Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Happiness Project

This week was time for personal growth. I chose to read the book the happiness project, written by Gretchen Rubin, because who wouldn’t want to be happier? This is a book dedicated to becoming happier, and not by drastically changing your life, just by doing simple things, and making simple changes from day to day. Unfortunately not all of us can move to the beach for a year and meditate every morning, so we must learn to become happier while we are at home, cooking dinner, working, and taking care of our families and ourselves.

The happiness project is the personal account of the year Rubin test-drove different ideas and theories to become happier. She has created such a thoughtful work on happiness, expertly weaves together philosophy, scientific research, history, analysis, and real-life experiences as she explains what worked for her—and what didn’t.

Each month Rubin focused on making small changes in her life that would resolve in her becoming happier. She covered a vast landscape of things from clutter clearing, going to bed earlier, singing in the morning, and stopping the automatic instinct that most of us have to nag the people around us. At the end of each month and chapter, Rubin, summarizes the things that she worked for her, what she learned, and the ideas she would leave behind to collect with dust bunnies in the far corners and under the bed.

Within the first few pages of reading this book I already felt happier. This book is filled with practical advice, sharp insight, charm, and humor. Reading Rubin’s words, and stories was like talking with a friend, it was honest, and easy to understand and relate to. She not only provided scientific theories and explanations, gave references from many different books based on personal happiness, but also shared her personal trials, struggles, and triumphs. One of the things I likes most about this book was this it was illuminating yet entertaining, and profound yet compulsively readable, unlike the majority of personal growth books sitting on the back shelves of bookstores across the country.

This is a book everyone must read. Even if you feel happy, there are plenty of great lessons, and things to think about and incorporate into your daily life. I have a feeling I will be reading this book repeatedly, each time taking something else away that I can incorporate into my own life.

It is said that just thinking about your goals, your future, and things that bring you joy, will in turn bring you pleasure, even if you have not put action to your thoughts. I had this book with me all the time, and I definitely noticed that just the thought of reading it and thinking about how to become happier, made me happier. As I sat in cafes, office building, and even my own living room I became hyper sensitive to the things around me that brought me joy; the elderly couple sitting across from me, holding hands, and in complete admiration of each other, the thought of meeting up with a good friend, and even the new artwork on my living room wall. I was able to appreciate the small things, like finding that the clean were dishes put away, having a very productive day, and having a great conversation with my husband. I don’t want these things, and thoughts to stop after this week, so I plan on starting my own happiness project. I will hopefully not only making myself happier, but those around me and in my life as well.

My tip for this book is to follow Rubin’s blog, and start your own happiness project. Countless times she stated that everyone’s happiness projects will look different, and that makes complete sense because we are all very different. We all enjoy different movies, books, hobbies, and people. Don’t put this off, your happiness is something that cannot wait.

Here is the link to Rubin’s website and blog so you can begin your own happiness project. 

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