The Happiness Project:A Private History of Happiness


“We can immediately tell when someone is happy. It shows in their eyes and becomes at that instant their presence in the world.” George Myerson.

I recently took a book out of the Library named “A Private History of Happiness, Ninety-Nine Moments of Joy from Around the World”. It was charming, insightful, and really made me smile. Ninety-nine people, ninety-nine moments in history, all over the world.

“..Each was experienced by an individual at a specific time- a few minutes, an hour, one particular day – ranging from over four thousand years ago to the recent past. These were women and men, young and old, of various backgrounds. They lived (or travelled) in many parts of the world…They were on city streets, or by rural rivers, in gardens  or on mountaintops, in cottages or mansions, on long journeys or short breaks when they had these varied moments of colour and sensation, understanding and peace, contact and laughter.” These words are from diaries, letters, poems, and various forms of personal chronicles of passing time. It points out that yes we have more money and are healthier than our predecessors, but are we happier? The aim of the book was to “show the enduring value and beauty of ordinary human happiness as we find it in passing moments”.

So many moments from time spent with good friends, time spent in nature, appreciating everything from a sunset to a frosty morning. Many were ordinary, everyday things that most of us wouldn’t think twice about. One moment was all about a delicious home cooked meal with old friends, another was about playing chess with a sibling.

I suppose the message here – particularly if you’re like me, and go through your days in such a rush, trying to get as much done as possible that you often miss out on the joy of certain moments- is to really truly appreciate the moment you are in. It’s not always easy, we’re hardwired to think what’s coming next; but it’s worth practising the art of mindfulness, the art of being in the present. *Gees, check me out trying to be all Yogi and spiritual…This will not last, I will soon go back to being the sleep deprived, slightly unhinged, fretful Mummy*.

So what brings me joy? –Well many things, but without listing out ninety-nine moments of joy in my life (a little laborious/unnecessary), I’ll leave you with nine things that make me happy:

1.) Maia’s smile, laugh, voice, the way she sleeps/walks/talks/eats/dances, whenever she looks at me and goes “Ohhhhh Mummy…” (Everything about Maia really apart from her tantrums and whingeing although sometimes they make me laugh because I know she’s often pretending).

2.) Any time I get to myself, to do pretty much anything. (Things like peeing alone become such a novelty after having a child).

3.) A good catch up with a close friend (the ones you can say anything to and you know they won’t judge you, you feel like you’re fifteen again).

4.) When older people give me words of wisdom (I always need help in some area of my life, I feel like I should write it all down and make a little book, it makes me look forward to getting older and wiser and bestowing such wisdom upon others).

5.) My mother’s cooking (her macaroni cheese, her spag bol, her fried rice, roast potatoes, just whenever she cooks carbohydrates really).

6.) Waking up before everyone else (I just feel like I have this head start on the day, a few magical moments to myself before the nappy changing/food prep/laundry marathon begins).

7.) An hour with a treadmill (that runner’s high and all the victorious sweat that comes with it).

8.) The library (just everything about the library)/ any time I get with a book.

9.) Publishing a blog post (the sense of “I’ve said what I wanted to say, hopefully I’ve spread some joy and made someone smile”).



  1. Those stories about happiness sound truly inspiring. It looks like you are finding lots of moments of joy/happiness! And an hour on the treadmill?!?! I’m so impressed! Thanks for sharing xoxoxo.

    Liked by 1 person

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