The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Since both of this week’s quotes focused on attaining happiness, I decided to reach for my copy of Gretchen Rubin’s famous self-help book, The Happiness Project Or Why I Spent A Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. It was #1 on the New York Times Bestsellers List. It all began when a lightening bolt hit her one day as she suddenly realized that “the days are long but the years are short.”

What I truly love about Rubin’s book is that her research was done philosophically and scientifically; therefore it is free of psychological jargon, unlike most self-help books. (Another example of a psychology free self-help book is the theologically inspired The Wisdom to Know the Difference: When to Make A Change and When to Let Go by Eileen Flanagan. I am planning on rereading both books as summer draws to a close.)

Two large underlying factors in daily happiness turns out to be attitude and organization. Rubin is focus is on revealing “The Happiness Project Manifesto” in a series of “Splendid Truths” in order to ultimately prepare the reader to undertake their own happiness project. Rubin’s happiness project lasted for one year but we are able to create a customized one using the guide she presents at the end of the book.

At the base of Rubin’s research is how small changes in daily life promote a sense of calm and well-being. In the first chapter she writes, “An important aspect of happiness is managing your moods, and studies show that one of the best ways to lift your mood is to engineer an easy success, such as tackling a long-delayed chore.” Rubin’s focus remains on mental energy throughout the book. She explores the added value of novelty and money as tools.

Good luck with your happiness project and don’t forget to check out Gretchen Rubin’s subsequent books!

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