The Happiness Project Book Review
Happiness? A concept that sounds easy enough, but after reading the book by Gretchen Rubin, I realized that it may be a little more in depth than I originally thought. Okay maybe a lot more in depth. Who knew that just one emotion can have such depth. Let’s dive right in shall we?
After the move last year I went through a depression that I haven’t felt in years. I mean it took everything I had to get out of bed in the morning and within an hour I would wound up back in bed. Trying to convince myself to go the mall took over an hour. I just couldn’t shake it.
It was fine once my bf was home. I had someone to talk to. I constantly felt lonely in my town and at times felt more like a visitor than a guest. It was no one’s fault. It’s just the way it goes when you have to travel back and forth for work all the time or when you have to stay away from the house for an extended period of days.
So I got reacquainted with an old friend- books. I have to say, for the first time in years I couldn’t get enough of reading. I visited Chapters more times in those months than I did in recent years. It was ridiculous, but man did it feel good. I am sure the bank account disagrees, but who cares what that says.
So one of the first books I grabbed was The Happiness Project. It seemed fitting at the time. I anticipated lots of tips and tricks on how to be happier. I was so wrong. What I got was so much more! It was beautiful.
Rather than feeding you the answers to your happiness questions, Gretchen takes her own personal happiness journey. She decides that rather than making big grand gestures and changing her life drastically, she is going to focus on changing her mindset. Let me say this. She did not go into this challenge feeling down and out. No, just at times felt very neutral.
Gretchen breaks each month into mini challenges. Each challenge is broken into a different aspect of her life. She focused on things that would make her happy, or change her attitude about certain things. Each month’s theme has a connection to her overall happiness. Some ideas she had:
January- Boost energy
- Go to sleep earlier
- Toss, restore and organize
June- Make time for friends
- Remember birthdays
- Show Up
- Don’t Gossip
November- Keep a Contented Heart
- Laugh out loud
- Use good manners
As you can see, Gretchen didn’t make these big lifestyle changes that made her life LOOK better. She changed how she ran her every day life, and at the end of the year she noticed a change in her mood. An added bonus to her challenge, was the outcome it had on her husband and her children. She knew that she couldn’t change their feelings and actions, but by changing her own, her family was more inclined to do so as well.
Gretchen tracks her progress throughout each month and then reviews how her happiness is changed from day 1 to day 31. By tracking it this way she constantly thinks about it each and every day. Some months are tougher than others and sometimes it is easier to slip back into old habits. Especially without realizing it. Sound familar?
Her Big Takeaways
Gretchen comes out the year with some realizations about her life. She realized that things that make other people happy don't necessarily make her happy and vice versa. Such as reading (and I have felt this myself). As an adult it is almost a requirement to read "adult" literature. Sometimes though Young Adult books are so much better. I personally agree with that. I would much rather read a Harry Potter book any day than most adult books any day.
Another realization of hers? You can't control the thoughts, feelings and activities of others. Nagging and bugging to get the thoughts and feelings you want, just ends up making you angry. Not the response you are trying to achieve. Instead focus on yourself and your feelings. Once you do that (and it's a constant struggle at first) you realize that other things will fall into place.
I loved this book, and to be honest it partially inspired the rebrand of this blog. I really wanted to help women to focus on reconnecting with what made them happy. After reading this book, I realized that we all need to enjoy our day to day life just a little more.
This book also help me to remember the girl I once was. I was once the girl who danced like no one was watching (even though I was in public), who came up with random ideas that had to be done at once (born were the ideas of Drunken movie nights, and Turkeyween).
Once life gets in the way we have a tendency to forget these things. We’re too tired, we’re too busy, we want to be left alone or we’re too stressed out. I am guilty of that and I am sure you are too. I am really glad I picked up this book when I did. Sometimes fate really does come when you need her the most. I needed this book to help me snap out of it.
One of my main takeaways from this book was realizing that no one can control my happiness. That comes from me. When I am feeling down and out, I don't need to make big changes in my life. I can change my life by making everyday changes. It just takes one step at a time.
Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comment section below.
Peace,love and creativity