The art of not embittering life

Phrase of Rafael Santandreu

Phrase of Rafael Santandreu

In the words of its author, the Catalan psychologist Rafael Santandreu, The art of not embittering life (2013) “it is not just another self-help book”. Although, this text has most of the distinctive features of works of this nature. In other words, it is a unique publication —it is not part of a series— of a relatively short length (240 pages) and with easy-to-understand language.

Equally, the title is quite suggestive about the type of reader it is aimed at and the valuable information it intends to disseminate. In any case, different psychologists and experts in internationally recognized emotional therapies —such as Walter Riso, Alicia Escaño Hidalgo or Ramiro Calle, among others— recommend this book due to its broad scientific foundation.

Analysis and summary of The art of not embittering life

initial premises

The art of not embittering life part of ten irrational beliefs that According to Santandreu are deeply rooted in the psyche of the Spanish:

  • The need for have someone from whom receive love, because, otherwise, it is a pathetic existence;
  • It's essential own a flat so as not to become a “f***ing starving failure”;
  • If the partner or partner sentimental is unfaithful, it is impossible to continue that relationship, because that type of betrayal is a frightful event that corrodes from within;
  • Progress depends on the amount of things (materials, intelligence, opportunities) that a person is capable of hoarding;
  • Loneliness is a situation to avoid because people who do not have a partner are perceived as miserable.


Rafael Santandreu has stated in several interviews that the exchange method described in your self-help book is supported by more than two thousand studies. Therefore, the approach has a really solid scientific basis. Additionally, the Iberian psychologist relies on the testimonies of the users of his blog to reaffirm the efficiency of his methodology.

According to Santandreu, the book “aims to be a tool for all those who cannot afford a good psychologist and who want to do the work on their own. Similarly, the psychologist emphasizes the inner dialogue of each person as the essential intense work to achieve personal transformation.

A Buddhist Approach?

The perspective of the inner conversation alluded to by the Catalan specialist has the effect of accentuating the good fortune or the misfortunes that have occurred in a person's life. Then, the thoughts of a depressive human being or with a tendency to anxiety are the cause of their own ills (because of the ideas arisen about himself).

Now, Santandreu maintains that this pessimistic or negative predisposition can be overcome through learning that triggers a new psychological configuration. In other words, it is possible to “teach to change”. It is a kind of rational-emotional programming whose main objective is to face adversity with a more convenient attitude.

The "terribillitis"

The Barcelona psychologist defines “terribillitis” as "the tendency to describe as terrible things that are not”. One of the examples is the unemployment situation of a person, which, in his opinion, has a fair consideration as "bad". But, for him, the lack of a stable job support "is not a total tragedy" and, even, people tend to get anxious when they have a job and fear losing it.

The difference lies in the acceptance of the reverse without exaggeration. In accordance, thoughts of self-flagellation or suffering (unnecessary) by an event that has not occurred are meaningless. In fact, indiscriminate (subjective) self-reproach turns an unwanted event into something unbearable. The latter is a very favorable breeding ground for the appearance of emotional disorders.

The practical solution

Phrase of Rafael Santandreu

Phrase of Rafael Santandreu

Eventually, before each unfavorable circumstance the person must decide if he faces it with a positive attitude (strong) or if he complains about it (weak). In this regard, Santandreu refers to various investigations demonstrating the value of "well understood" positivism, where solutions are proposed within a feasible framework.

In consecuense, the Spanish psychologist highlights the importance of emotional strengthening of the person as a key element to interpret reality rationally. In this way, the mind is programmed to process each event as objectively as possible, without falling into internal (towards oneself) and/or external (towards others) prejudices.

What is really necessary?

Santandreu maintains —based on the documentation carried out and the analysis of his query— that people tend to point out many non-essential issues as necessary to survive. Certainly, the really essential things for a person are food and water, the other needs represent, to a certain extent, a trap.

Therefore, the application of logic in the face of the inevitable misfortunes of life leads to putting aside prejudices and worries that cause anxiety and trauma. In the end, a person is (scientifically proven) more likely to figure out solutions to a problem if he is able to control her negative emotions.

About the author, Rafael Santandreu

Rafael Santandreu

Rafael SantandreuRafael Santandreu Lorite He was born in Barcelona on December 8, 1969. He completed the first part of his psychology studies at the University of Barcelona. Later, He completed his postgraduate degree in Psychotherapy under the tutelage of Professor Giorgio Nardone. He became known due to his disclosures related to psychology in the magazine Healthy mind (where he was editor-in-chief)

Also, he has been a regular guest on public television programs in Spain related to the subject. In 2013, he made his editorial debut with The art of not embittering life. Currently, Santandreu has a clinic in his name of clinical psychology in his hometown. In addition, she teaches at the Ramón Llull University and at the Barcelona College of Physicians.


The texts of the Barcelona psychologist are characterized by the use of simple language, loaded with anecdotes and some neologisms arising from his own intellect. These technical vocal innovations (“terribilitis”, “necesititis”) are used in their proper measure with the aim of inducing a pleasant context for reflection. Here is the list of his published books:

  • The art of not embittering life (2013);
  • school of happiness (2014);
  • The keys to psychological change and personal transformation (2014);
  • The glasses of happiness (2015);
  • Be happy in Alaska. Strong minds against all odds (2017);
  • Without fear (2021)

The content of the article adheres to our principles of editorial ethics. To report an error click here.

A comment, leave yours

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *



  1. Responsible for the data: Miguel Ángel Gatón
  2. Purpose of the data: Control SPAM, comment management.
  3. Legitimation: Your consent
  4. Communication of the data: The data will not be communicated to third parties except by legal obligation.
  5. Data storage: Database hosted by Occentus Networks (EU)
  6. Rights: At any time you can limit, recover and delete your information.

  1.   Diego C Ramos said

    Thank you very much for this very interesting report. To those of us who couldn't get close to the retirement park, you haven't given a joy. A hug.