Come On, Get Happy!

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

 “People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Do you ever wonder what you can do to add a little happiness to your life?  What would put a little more joy into your day?  Gretchen Rubin did and then she set out to do something about it.  Her result was The Happiness Project, in which she documented her attempt to be happier.  At first, she wondered if this were even possible.  Can we really make ourselves happier?  After thinking long and hard and setting up a game plan, she realized that she could.  As Rubin says, her project may not look like your project, which may not look like my project.  However, we can each discover what little (or big) things we can do to give ourselves a little more happiness.

Each month she chooses a different area of her life to work on, which include family relationships, parenting, and making time for play.  And then she figures out what distinct steps she can take in each of those areas.  For example, in her month of focusing on play, we find these:  find more fun; take time to be silly; go off the path (to learn about things she may never have otherwise thought much about); and start a collection. 

Rubin then takes happiness a step farther in Happier at Home, where she applies the same ideas specifically to her home life.  Here she tackles her relationships with her possessions, her neighborhood, and how she spends her time, among other things.  In the chapter on time, she decides to control the cubicle in her pocket (not let her cell phone rule her life); guard her children’s free time; suffer for fifteen minutes (in order to take care of all the little projects she’s been putting off); and go on monthly adventures with her husband. 

Each book offers plenty of little things we can do to add some joy to our lives.  To me, it seems to come down to improving your general quality of life in small, doable ways.  Though we tend to think of happiness as spontaneous or uncontrolled, Rubin shows us that this is not necessarily so.  We can add happiness to our lives.  It helps when we put some thought and structure into our own attempts, since we see more results when we have a plan, instead of continually saying, “One day…”

Are you ready to get happy?

No comments: