Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Happiness Project

This book came to me when I really needed it most.  Isn't it funny how life works sometimes?  I'd heard of Gretchen Rubin's memoir of a year spent on increasing her fun and happiness levels a couple years ago when it was released, and thought at the time, "Hey, I should pick that up.  Sounds like a fun, useful read."  Then I promptly got swept up in looking for a job, planning a destination wedding, traveling, working at a job when I found one, moving, etc.  Life gets complicated.  The Happiness Project is a great reminder of appreciating the small things in our daily lives and seeking out ways to create fun.
Rubin was on the bus one day when she realized that she was at risk of wasting her potential for happiness.  She wasn't depressed or incredibly down; quite the opposite, in fact.  She was a relatively financially secure mother of two who was happily married to a man she loved deeply.  However, she knew she could be happier and appreciate the things in her life more fully; thus began her year-long happiness project.  Each month for a year, Rubin tackled a list of to-dos that related to a larger picture; January's topic was clearing the clutter, so she completed a nagging task, cleaned out her closets, etc.  She tried everything from laughter yoga to reading memoirs of catastrophe to wearing socks to promote better sleeping.  Nothing in this book is revolutionary, but it acts as a great reminder for paying attention to our lives and being responsible for our own happiness level.
This would be a great beach read (I read it on lunch breaks on gloomy March days, which actually made the days seem a bit brighter), and will help you prioritize the little things.  I took away a few tips that have been remiss in my own life: let things go, cut people slack, don't let perfect be the enemy of good, etc.  Small mind reframing really helped me keep my irritation in check.  Maybe it will help inspire you to undertake your own happiness project!

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