Monday, March 4, 2013

The HAPPINESS Project ~ My Quest for the Inner Calm

Ok.. I have read some interesting books lately and one of which is the "Happiness Project"

The "Happiness Project" is written by Gretchen Rubin and is #1 New York Times Bestseller

Her premises in writing this book was

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany on a city bus, "The Days are long, the years are short... time is passing and I am not focused enough on the things that REALLY Matter."

Gretchen has a great life, wonderful husband and children, writes and has a great career but felt that she   wasn't the happiest she could be.  She had moments of sheer bliss but most of the time her life felt like she was on a conveyor belt ... shuffling through everyday with the same momentum and same gusto.
She wanted to look at life differently and wanted to achieve a higher level of happiness.

Are you a happy person but question whether you are the happiest you can be?????

Do you teeter between happy moments through out the day but mostly frustration and complacency?

Do you have an inner calm or do you feel like most days you are on the verge of bursting apart?

This book is a great way at examining every component of your life.  Taking a look at simple aspects or principles in your life and changing it up... develop a routine of change over a period of a month and deciding whether the change boost happiness and/or strengthened your inner calm.

She breaks down happiness into 12 groups and over a course of 12 Months.

1.  Vitality - Boost Energy
2.  Marriage - Remember Love Everyday
3.  Work - Aim Higher
4.  Parenthood - Lighten Up
5.  Leisure - Be Serious About Play
6.  Friendship - Make Time for Friends
7.  Money - Buy Some Happiness
8.  Eternity - Contemplate the Heavens
9.  Books - Pursue a Passion
10.  Mindfulness - Pay Attention
11.  Attitude - Keep A Contented Heart
12.  Happiness - Boot Camp Perfect

How she decided what she wanted to focus on first and second etc etc.. .. was strictly based on her prioritizing what she wanted to be the most satisfied and most content with.

In addition, why did she decide to tackle each subject per month?  Well, I discovered that if you want to change a behavior or develop a new habit... scientifically it takes 21 days to create a behavioral change or develop a new human habit.

(This includes redirecting bad habits such as trying to quit smoking, chewing on the side of cheeks, biting finger nails, midnight eating ... etc... etc...)

SO since I am a stay at home mom and my priorities are slightly different than the authors
 (Gretchen Rubin) 

Here is my list..

1.  Vitality - Boost Energy, Exercise, and SLEEP
2.  Marriage - Remember Love Everyday, Stop Nagging, and Accept Responsibility
3.  Parenthood - Lighten Up, Learn that My behavior is teaching my kiddos about what's important, virtue and overall happiness
4.  Attitude - Keep a Contented Heart with Every Aspect of my life, Stop Complaining!
5.  Leisure - Be Serious About Play, put down the vacuum and make a fort!
6.  Mindfulness - Pay Attention, Smile More, Wave and Say Hello More etc...
7.  Friendship - Welcome friendship with open arms, Create opportunities to have friendship 
8.  Work - My home is my job.. how to keep everything in check without going overboard
9.  Money - Buy Some Happiness, Simply my life, Put in perspective
10.  Books - Pursue a Passion - Get excited about it and explore what's out there beyond my everyday interests - Force myself to learn something new and different
11.  Eternity - Contemplate the Heavens ... Look ahead...Looking at Life in Perspective
12.  Happiness - Boot Camp Perfect

It is interesting to read online about researchers who study happiness .. many believe that happiness is about relationship and attitude .. but I found that many many people compare their happiness to others.

This is an excerpt taken from the link above:

Think about this sentence:
How will you ever be happy with what you are doing if you compare it to something you like more?
Seriously, think about it. Don’t read anything else for at least 30 seconds.
......................10 seconds...................20 seconds.................................30 seconds.... GO! 
When you start to do something that you don’t enjoy, let’s say taking out the trash, why do you not enjoy that activity? It’s because in your head you are saying, “instead of taking out the trash, I could be watching television/reading/talking to my friend/reading Progress Driven Life.” Now I will absolutely agree with you that all of those things are much more enjoyable than taking out the trash, that is not the point here.
The point that will change your life, and ultimately lead you to happiness, is to stop comparing apples to oranges, or trashcans to televisions. Of course you will hate something when you compare it to the best experience you have ever had, even if you did enjoy the activity before you made the comparison. Let’s take an example that is a little more potent.
Many of us don’t mind a nice day spent reading a book we picked up, or a magazine we ordered. Maybe you have a slow Saturday and you decide to sit down and relax with your literature of choice. You are content with your decision. Then your friend calls you and tells you all about how they are going to this awesome amusement park with some really cool people. You are excited for them, and as soon as you hang up the phone and pick up your book, something feels different. Why?
Instead of comparing your day of relaxed reading to other similar days, you are now comparing it to going on an incredible day at an amusement park with your friends. What used to be nice and relaxing now appears dull. Instead of feeling liberated that you are able to spend a day by yourself, now you feel confined in your own home wishing you could go out and do something more exciting.
We do this with EVERYTHING. When someone asks you how your meal was, you might say, “It was good, but not as good as (insert your favorite restaurant).” This causes us to view our own lives through a lens of negative comparison. Instead of being content with the wonderful experiences we are currently enjoying, we compare them to what others are doing. In doing so we miss out on everything that we would value about our own experience in the first place.
This has become such a huge problem with the rise of social media in the past decade. We all stay connected every moment so that we don’t “miss something”. We are always concerned that our Facebook friends are doing something more exciting than us, and in this constant state of observation, we miss all of the incredible experiences that could be occurring in our own lives, if only we would take the time to appreciate them.
So how can we do this? How can we achieve happiness in this crazy mess that is our society?
Written By:  Progress Driven Life Author 
It is interesting because this article makes a very valid point... examining the word "Appreciate" and "enjoying the moment" or "always wishing for something else or something better".    Gretchen Rubin "The Happiness Project" focuses on behavior and actions and in turn will change your attitude towards the world and your life.  Once you attain a true sense of happiness... facebook or any social media will seem less important and irrelevant.

To give credit to my husband....
My husband has a phenomenal view on life.  Despite a few bad habits here and there, he is a pretty content appreciative person.  He puts life into perspective and does his best to look at the good in people and understands that there are just some that can't be "fixed"  (Insert Happy).   He has an inner calm to him that gives him an edge of confidence that I haven't seen in many men.  One of the most magnificent things about my husband is that he truly lives in the moment.  He reminds me everyday in either his words or actions that you can't change what you can't change and you only have control over your behavior and how you react to others.  I guess that's why his inner calm is a balance to my crazy state of mind.

I have decided that my "Inner Calm" needs a little lift!  So, I have put the "Happiness Project" to the test and begun my first venture on newly formed bedtime habits and exercise habits.  
My first 21 days of early bedtime have begun.  See the next post for month 1 (BOOSTING ENERGY)

1 comment:

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