Last fall, I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. The basic premise of the book is that many adults do not naturally come to happiness. It takes some exploration, experimentation, and even effort to recognize what truly makes us happy and pursue it. The book is a journal of Rubin’s own attempts at various techniques for achieving happiness. Along the way, she provides research to support why she is engaging in each activity.
The book was easy and enjoyable to read, and I was intrigued by many of the ideas. It provided good support for a basic premise of my parenting life: A happier, healthier me is a better parent. And, of course, the better things go with my parenting, the happier I am. (There is a lot of circularity in happiness theory!)
I never did launch my own fully organized, structured, and documented “Happiness Project”, though I had ambitions to do so, at the start. But I continue to return to small, but important, take-aways from the book, which inform my philosophy and actions. One of my favorite parts of the book was the chapter on having fun. Bottom line: lots of grown-ups don’t know how to have fun. Many of our daily activities are based on obligation or responsibility, not fun! We also find ourselves doing things that are supposed to be fun, but aren’t actually fun, for us. What is genuinely “fun” is different for everyone. Exploring having fun has been, well… FUN! I discovered that one thing that’s really fun for me, and that I’ve been trying to do more of, is playing tennis. I also love doing little art projects, mainly the kind that involve cutting, pasting, drawing and writing in a kind of arty-scrapbook format. Games (i.e. board games, word games, cards) are fun, too — and what’s really great is that my kids are now old enough that I actually like playing with them.
Overall, I do feel that I am more intentional in pursuing happiness since reading The Happiness Project. Have others read this book? What did you think? What aspect of it resonated most for you?
Here is a link to The Happiness Project blog: http://www.happiness-project.com/
Check out The Happiness Project “Toolbox”.