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The Happiness Project

September 29, 2011

Written by Contributing Writer, Sarah Farthing

One of my favorite columns in Good Housekeeping each month is written by Gretchen Rubin.  I love her concrete advice for living well and maximizing happiness in your life and so it was with great anticipation that I read her book, The Happiness Project.

In a nutshell, Gretchen spent a year living out her custom designed happiness project to see if she could boost her happiness quotient.  She extensively researched happiness, set goals and resolutions for each month and set about to determine their cumulative effect on her daily and overall happiness.

In our family we focus a lot on our responsibility to choose to be happy.  I love all the suggestions Gretchen gives in this book for how a person can do just that- choose happiness!  Whether it’s cleaning out closets, eating well, exercising, sleeping more, nagging less, laughing more…there are specific actions a person can take (in the form of their own custom happiness project) that will absolutely increase happiness.   There are also truths we already know about ourselves that can be powerful tools for all of us if we use them to our advantage.  Reading this book helped me identify some of my own, in fact!

There is a very soothing quality to Gretchen’s writing and I found myself repeatedly smiling or nodding in agreement with her struggles and realizations.  I finished the book this summer and I still regularly repeat certain mantras of hers that really struck a chord with me: “Identify the problem.   Do good, feel good.  Most decisions don’t require extensive research.  What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you–and vice versa.”  There are more and she refers to these as ‘Secrets of Adulthood.’

I haven’t been this motivated by something I’ve read in a long time.  I found The Happiness Project to be an extremely satisfying and inspiring read and I hope you will get your copy soon!

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  1. Heidi Farmer

      on September 29, 2011 8:25 am

    This book has been in my stack to read for a long time and you’ve just moved it up to the top… I’ll report back!


  2. Christine Westermark

      on September 29, 2011 10:10 am

    This is a great book. I knew when I picked it up. So I read it with a pencil in my hand for all the margin notes I made in it. I plan to go back and write a bunch of those notes into a journal – something Gretchen would probably do! There should be a subject block in school reserved for this topic – being happy. Happy people do good things and we need more of that in this world.


  3. Sarah

      on September 29, 2011 1:43 pm

    Christine I did the same thing! Taking notes as I went along…there was just too much I knew I wanted to remember and refer back to at different times in my day/week/month/year!


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