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You Can Be Happy No Matter What: Five Principles for Keeping Life in Perspective
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You Can Be Happy No Matter What: Five Principles for Keeping Life in Perspective

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  528 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Many people believe they can only be happy when their problems are solved, relationships improve, and goals are achieved. In this simple guide, Dr. Richard Carlson shows readers how to be happy right now — no matter the situation. His plan, based on the principles of Thought (thoughts are voluntary, not involuntary);Mood (thinking is a voluntary that varies function varies...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published November 13th 2006 by New World Library (first published 1992)
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I really like this book. The author does a great job explaining that thoughts are always passing through your mind and that you choose whether to let negative thoughts affect your mood or let them pass as just thoughts. I am able to recognize that thoughts are not reality and not dwell on those thoughts that are deserving of attention.
Joseph Young
May 28, 2010 Joseph Young rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Summary: negative thinking is bad. positive relaxing is good.

As a positive and often thinking person, I immediately disagreed with this book. The author seems to be reaching out to a society of neurotics, who when thinking about things will only spiral into a chain of negative thoughts. He seemingly reaches the conclusion that thinking during your low point will lead to nothing but negative thoughts, and that here is no way a person can pull themselves out of a funk by thinking. This is horribl...more
Lisa Miller Chandler
This book helped me through a very hard time in my life. The writer explained that based on five principles of Thought, Mood, Separate Realities, Feelings, and the Present Moment, and how the reader can use these principles to discover how to focus on everyday joy and inner contentment. The book helped me not to be lead around by my own feelings by introducing me to the idea of separate realities. Positive thinking results in positive feeling & we control our thoughts. This book helps give e...more
This is another book I read earlier this year and didn't get around to reviewing. It is the kind of book that I generally wouldn't think to pick up and read and I feared it might be a little corny or simplistic or something. It was a quick read, though, and while I didn't agree with every word there was enough good that I got out of it that I was really glad I read it and may read it again sometime to refresh those ideas. I can no longer remember what I may have disagreed with, but I do know it...more
Keith Kendall
Sep 10, 2014 Keith Kendall rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Keith by: Carol
Shelves: self-help
A nice book. A very nice book.

He covers several "principles" devoting a chapter to each of them to explain factors that influence happiness.
1. The principle of thought
2. The principle of moods
3. The principle of separate realities
4. The principle of feelings my calling
5. The principle of the present moment

"Most partners don't give each other the space they need in a low mood; instead they react as if what their partner is saying is carved in stone." (Page 33)

"The quickest way to a higher mood...more
Most of the ideas in this book have been completely debunked by neuroscience. I am not a psychologist or a neuroscientist, but I do like to keep up with the research. I won't take the time to cite all the contradicting research here, but it should be pretty easy to search and find it.

First off, Carlson never defines some of the terms he uses. He uses the words "emotions", "feelings", and "moods" sometimes interchangeably but sometimes as obviously different things. This was confusing to me, an i...more
For many of us, happiness is a goal that we never seem to achieve. We closely examine our unhappiness and fret over all the issues in our lives. We know in our hearts and our very souls that if we can just earn a little more money, deal with a childhood trauma, or get married that we'll finally be happy. Unfortunately, once we succeed in these endeavors, a whole new set of issues appears and we find ourselves still unhappy.

Life doesn't stop just because we read a self help book or decide to wor...more
I really did not enjoy reading this book. It seemed to say the same thing over and over and over again. And what it said was pretty much common sense advice that most people already know -- that our thoughts determine our feelings and our moods which tend to determine our level of happiness: control your thoughts and you control how you feel about your life.

I do give this book an extra star simply because it did shed a little light on the subject for me. It encourages people to nip bad thoughts...more
This was a pretty good book by the author of "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff -- and it's all small stuff" that put into words common sense advice that really does work. Basically the premise is, if something makes you sad, or mad, or depressed, don't think about it. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. To have a happy marriage, don't think about all the ways your spouse falls short all day. Think about all the good he/she does and how much you love him/her. This book offers amazingly simpl...more
I've become an avid fan of the late Richard Carlson's books ever since I read "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff" and have been reading his back-catalogue ever since.

"You Can Be Happy No Matter What" is one of Carlson's earlier books and contained some profound lessons for me. The book focuses on what you think about, your moods and the moods of those around you -- looking at thought, mood, separate realities, feelings and the present moment.

It contains a series of practical tips on how to be happy no...more
Colleen Mcgunnigle
I've listened to this book-on-audio multiple times. (Yes, I *listen* to my books rather than read! ;) Richard is warm, wise and brilliant ... and really puts things in perspective. He shares wisdom about how to not take the things people do so hard, which had tended to be a challenge of mine. I wish he were still around cuz I'd hug him! This was a life changer for me.
A little too long. Too much explaining, but the concept is very good, makes sense. I know I tend to think in a negative way very often. After reading this book I stop myself! I was surprised it I'd so easy. I will have to work at changing my negative thoughts but the book really helped, a lot.
Lexie Carroll
Myy opinion of the book goes back and forth. Some of what I've read has been really helpful at changing the way I look at things (for the better) like living in the present moment; other things I shake my head at and strongly disagree with. Some things I read and said "I can't believe he's saying this" like his claim that talking about the past is really only detrimental to our immediate happiness. Overall his book is way over-simplified and over-generalized. He makes a few good points but overa...more
A great read and look into the human thought process. My negative thoughts are always trying to get the better of me. Now I have an understanding how to deal with them.
This book isn't another "think happy, be happy" book. Instead, Richard Carlson teaches how to have healthy psychological functioning in a very simple style. He details what it is, what derails it, and how to obtain it through understanding the mental process and learning to let go of thoughts (mindfulness).

This book should be required reading every school year beginning in junior high. Companies should hold annual workshops teaching it's philosophy. People would understand how to handle their em...more
Bryan Tanner
Pseudo-science is awesome!
This book was uplifting. Some of the things I learned from it or agreed with were to look beyond the static, that no person is set in stone, see the person rather than the behavior, see the innocence in other's bad behavior. Find a quiet place that points away from obsessive thinking about problems and people. Thinking is a function that originates inside us and though you cannot go back and start again, you can start from now and have a brand new end. It would be a good book to read now and the...more
A little repetitive (surprising for such a short book), but I really enjoyed this one. The counsel seems common-sense, and it comes in bit-sized pieces that you actually can use. I needed to learn some of the principles and strategies I found here.
Jun 23, 2008 Kirrilee rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I LOVE this book. I consider myself a pretty happy person - this book had a lot to teach me about being happy. I found the concept simple and very powerful. For someone who tends to "overthink" this book has really set me on a path to positive change. All change takes time, I am already seeing and feeling a difference and I have already started re reading it to really get the most from it.
Thank you Mr Clarson!!
Although not written from a solidly Christian perspective, many of the principles in this book line up perfectly with the principles in the bible. I would have to say that applying some of these principles has literally changed my life. I had many "ahah" moments while reading it and would recommend it highly to anyone who struggles with the inability to control negative & unhappy thoughts.
Seriously. It's so easy!
Basically, observe your thoughts and don't be chained to them, know that they are from you and within your power to react or not.

It's the same message we hear many places, but without a lot of the new agey pandering that tends to accompany it. The author is plane-jane, no bones about it. Probably a virgo. :)

A friend recommended I read it and I am so glad I am.
Scottsdale Public Library
This book is an easy read, and the principles are simple, although not simplistic. I very much enjoy looking through it from time to time when I feel the need to put my life in perspective or restore a sense of inner balance. In the hurly burly of everyday, it is often so easy to forget that we are in control of our own happiness!

-Jess O.-
Good book, quick read, and many useful tips to use daily.
Sharon Bright
I love this book as it lingers with you well after you read it and you find yourself wanting to reference back to it. It is a concept so simple but, yet, most everyone does not stop to think about it. You will definitely learn how your thoughts control your life. I enjoyed this as as I have a love for psychology.
Feb 08, 2008 Amanda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to think more positively
Okay, so, I'm not usually a fan of self help books, but this one was really good for someone like me, who worries about things or lets negative thoughts crowd out positive ones sometimes. It really focuses on positive thinking and helps you control the negative thoughts rather than letting them control you.
This book definitely keeps life in perspective. A whole new way of thinking about thinking. We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are. You are only one thought away from a good feeling. People are as happy as they make up their minds to be. A habit is a thought that you have accepted as truth.
This book was awesome ... totally what I needed exactly when I needed it! I plan on reading it every month until I fully understand & can incorporate it into my life. Seriously inspiring! I'd recommend this book to anyone wondering, I'm intellegent, I work hard, I try my best, why am I so Unhappy?
I found the books by Richard Carlson during one of the times by husband was deployed overseas. This book is one of my favorites of his because it clearly outlines how thoughts, moods, and feelings work together to help us keep life in perspective. This is another book I've re-read a few times!
This book is wonderful to reinforce that ups and downs are a normal part of life, but they don't have to determine how happy your life is. I highly recommend this book for anyone who's interested in learning how to feel at peace and joyful during both life's good times and difficult times.
Ty Wilson
This is a book with some good ideas on what makes us happy or unhappy. The author offers up some simple things we can do to enjoy happier lives. Like most self-help books, you get out of it what you're willing to put into it. If you buy into his ideas, this book will work well for you.
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very good book 1 1 Jun 25, 2013 06:55PM  
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Richard Carlson Ph.D. was an author, psychotherapist, and motivational speaker, who rose to fame with the success of his best-selling book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s all Small Stuff (1997).

He met and married Kristine Anderson (Kris Carlson) in 1981 while he was a student at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.

Carlson published his first book in 1985, but became famous when his Do...more
More about Richard Carlson...
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... and it's all small stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life Don't Sweat the Small Stuff in Love: Simple Ways to Nurture and Strengthen Your Relationships While Avoiding the Habits That Break Down Your Loving Connection Don't Sweat the Small Stuff with Your Family: Simple Ways to Keep Daily Responsibilities and Household Chaos from Taking Over Your Life Don't Sweat the Small Stuff at Work: Simple Ways to Minimize Stress and Conflict While Bringing Out the Best in Yourself and Others Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Teens: Simple Ways to Keep Your Cool in Stressful Times

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“As our appreciation of happiness in relationship increases, we take notice of the things that tend to take us away from this feeling. One major catalyst taking us away is the need to be right. An opinion that is taken too seriously sets up conditions that must be met first before you can be happy. In relationships, this might sound like 'You must agree with or see my point of view in order for me to love and respect you.' In a more positive feeling state, this attitude would seem silly or harmful. We can disagree, even on important issues, and still love one another - when our own thought systems no longer have control over our lives and we see the innocence in our divergent points of view.

The need to be right stems from an unhealthy relationship to your own thoughts. Do you believe your thoughts are representative of reality and need to be defended, or do you realize that realities are seen through different eyes? Your answer to this question will determine, to a large extent, your ability to remain in a positive feeling state.

Everyone I know, who has put positive feeling above being right on their priority list has come to see that differences of opinion will take care of themselves.”
“Happiness is a state of mind, not a set of circumstances.” 2 likes
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