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The Reality Slap: Finding Peace and Fulfillment When Life Hurts
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The Reality Slap: Finding Peace and Fulfillment When Life Hurts

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  689 ratings  ·  61 reviews
The “reality slap” takes many different forms. Sometimes, it’s more like a punch: the death of a loved one, a serious illness, a divorce, the loss of a job, a freak accident, or a shocking betrayal. Sometimes it’s a little gentler. Envy, loneliness, resentment, failure, disappointment, and rejection can sting just as much. But whatever form your reality slap takes, one thi ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by New Harbinger Publications (first published January 1st 2011)
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Emma Sea
Jul 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
For what it's worth, I can't divorce the author's attitudes to autism from the rest of the contents of the book.

Having his child diagnosed with autism is the life-shattering experience Harris bases his discussion around. The diagnosis is "like someone sticking a knife into your gut and twisting it around, and then slowly pulling the intestines out through the wound." Autism is "one of those words like 'cancer' . . . when you hear it in everyday conversation, you can't help but shudder."

Harris mo
Mary Karpel-Jergic
Mar 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: self-help
The author is a ACT therapist and this book is an attempt to provide the reader with an understanding of it in order to help themselves. Acceptance Commitment Therapy looks like a therapy that applies mindfulness (what doesn't nowadays?) with working out personal values in order to bridge the gap between the reality that we find we have and the reality that we want.

The four step process is:
1. Hold yourself kindly
2. Drop the anchor
3. Take a stand
4. Find the Treasure

Maybe some readers will be able
This book was fine, ok, though I didn't really have any epiphanies reading it and towards the end Thoth it a bit repetitive.
That might very well be because I'm well acquainted with the topic, the mindfuln, the cognitive and the external using approaches and while I think greatly of them, and use them in my own work, in the form it has here, there's just not much to peak my interest, not many new angles.

So an easy book, useful too, but probably more for a 'beginner' in the field :)
Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
Oct 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
I first came across the work of Dr Russ Harris when I started listening to his 'Mindfulness of the Breath' CD. I've had great success with his CD so I was looking forward to reading one of his many books, The Reality Slap.

A 'Reality Slap' can be something that happens in life like an illness, fire, bankruptcy, divorce or loss of a loved one. Dr Russ Harris is an Australian and I responded immediately to his down to earth writing style, and he gave me much food for thought.

I guess you could call
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
I cannot recommend 'The Reality Slap' highly enough. I was slightly concerned when I first started to read it but as I settled down and took proper notice it soon became obvious what a well observed and very helpful book this is. It has already made a difference to my way of life, and it will be kept close at hand for me to refer to often.
Feb 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I came across this book purely by accident when browsing the bookshop and I am really glad I found it. I don't usually buy 'self help' books as such, and the ones I have bought I never finished due to loss of interest. The thing I really liked about this book is that the author would regularly acknowledge that it isn't just the simple act of 'positive thinking' that allows us to find fulfillment in life. Rather, the book teaches us to find peace when we experience negative emotions instead of tr ...more
Donna Parker
Apr 21, 2012 rated it did not like it
Maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind for this, but it seemed all fairly trite, obvious or perhaps oblivious would be a better term and just old hat. I wanted to believe this wasn't just another attempt to cash in when people are hurting and vulnerable, but there seems to be a lot of that, the pain and the exploitation of said pain. I am going to give Harris a nod for at least reiterating help.
Paul Sheppard
Aug 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: life-changers
Realistic self help book without all the new age nonsense.
Jun 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: act, work, for-clients, autism


We can’t stop that voice in our head from telling us stories, but we can learn to catch it in the act. And we can learn to choose the way we respond: to let the helpful stories guide us and let the unhelpful ones come and go like leaves in the breeze.

What does this pain reveal about my heart? What does it show me that I care about? What would you have to not care about, in order to not have this pain?

What is the key to lasting fulfillment? What is the essence of human vitality? What is t
Susan Dymock
Jun 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It doesn't matter how smart, kind, talented, wealthy, attractive or successful you are, at some point in our lives, we will have to face something awful. Yes, sometimes life just sucks and bad things happen to good people. It could be the death of a loved one, a diagnosis of a serious illness, suffering a permanent disability, being the victim of a serious crime or a job loss. This book is all about how we respond and look after ourselves when an inevitable cr@ppy thing happens to us.
This isn't
Melanie VeeBee
Apr 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
Ever read a book where you think "If only it wasn't for x, this book would have been fantastic"?

If only this book hadn't included the ABA therapy of Russ's son, it would have been a wonderful guide to how to deal with life when it sucks.

Instead, I can't recommend it. I have no doubt that Russ loves his child. ABA therapy however, has a terribly abusive association ( I also didn't like him talking about how horrible it was that his child was autistic. It
Joe Rodeck
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
For beginners. Basically, these are exercises you can try to overcome personal grief. He mercifully does not go down the old forgiveness road nor does he go religious. For those well self-help read, this material will be too familiar.

Reading level: easy.
Jalen Lyle-Holmes
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Connected with a lot of it, though as usual with self-help books I wonder how much will actually stick with me a year from now. The practical techniques for self-compassion are definitely something I've found myself using regularly.
Eva Musby
Aug 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read this from the point of a view of a parent of a child who's suffered from anorexia, and who's on the lookout for resources for other parents.
Life certainly hurts when your child has an eating disorder and you fear for her life, and many parents find themselves quite traumatized even after their child is well.
This book may help you to come to terms with the realities you are living, so that you can 'lead a life based on presence and purpose'in spite of the unpleasant feelings you may have.
Mar 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book in a first reads giveaway...

I don't think I'm in a place in my life where I need this book. ;) Or perhaps my personality doesn't mesh well with self-help books, since I admit I rarely read them.

That said, I did find there to be some practical advice given, and a wealth of scenarios to compare your life to, with ideas for how to deal with the unpleasant realities of life.

I think I'll send this book off to a friend in need, but I enjoyed spending some time being grateful for the f
Dec 22, 2016 added it
By one of the creators of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), this book is an aid for those going through really tough times, when the desired reality isn't what you thought was in the brochure. The author, who grieved over having a son with autism, coped with this with a combination of mindfulness and reframing exercises. One can acknowledge the inevitable pain in our lives, but can learn how to hold yourself with compassion, accept that which you cannot change and act within your values t ...more
Angela G. Gentile
Oct 22, 2017 rated it liked it
I read about half of this book. It seemed to become quite repetitive. Lots of references to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and relaxation, mindfulness and meditation. By halfway, I had received enough of the info to "get it". I am also a therapist, so much of this information was not new. This book would be good for someone who is going through a life-altering event and has little to no knowledge of psychology and psychotherapy. It's a good way to get started on accepting what happened and ho ...more
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I was skeptical about reading a self help book, but it exceeded my expectations. With lots of useful exercises to ground ones-self and put negative thoughts into perspective, the book is a practical approach to dealing with situations when life doesn't meet your expectations. I would recommend this book for both those facing serious and relatively minor challenges in life as a way to manage.

Oct 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Excellent book on how to deal with difficult situations using the principles of ACT. The book contains many useful exercises which I have personally found helpful. I've read "The happiness trap" by the same author - while some material was similar this book contained additional material and was definitely worth the read
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book if you’ve had trauma of any kind. I read it because I was emotionally, psychologically and spiritually abused (or raped, for a better word) - and when you wake up to the brainwashing, you need a whole lot of help to heal. Thank you Dr Russ. Peace to you. 🙏
Romans Karpelcevs
Can't really rate it because I didn't fit the target audience of a severe life hit.
But the content is pretty good and teaches good skills for the times when life does hit you hard.

I specifically value the 'name a story' technique. We often think the same thought patterns over and over, like "I'm unlucky, again", or "If only I...", or "Oh, well, might as well give up"—and Russ offers a way to distance yourself from this thought process by naming it. "Oh, it's the Unlucky Story, right!"—and it al
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For meditation enthusiasts other than Vipassana, i. e. learning to manage emotions, this book is very interesting. But not that... the author shares with us what life has in store for him, are all more or less similar. It's a great trio of self help, neuroscience and a lot of psychology. a book that I highly recommend, you'll necessarily find you, your way around! And then this humility, so rare (the author is a doctor reconverted according to his values). I ended up there outright and it's quit ...more
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
There are two basic premises in self help - either a) strive achieve your goals or b) accept what you have. The reality slap takes the second approach. It is a lot of mindfulness and be happy with what you have stuff. I wanted to like the book, I really did. I like Russ Harris. The book is however more of the same...yawn...
Sarah Whitaker
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great advice, easy read.

Definitely one to keep in the arsenal. Easy advice to follow and doesn’t overwhelm with psychology terminology. Doesn’t promise anything unrealistic, but gives hope for improvement.
Susan Herrmann
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exceptional read for those recuperating from a kick in the butt from reality. Helps with feeling like you should be at a certain point in your life journey but your path has unexpectedly taken you elsewhere.
Kalimna Kane
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. Extremely well written by a man who not only is a professional in the are but has been through his own reality slap. This book helped me IMMENSELY. I can not recommend this book highly enough for anyone and everyone.
Dawn Kuhn
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A lot of great tips to work towards mindfulness
Nov 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Loosey Bork
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very accessible and easy to read introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
Kelly Michelle
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very good, but a touch more abstract than the Happiness Trap. As such, suggested activities are slightly more difficult to implement with clients who have more difficulty with abstract concepts.
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Dr Russ Harris is a medically-qualified doctor, stress consultant, executive coach, trainer, author, and a leading authority in the powerful new paradigm of Psychological Flexibility. (This is a revolutionary new development in human psychology that enhances performance, reduces stress, and improves health and wellbeing.) Dr Russ regularly presents workshops on Psychological Flexibility at both na ...more

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