to happiness, 3) how long the effect of happiness training lasts, 4) what kinds of training techniques work best, and 5) what types of groups of people profit from taking happiness training. We took stock of the available research and found 106 reports of effect studies on training techniques, which together yielded 314 findings. These findings are available in an online ‘findings archive’, the World Database of Happiness. Using links to this source allows us to condense information in tabular overviews, while providing the reader with access to much detail. Happiness training techniques seem to do what they are designed to do: 96% of the studies showed a gain in happiness post intervention and at follow-up, about half of the positive results were statistically significant. Studies with cross-sectional designs and studies that used control groups showed more mixed results. The average effect of happiness training was approximately 5% of the scale range. We conclude that taking a form of happiness training is advisable for individuals looking for a more satisfying life. Since happier workers tend to be more productive, organizations would be wise to provide such training techniques for their workforce.
... According to Bergsma, (2008) self help book is an alternative book to help themselves without others, and readers could choose certain themes in self help book, one of the themes is coping stress. In that theme contains the right ways to deal with certain psychological problems. ...
Article
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Self help book is believed as an alternative method to help someone in order to help himself dealing with the psychological problems that they had experienced. One of the psychological problems which very vulnerable to be experienced by someone that working is emersion of burnout symptoms. The researcher has interviewed Counseling Guidance’s (BK) teacher to find the factor that caused emersion of burnout symptoms of work, from the interview some informations has gathered about the causes of Counseling Guidance's teacher experienced burnout symptoms, among others because the number of Counseling Guidance teachers in the school with an unbalanced number of students and unclear duties and roles assigned to Counseling Guidance teachers. Other that, there were many Counseling Guidance teachers did not have an appropriate knowledge with the qualification that have been determined. Every individual has a different level of burnout symptoms and the impact that they experienced was also different. The level of burnout symptoms could be reduced or even eliminated by determining the appropriate method, one of them by counseling approach of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) using guided imagery technique.
... This field is aptly labeled "happiness education" and is comparable to, and often intertwined with, existing "health education." Happiness education can be found in a growing number of advisory books, on self-help websites, and at the mounting supply of (online) courses on happiness (Bergsma, 2008;Parks et al., 2013). Alongside such education, a practice of happiness coaching has developed (Grant and Spence, 2010;Freire, 2013). ...
Article
Full-text available
Most people want to be happy and many look out for opportunities to achieve a more satisfying life. Following a happiness training is an option, but the effectiveness of such training is being questioned. In this research synthesis we assessed: (1) whether happiness training techniques add to the happiness of their users, (2) how much happiness training techniques add to happiness, (3) how long the effect of happiness training lasts, (4) what kinds of training techniques work best, and (5) what types of groups of people profit from taking happiness training. We took stock of the available research and found 61 reports of effect studies on training techniques, which together yielded 179 findings. These findings are available in an online “findings archive,” the World Database of Happiness. Using links to this source allows us to condense information in tabular overviews, while providing the reader with access to much detail. Happiness training techniques seem to do what they are designed to do: 96% of the studies showed a gain in happiness post intervention and at follow-up, about half of the positive results were statistically significant. Studies with cross-sectional designs and studies that used control groups showed more mixed results. The average effect of happiness training was approximately 5% of the scale range. We conclude that taking a form of happiness training is advisable for individuals looking for a more satisfying life. Since happier workers tend to be more productive, organizations would be wise to provide such training techniques for their workforce.
... Sheldon and Lyubomirsky [12] add to this argument and write that the pursuit of happiness is difficult 'to investigate via double-blind experiments, the gold standard of psychological research, because the successful pursuit of happiness typically requires awareness, knowledge, and intentional buy-in by participants.' Establishing what works for whom in what circumstances will require a huge research effort and the opinion and active role of the recipient of the advice remains crucial [27]. ...
... An explanation for the lack of a positive trendline may not be the failure of positive psychology, but its success. The ideas of positive psychologists to increase happiness have found their way into the mass media and for example Lyubomirsky and others have reached audiences way far beyond the reach of scientific journals [27]. A related explanation comes from the law of diminishing returns. ...
Article
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Some positive psychologists claim that quantitative research leads to the most effective interventions for the intentional pursuit of happiness. A similar claim made in psychotherapy research resulted in failure; fifty years of experimental research has not improved psychotherapy outcomes. In this essay it is argued that the explosion in happiness studies of the last twenty years did has not improved effect sizes of happiness interventions. The supposed epistemological superiority of positive psychologists has not produced more effective happiness advice. This should not be taken as an encouragement to throw the baby out with the bathwater. If we follow current reasoning in psychotherapy research, we can conclude that positive psychological research can correct misguided or counterproductive happiness advice, but will not offer definitive answers. The individuals making his their own choices on the basis of a personal life philosophy count. A further conclusion is that happiness interventions should not just be about acquiring skills to correct the affective system in our brains, so that we are able to overcome our negativity bias or hedonic adaptation. Intervention should also be about following our emotional action tendencies; promoting doing to do more of what feels right to us and avoiding what causes pain.
... This field is aptly labeled "happiness education" and is comparable to, and often intertwined with, existing "health education." Happiness education can be found in a growing number of advisory books, on self-help websites, and at the mounting supply of (online) courses on happiness (Bergsma, 2008;Parks et al., 2013). Alongside such education, a practice of happiness coaching has developed (Grant and Spence, 2010;Freire, 2013). ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Most people want to be happy and many look out for opportunities to achieve a more satisfying life. Following a happiness training is an option, but the effectiveness of such training is being questioned. In this research synthesis we assessed: 1) whether happiness training techniques add to the happiness of their users, 2) how much happiness training techniques add to happiness, 3) how long the effect of happiness training lasts, 4) what kinds of training techniques work best, and 5) what types of groups of people profit from taking happiness training. We took stock of the available research and found 61 reports of effect studies on training techniques, which together yielded 179 findings. These findings are available in an online 'findings archive', the World Database of Happiness. Using links to this source allows us to condense information in tabular overviews, while providing the reader with access to much detail. Happiness training techniques seem to do what they are designed to do: 96% of the studies showed a gain in happiness post intervention and at follow-up, about half of the positive results were statistically significant. Studies with cross-sectional designs and studies that used control groups showed more mixed results. The average effect of happiness training was approximately 5% of the scale range. We conclude that taking a form of happiness training is advisable for individuals looking for a more satisfying life. Since happier workers tend to be more productive, organizations would be wise to provide such training techniques for their workforce.
... The majority of these interventions are delivered in a self-help format. While interventions that are delivered face-to-face overall generate larger effects, self-help interventions have the potential to reach more people and in turn have a major impact on a population's well-being (Bergsma, 2008;Den Boer et al., 2004;Huppert, 2009). ...
Article
Full-text available
Subjective well-being (SWB) may buffer against psychosocial stressors such as the birth of a child. To assess the effectiveness of an unguided internet intervention ('Mamma Mia') on SWB among perinatal women, we investigated (1) whether the intervention group reported higher levels of SWB, (2) whether the effect of Mamma Mia changed over time (i.e. whether the intervention was more effective at some time points), (3) and potential moderators. In total, 1342 pregnant women were randomized to the Mamma Mia or control group. Data were collected at gestational weeks 21-25 and 37, and 1.5, 3, and 6 months after birth. Cognitive well-being was measured using the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Affective well-being was measured using the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule. There were no significant differences in reported life satisfaction and positive affect between the groups. However, participants in the Mamma Mia group showed less negative affect during follow-up, suggesting that Mamma Mia can enhance the affective component of perinatal women's sense of SWB. ARTICLE HISTORY
... These books tend to include plain-speaking language, provide personal anecdotes by authors, and include a mix of popular psychology and spiritual advice. McGee (2005, p. 11) has identified that self-help books doubled in popularity between the 1970s and the year 2000, and Bergsma (2008) notes that in 2000 Americans spent more than US$563 million on self-help books. Woodstock (2005) reaches further back and provides a content analysis of self-help literature from the 1880s to the 1990s. ...
Chapter
In this chapter O’Connor argues that skateboarding has an origin myth from which skateboarders derive identity and community. Globally, skateboarders recognise California as the homeland of skateboarding and award it special status of a centre of gravity towards which stories and personalities converge. Here, the basics of skateboarding are unpacked and skateboarding terminology is explained alongside reflections on devout Islamic Malay skateboarders. O’Connor unpacks how the history of skateboarding has been documented and reproduced, arguing that as a body of work, skateboarding media has constructed an origin myth that represents certain places and individuals in an iconic and quasi-religious light. The chapter closes with reflections on how professional skateboarders have become celebrities and idols in their own right.
... These books tend to include plain-speaking language, provide personal anecdotes by authors, and include a mix of popular psychology and spiritual advice. McGee (2005, p. 11) has identified that self-help books doubled in popularity between the 1970s and the year 2000, and Bergsma (2008) notes that in 2000 Americans spent more than US$563 million on self-help books. Woodstock (2005) reaches further back and provides a content analysis of self-help literature from the 1880s to the 1990s. ...
Chapter
O’Connor argues that the recasting of skateboarding as a prosocial activity has been a central feature in its rise to mainstream popularity and legitimation as a sport. Using the notion of self-help he argues that skateboard philanthropy has adopted some of the traditional roles of religion, guiding, educating, and building community for the needy. He argues that skateboard philanthropy engages in good works stripped of spirituality, in sum being an exquisite vehicle for neo-liberal ideology. Pursuing the quasi-religious aspects of self-help literature, the chapter surveys a variety of texts that present skateboarding as an adjunct to secular self-help philosophy. O’Connor argues that the capacity for skateboarding to remedy social maladies is threatened by the way that it is increasingly institutionalised as a panacea.