Book: The Happiness Project (Gretchen Rubin)

Wenxin recommended me this book! It belongs to a 'self-help/inspiration/improve yoself' category for me.

Basically the author Gretchen embarks on a year long project to increase her happiness, through various methods. Each month, she focuses on something ie. Energy, Relationships, Being Yourself, Friends, Marriage etc.

What I liked about this book: 
  • Examples of how she carried out her project in her everyday life
  • How she acknowledges that her methods may not be the best, and that yes, she was coming from a rather 'privileged' position. But everybody deserves to be happier, don't you think?
  • How she used her own phrases throughout the book and her life ie. "Be Gretchen". I talk to myself a lot in my own head so this stuck with me.
  • How she chronicled the difficulties in 'being happy' and following her own rules. How she talked about the resentment that built up, how she felt so frustrated etc etc etc

What I didn't like:
  • The later months/chapters were less relevant to me. I liked the ones at the front more.

Just gonna share some of the parts I liked :)

  • "Look for happiness under your own roof."
  • The idea of "Spend out". Use those pretty stationery you have, wear that gorgeous dress. Stop saving it up for something that may never happen. The time to enjoy something is now.
  • "What's fun for other people may not be fun for you- and vice versa." - This spoke to me because I mostly dislike parties, I rather stay home and read a book.
  • "Easy to be heavy, hard to be light." It's easy to be negative about many things, and it's harder to be happy.
  • "I didn't want to wait for a crisis to remake my life." That's right. I don't want to wait for yet another person I know to pass away to rethink my life and priorities, and see posts on FB about how we should treasure the ones we love. Guys, just do it now and start today.
  • "Sleep is the new sex."
  • "When the student is ready, the teacher appears." Oh god you can apply this to anything. You only learn when you think you deserve to, I guess.
  • "Aspirational clutter"- things that you owned but never got around using. See: paints, harmonica, and other things rotting in the drawers.
  • "I wondered whether my happiness project was selfish, because it seemed self-indulgent to concentrate on my own happiness. By being happy myself, I was better able to make other people happier."
  • "However, if you want to know how people would like to be treated, it's more helpful to look at how they themselves act than what the say." Look at what they value and act from there.
  • The 'gold star' concept
  • "We are happy when we are growing- Yeats"
  • "Happiness breeds in an atmosphere of growth."This is a very important concept for me because I knew I was addicted to growth and learning new things, but I never knew it was because ... well, the growing process makes me happy. (And this explains why I like reading growth stages in manga : ie. the hell training, the late night cramming and practising etc. GO GO GO!
  • "I worry about feeling legitimate." Well, this speaks to me. I have a Humanities major that is rather general and most people scratch their heads when they find out what I study. It's not a very straightforward thing as opposed to say a doctor, or lawyer. But anyway I love my major and would have never traded it for anything.
  • "Happiness doesn't always make you feel happy."- Growth can be painful.
  • Have a "goals group". Meet every few weeks to push each other on- ie. a writers' group, a music group, etc etc etc. A small community that gives you support. It's both practical and encouraging!
  • Fun is NOW. Doing what you love is a reward. The arrival fallacy ( that when you reach a goal, you'll automatically be happy.)
  • Show up. Go the extra mile. Even when you're grumpy, tired and annoyed.
  • Happy people are people too. They are often used as buoys for others, but they burn out too. They are often taken for granted, but they need care too. Being happy is not very easy or natural, but if you're a SOUL SUCKER, please watch what you do. Your negativity can spread like a virus too :(
More wise nuggets everywhere, check out the book if you're interested!
I'll post more of these when I meet another book that I want to discuss or share some thoughts with :)

Also, in a bid to spread some happy on this blog, here's a liberal dose of cute animal gifs courtesy of this tumblr. Enjoy.

Lol I love these seals.