There are tons of self-help books out there. And with all that advice floating around, some of it’s bound to be BAD. Dr. Jennifer Michael Hecht wrote a book called The Happiness Myth. And she says a lot of classic “improve your life” guidance is NOT helpful. And when you try a technique that DOESN’T work, it makes things worse. You end up feeling ashamed for not being able to GET happy. Here are a few pieces of advice she says you should forget about. We got this from the researchers at Condé Nast Publications.

  • Bad tip #1: The book Think Yourself Thin offers the advice that you “should NOT indulge in unhealthy eating habits at the risk of embarrassing yourself”. Hecht says this advice is way too harsh and cookie-cutter for an issue that’s best handled individually. Shaming people into having willpower doesn’t work. It goes against the idea of “loving yourself” – which is what inspires you to make a change.
  • Bad self-help tip #2: “Keep busy. When your schedule is full, you really don’t have time to worry.” This comes from the book Power of the Soul, and Hecht says it’s WRONG. A full schedule only distracts you temporarily. She says emotional pain is like physical pain. A broken leg that isn’t set right can hurt forever. But if you have it treated and take it easy – you’ll heal. She says we need to address our worries in a similar way so we don’t hurt for a lifetime.
  • And one last piece of self-help advice you should re-think: “Don’t think about what could go wrong – think about what could go right!”. Hecht says a dose of optimism IS necessary in order to take risks. But sometimes it’s good to see what the odds are AGAINST you. It’s a reality check – and both sides of the coin should be considered. And when you fail, admitting it can free you up to move on and succeed at something else. If you’d like more of Hecht’s advice, check out the book The Happiness Myth. There’s a link on Tesh .com.