February 24, 2010
C'mon, Get Happy: reading The Happiness Project
So how are you all today? Are you feeling happy? Would you feel happier if you sang out loud at breakfast, read Aristotle, started a book club, volunteered more, and were nicer to your spouse?
Last summer when this blog was just a toddler, I wrote about what is happiness to me, in terms of my not liking to do what other people like to do (I'm right, they're wrong), and mentioned a blog called The Happiness Project and how its author defined happiness.
Well that blog is now a book, released last month, and holy crap it is a huge bestseller! I am so happy for Gretchen, whose blog I still stalk, and who has commented here (thanks Gretchen!).
I have been loving this book as I read it on my beloved Kindle, an act which it turns out is actually a step towards being happy. I love to read, I heart gadgets especially my Kindle, and structuring my time to carve out time to read on the Kindle is one of the elements of how I can be happy.
The Happiness Project -- book, and blog, and movement if you want to call it that -- has Gretchen spending a year researching, writing, rethinking and reworking her life to discover what makes her happy, and then making it happen. This isn't about being depressed or even unhappy, as she was happy and successful already, it is a memoir about understanding and appreciating what makes her happy, and then doing more of it.
What does it take? Sometimes it is time management, sometimes it is staying in your comfort zone, and sometimes it is challenging yourself. There is doing good for yourself, and doing good for others, and also thoughts about doing stuff that may not be so much fun now and will then make you happy long term.
What is happiness? The secret is to want to be happy, and to work to make other people happy, and to have a plan of specific measurable actions. The author takes on a resolution each month, and reports on her successes and failures. She is brutally honesty about her marriage, family, friends, and work, and I totally related to her real-life adventures. In a sane and grounded way she finds out what makes her happy -- one of her priorities is Be Gretchen -- and she goes for it.
The Happiness Project reminded me of two other books I enjoyed, Eat, Pray, Love and The Year of Living Biblically -- it is a fun light personal read, and also thoughtful and substantial. Check it out!