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Friday Dec 15, 2017

By Rachel Hershenberg, Ph.D.

The small decisions we make every day can make the biggest impact on our emotional well-being and long-term mental health. The new book, "Activating Happiness: A Jump-Start Guide to Overcoming Low Motivation, Depression, or Just Feeling Stuck" by Assistant Professor at Emory University and licensed clinical psychologist, Rachel Hershenberg, Ph.D., brings the study of depression, low motivation, and how to treat it to the hands of everyday consumers who are looking to kick-start their own behavioral changes or want a guide to use alongside therapy.

"Activating Happiness" offers powerful, evidence-based strategies to help you conquer low motivation and avoid negative moods by actively making positive choices in small, everyday moments. So, if you have depression or just suffer from low mood and lack of motivation, you know that your life isn't going to change with one grand, sweeping gesture.

Dr. Hershenberg clearly demonstrates that you can make important decisions every day that impact the bigger picture -- whether it's getting off the couch and going for a walk, signing up for a hobby, or just setting aside some time to meet with a good friend. These little things won't change your life all at once. But over time, they will shape the way you live and see the world and keep you on a path to wellness.

"In her delightfully written and easy-to-read book, Activating Happiness, Dr. Rachel Hershenberg offers five basic principles for counteracting low motivation, depression, or feeling stuck. By following the evidence-based yet very practical recommendations and using the structured activities offered in the book, people will find themselves living a more value-driven, meaningful, productive, and enjoyable life," says Nadine J. Kaslow, Ph.D., ABPP, professor and vice chair in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University, and past president of the American Psychological Association.

In "Activating Happiness," you'll find solid strategies based in behavioral activation and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to help you break the cycle of avoidance, guilt, shame, and hopelessness that can take hold when you're feeling at your lowest. Using this guide, you'll find little, doable ways to "show up" to your life, get the ball rolling, and start really feeling better.

You'll learn to set healthy goals for your body like eating and sleeping well, as well as for your mind. Most importantly, you'll discover how to view your life through the lens of your own deepest values, which will spark a commitment to real, lasting change.


"In 'Activating Happiness,' Dr. Hershenberg provides a treasure trove of simple tips and strategies, along with examples and exercises for enhancing well-being that are based on heavily researched, cutting-edge scientific principles. The chapters are thoughtfully sequenced to teach practical skills, one step at a time, which can then be integrated together to address some of the most common issues that many of us struggle with at various points in our lives. A great resource-for both mental health providers' self-help resource libraries and for the providers themselves," according to Simon A. Rego, Psy.D., ABPP, chief psychologist and associate professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center in New York, NY.

In the book's forward, Marvin R. Goldfried, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Psychology Department at Stony Brook University describes "Activating Happiness" as including broad and deep knowledge of the evidence that exists in the field of psychology; good clinical sense and experience; and the unique ability to communicate to the reader. "Activating Happiness" is able to translate known principles in the field of psychology about how people change and present it in a clear, compassionate, person-to-person dialogue with the reader.

In it you'll also discover:

  • The little-known process called Capitalization and it's huge impact on our happiness
  • Why self-care should be at the top of your resolutions
  • That when you fill your schedule, you do more -- so fill it!
  • The dangerous cycle of procrastination: discovering the root causes and how to kick the habit
  • Skills to help you function alongside -- or in spite of -- depressed mood
  • How to bridge the gap between your current behavior and your future, happier self

    Rachel Hershenberg, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in the research and treatment of depression. She is assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University, and director of psychotherapy in Emory's Treatment Resistant Depression program. She serves as co-chair of the American Psychological Association's Committee on Science and Practice in the Society of Clinical Psychology and received a 2016 Career Development Leadership Award in Clinical Research from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.


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