Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Happiness Project & Me

On a girls' night out with my friend Emily, I came across a book by Gretchen Rubin called The Happiness Project. The cover is beautiful to me, and the message seemed to be calling out to me--

Adding happiness to an already-happy life is possible. Being happier is within reach.

The whole book is incredible and accessible; Gretchen is a parent, a writer, a wife, and a friend. Her life is similar to mine, so I knew that if I tried to follow her lead, I could be successful. For a year, she utilized such devices as singing, decluttering, and socializing to make her life and the lives of those around her more positive. As someone who is constantly striving to purge herself of her nastiness (inside and out!), I swallowed this book in whole chunks--I should go back and reread it!

I know I am late to the party, since this book was on the New York Times bestseller list, but maybe you are, too. Maybe you could benefit from looking at life realistically and asking yourself how you can be happier. And maybe you would enjoy just reading a great book with an interesting heroine. I read my book on my Kindle for iPhone app, but it's also available on

Gretchen has many "commandments" and "truths" that guided her project, and the first is:

To be happier, you have to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth

In the back of her book, she suggests some thought points to get you started on your own happiness project. Here they are below; I have been pondering them for a few days and I think I am getting brave enough to give myself some answers.
  1. What makes you feel good? What activities do you find fun, energizing, and satisfying?
  2. What makes you feel bad? What are sources of anger, irritation, boredom, frustration, or anxiety in your life?
  3. Is there any way in which you don't feel right about your life? Do you wish you could change your job, city, family situation, or other circumstances? Are you living up to your expectations for yourself? Does your life reflect your values?
  4. Do you have sources of an atmosphere of growth? In what elements of your life do you find progress, learning, challenge, improvement, and increased mastery?

Does this speak to you?