Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Happiness Project

I'm thoroughly enjoying this book by Gretchen Rubin. I've seen it all over the place lately and discovered that I could borrow it from the library via Kindle! I have it for two weeks, so I'm plowing through. GR has some really great ideas; the question that keeps popping up in my mind as I read does she have TIME for all of these resolutions, as the mother of two small children and a writer on the side? She doesn't stay up late, because one of her resolutions is to go to bed early :) And, how does she remember what they are? (She has monthly resolutions, and also has a chart).

A few that have stuck out for me:

Do good, feel good
If it can be done in less than one minute, do it now!
Extreme Nice :)
Bring people together
Make 3 new friends
Be a treasure house of happy memories
Make time for play
If you can't get out of something, get into it (submitted by one of her blog readers)

The chapter on money made me uncomfortable, so I should probably read that one a few times, ha ha! She says her family is financially comfortable, so her attempts to "spend out" didn't necessarily resonate totally with me (I'm far from financially comfortable, so I won't be writing checks to organizations I'm fond of quite yet. That's certainly a charitable and thoughtful act I can aspire to one day!) She discusses 'under spenders' and 'over spenders'...I'm not even sure where I fall but I'd guess I'm somewhere in the middle, or somehow kind of twisted up in both? She decides to stop spending in one area...for me that will probably be clothes shopping :) I like to do it and don't think I actually do it 'too much' except for the fact that I do it 'more than my budget allows'. So, I need to pay more attention to my money and remember her thoughts on it's often based in instant gratification...that soon wears off...

I've been thinking a little bit about what truly makes me happy. Like Gretchen, I have to actually THINK about it; which suggests I'm more in a routine of life than a tuned in response to MY life...what makes ME happy? I've come up with a few things so far, and I know there are tons more...

Cuddling with my cat
Hiking (especially in winter!)
Reading for pleasure
Baking on Sundays
Practicing yoga
Celebrating the holidays/honoring my memories of the holidays?

Yesterday I spent most of the day with my four year old niece (my two year old nephew was around part of the time until he went to work with Daddy). She and I spent at least a couple of hours doodling and drawing together. It was more fun than I would have even guessed; I was very much into the moment and enjoying her company and creativity (and comments on my drawings, ha ha). I spent time with a favorite person doing a favorite thing...and Playing with a capital P! :)

I'm in agreement with Gretchen that a personal 'Happiness Project' is not selfish...but a true exploration and a way to give something to's not 'giving' if I am just thoughtlessly throwing parts of my 'self' out at the world. Knowing where I'm coming from allows me to choose and contribute the gifts I'd like to contribute...with control and gratitude and happiness :)

What makes YOU happy?

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