“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished” – Benjamin Franklin.
As those who know me will know, I’m a big believer in change. ‘Everything is temporary,’ I say it all.the.time. I even have a tattoo on my foot to remind me, in case I should ever forget. Life is all about progressing.
I also love reading. So there isn’t much I love more than a book that makes me eager to amend and make changes to my life.
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin is one such book.
“There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy” is one of the first quotes in the novel. And it’s true. Especially as through being happier we also make those around us happier too. We are more charitable, more forgiving, more patient, more willing to try new things. In short, everything is better when we are happy.
Gretchen Rubin was a happy woman to begin with, but she came to the conclusion one day that she could be happier… and why not?
After researching age-old theories of what makes us happy, she came up with a list of resolutions, and of things which brought her happiness. Dedicating each month of the year to improving and focusing on each of these aspects she takes the reader along on her journey, inspiring you all the while to begin your own happiness project.
Most of her resolutions are relatively common-sense, like spend more time doing what makes you happy, never let yourself be too hungry or too sleepy, exercise a little bit every day.
Most importantly, perhaps, ‘Act the way you wish to feel.” This is particularly important as “we are all a bit addicted to our own melancholy.”
This I believe adamantly. But by making a conscious effort to smile instead of scream, spend more time with our friends and family, and just be yourself, the amount of time you spend happy will undoubtedly increase.
She came to the conclusion that – among other things – all of the above do work, that money can buy happiness – if spent in the right way and on the right things, – that growth and progression is pivotal to happiness – even if you ‘fail’ at first.
Since finishing ‘The Happiness Project’ I have been working on starting one of my own. Like Gretchen, I don’t want to wait for disaster to strike to begin rebuilding my life. Recently taking the time to ‘be myself,’ ‘try something new’ and spend money on something that will contribute to my happiness I floated in a salt water vaccuum – an experience that was undoubtedly one of the most rewarding I’ve had.
I’ve also started keeping a ‘Happiness Diary’ which consists of writing down a few bullet points at the end of each day of the happiest moments in the last 24 hours. Useful both in taking the time to appreciate what I have – afterall, ‘Happy people are thankful people’ – as well as finding out what truly makes me happy – so that I, of course, can do more of it.
And with the new year approaching, its a perfect time to make resolutions!
As Epicarus wrote: “We must exercise ourselves in the things which bring happiness, since, if that be present, we have everything, and, if that be absent, all our actions are directed towards attaining it.”