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The Happiness Track Book Synopsis

For today’s edition of PT Reading Corner, we have The Happiness Track, which is a book by Emma Seppala. She is the science director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research at Stanford University. The premise of her book is simple enough, that everyone wants to be happy and successful. However, the pursuit for both of these qualities ends up costing many individuals their well-being, relationships and even productivity. Seppala uses findings from research in cognitive psychology to show that we are unable to achieve sustainable fulfillment because of common, outdated notions about success. She highlights that success isn’t always the result of hard work, but a tool and mindset that can be utilized to help us reach our goals. Here are a few of the interesting lessons from the book.

1) Manage Energy, not Time

Individuals who work in offices for 8 hours a day tend to come home quite exhausted, even though they aren’t out working in the field all day. According to Seppala, there are three factors which contribute to this: high-intensity emotions, self-control and high-intensity negative thoughts. The high-intensity emotions can be both positive or negative, such as being excited or being angry. She notes that Americans tend to rely on high-intensity positive emotions for success whereas Eastern cultures promote low-intensity positive emotions like peacefulness. Often in a clinic, you might hear of a physiotherapist saying they’re ready to crush the day or crank out a presentation, an attack mode which becomes physiologically fatiguing. The takeaway is that even as a physiotherapist who is constantly seizing the day or crushing meetings, taking some time to practice calmness and serenity may provide the revitalization and energy needed to take on a long day.

2) Live in the Present

You may often hear clinicians or business owners musing about how time is flying and they are so caught up in work that they don’t even realize that it’s fall already. Seppala says these individuals are too caught up in overworking themselves for the future and aren’t focusing on the present. She notes that the present allows us to be happy because we are able to truly experience what is going on around us, by slowing down and fully engaging ourselves with our projects. Other methods of being in the present include making eye contact with people so we demonstrate that we are listening intently to them, meditating or praying and taking a technology fast. Engaging in some of these behaviours will help us to slow down the frenetic pace of daily life and focus on the present rather than working ourselves to the bone for the future.

These were a couple of the lessons found in The Happiness Track, we, at PT Business Corner, definitely enjoyed it and would like to thank Alex Theodorou of Ocutherapy for the recommendation!

The Happiness Track by Emma Seppala


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