This book idea came about when the author, Gretchen Rubin was contemplating her life one day. Sure, she was happy, but could she be even happier? The Happiness Project is “an approach to changing your life.” It is a year’s worth of monthly themes to help you focus on pumping up your happiness in those specific areas. The book feels relevant especially because of the extensive research and random facts Rubin shares throughout.
While reading, I couldn’t help but feel she is a kindred sista of sorts, because we have many things in common, such as our obsessive note taking and list making. While I love her “12 Commandments” of life and her “Secrets of Adulthood,” if I ever met her I’d remind her not to get too bogged down in rules and lists! Sometimes the very things we hope keep us organized and on track are the same things that keep us stiffly in our box.
Book Worm Wednesday: Top Ten Tidbits
The Happiness Project
by Gretchen Rubin
1.) De-clutter High:
I don’t know about you, but when my house is a mess, I feel stressed. I’m not talking about the kids toys are all over every room, kind of mess. That’s just life with kids. I’m talking about the ketchup fell out on my foot again, the pantry is puking half eaten packages of crackers at me, and when are those lazy laundry elves going to come and tackle these piles, kinds of messes. Rubin dedicates a whole section of her happiness project to tossing, restoring, and organizing. If you need a quick happiness high, try cleaning out a junk drawer! It seriously works and you’ll crave more!
2.) “Give proofs of Love”:
Rubin appropriately selects to “Remember Love” in the month of February. One of my favorite goals in this section is to “give proofs of love.” It’s wonderful to share the words “I love you” with our loved ones, but it’s even better to prove it through our actions. I’m not talking about showering someone with lavish gifts here, but rather how we can simply show love to our family and friends. Leave your spouse a love note. Bring a pregnant friend dinner. Offer to babysit. Ask someone if they are okay. Just do anything that says you thought of them and care!
3.) “Enjoy the fun of Failure”:
I nearly broke out into hives in this section, because I hate failing! Failure… fun?!!?? Come on Gretchen, you’ve got to be kidding me. I think we all know deep down that we learn from our failures and that we try not to make the same mistake twice and that our failures make us stronger and all that jazz. BUT failing makes you vulnerable and yuck, who wants to be that? Okay, I’m being a little silly here, clearly we want to raise kids that know “sometimes we fall down, but we always get back up.” It’s healthy for them to learn that everything in life won’t always be perfect and that that is okay. So, let’s do like Rubin and know: “If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough” AND that there’s a time to “nudge myself out of my comfort zone into my stretch zone.”
4.) “Sing in the morning”:
Rubin has the advice to “sing in the morning” in her “Lighten Up” parenting chapter. I say, life’s a musical, why not sing…all day long, like one big crazy Glee-athon?! I may not have my brother-in-law’s amazing Josh Groban-y voice, but I can seriously rock out some Jesus Loves Me and Baby Beluga (okay, and secretly some Patsy Cline). One of my littles, chants for the “ray-o, ray-o” (radio) to be turned on during breakfast. Music has amazing mood altering abilities, so don’t be afraid to sing and dance crazy with your kiddies. Even if you really stink at it, they probably think you’re the most talented singer/dancer they’ve ever seen and they will try to copy your every word/move (I have two year olds, I’m guessing if you tried this with teens they would think you’re cray-cray).
5.) “Take time to be silly”:
Is there anything better than your child’s laughter? “Taking time to be silly means that we’re infecting one another with good cheer…”
6.) “Master a new technology”:
I told my husband before we had kids that he better stay up on all of the latest technology, so he can be “cool” to our kids and know what the heck they are up to. Now look at me, I figured out blogging. In fact, I’m so saturated by social media that I occasionally take fancy breaks like thousands of other mommy bloggers. We can these breaks “social media vacations” or “social media fasts” or “I quit Facebook.” Anyway, mastering a new technology does make me happy (ish) or at least like my kids would think I’m cool if they were teenagers.
7.) “Stimulate the mind in new ways”:
In Rubin’s mindfulness section she says, “As I looked for ways to become more mindful, I realized that using my brain in unfamiliar ways would enhance my experience of the present moment and my awareness of myself.” I like the idea of using the mind in different ways; it’s gotta help keep you young right?! Just try something new: yoga, drawing, dancing, comedy club, join a gym, go for a hike, volunteer…something out of your normal routine.
8.) “Laugh out Loud”:
We are so serious. A speaker I heard on the radio the other day reflected that when crazy things happen to us we say, “some day we’ll laugh about this.” She countered, “why not laugh now?!” Laughter has the power to calm boiling point moments. In those moments, it could either get ugly or get funny. I bought those disposable sippy cups with a straws for my boys. They really like drinking out of straws. I can’t tell you how much milk has been donated to my counter, floor, and face since I bought those darn cups. Just this morning, I carefully secured the cover only to have milk shoot up from the straw into my face. In that moment, I had a choice, I could throw a mommy tantrum (and I felt my blood boiling) or I could laugh it off. Luckily, laughter won that round.
9.) “One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy; one of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.”
10.) “The days are long, but the years are short.”
Thanks for reading.