Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Reporting on Happiness

I'm reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I'm loving it-possibly because I am an addict when it comes to Self-Help, change my life memoirs. Yes, I loved Eat, Pray, Love too. And I'm also not done the book yet, but have dozens of ideas that I want to apply to my life. I started by quitting the Book Club book that I hate (What is the What by Eggers). I will probably soon undertake my own happiness project and copy the idea that I can use it for all aspects of my life-work, parenthood, friends, health, etc. Because there's no reason that I (or we) have to escape my (our) life to make changes-which is one criticism of needing or wanting to travel to exotic lands to find the happiness that is in your lap. I still want to travel more-and the idea of a year in Italy, India and Indonesia is so appealing (or I'll take a year travelling anywhere), but I'll look for my little corner of happiness in Bowness. And at Elan. And in Calgary.

So far, I've bookmarked a few pages and some lines that I will share.

To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of change.

I know that I need to focus on happiness to be happy, and remove the unhappy things too. But Change! That hit home for me. That's why I love going out to my garden right now and seeing how much the rhubarb has grown (really!). I know we should be at peace with who we are, and what we have, but I have always had an undercurrent of needing and wanting change. And to keep making my goals for the next step in life. We get to see the changes as the seasons come and go, I can watch my garden grow, see my patients change and improve and get better, watch our daughter learn about the world and gain inches and pounds overnight, plan holidays and vacations and new things to do around home and work. I like that sentence.

The challenge, therefore, is to take pleasure in the "atmosphere of growth", in the gradual progress made toward a goal, in the present.

Isn't that the same as, "If you can't find happiness along the way, don't expect to find it at the end of the road"? So, enjoy the journey. Look forward today to what's ahead because the anticipation is probably as much fun as the event itself. That would be like waiting for Santa Clause, or the Easter Bunny...

Happiness has four stages. To eke out the most happiness from an experience, we must anticipate it, savor it as it unfolds, express happiness, and recall a happy memory.

Of course she says more about it, but I can now justify my photos, scrapbooks and endlessly talking about events that have happened and will happen. And I may plan birthday parties with a little more enthusiasm too.

I think her book has made me happy already and I like to read so I think her book accomplishes what it should. I'm looking forward to starting my own happiness project soon.

Does anybody want to join me? Who's read the book? What are your thoughts this?

1 comment:

  1. I remember all those quotes hitting home with me too---especially the one about change (and challenging yourself) being a necessary component of happiness. I feel like I have spent far too much time swinging between trying to attain some static state of happiness (very eastern idea, IMHO), and getting itchy feet and trying something new (travel, a class, blogging, becoming a parent, etc.) and getting the happiness buzz off that til I added so much I felt overwhelmed, thn back to the quest for static happiness--rinse, lather, repeat.

    I'd love to chat more about the book as you read it. Also curious as to the book club you are in; I am in one at my library, but am keen to find another that is more open to reading non-fiction, at least some of the time.