BOOKS · THE ART OF HAPPINESS

What is The Happiness Project? 

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Written by Happiness Guru Gretchen Rubin; The Happiness Project tells the story of Rubin’s adventures during the 12 months she spent “test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier”. 

“A happiness project is an approach to changing your life” Rubin writes. It is making simple changes, that can significantly increase your happiness. Over an extended period of time; with “Commandments” such as Lighten up, Do it now and Enjoy the process, and “Secrets of Adulthood” such as Bring a sweater, do good feel good and People don’t notice your mistakes as much as you think – we call this a project. 

Each month she focuses on a different area; from boosting energy, to making time for her friends, to pursuing a passion. She has different resolutions each month (e.g Sing in the morning, take time for projects, give proofs of love) and a chart to record her progress.
I found her story to be insightful, honest, funny and highly motivating. This woman was quite literally doing everything she could to be happy, and it was working. She showed that happiness is a choice, that it’s “easier to be heavy, hard to be light”, and that happiness is contagious. (Amongst many other things).
Rubin advises people to start by answering a few questions:

“What makes you feel good? What activities do you find fun, satisfying, or energising?What makes you feel bad? What are sources of anger, irritation, boredom, frustration, or anxiety in your life?

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?

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?”

The answers to these questions provide the “road map to the kind of changes you might consider”. You then need to decide which areas need work and identify specific, measurable resolutions, that will allow you to evaluate you’re progress.

Rubin inspired me, and thousands of others, to start their own happiness projects and blog about them. Mine starts in January. I am not unhappy, I just know there are areas that need some work. I know I could eat healthier, spend less on unnecessary things, nag my parents less, exercise more, read more, spend less time on Social Media.. And so on.

So how does this relate to me and my clothes? Well you may know I’ve given up buying clothes, with the belief that this will increase my happiness. Rubin asked her blog readers “if anyone had ever boosted his or her happiness by giving up a category of purchases entirely; people replied “lottery tickets, bottled water, sugary snacks, cable TV””. I know, that just like sugar, new clothes would do me no good and just until January 2017, I’ll be happier, without them. (18 year old Angela does not understand what is going on here).

12 months, many resolutions, and a very happy Mummy. I hope you can learn something from my adventures in happiness. Even better, join me in January, start your own Happiness Project!

Gretchin Rubin blogs all about her “experiments in the pursuit of happiness and good habits” here. Buy the Book here. 

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