Monday, 21 June 2010

The Happiness Project

This book looks good, a bit self - helpy for me perhaps, but I am no snob. Gretchen Rubin claims that St. Therese of Liseux is her inspiration, although she attaches herself to no particular religious tradition. She nicks JP XXIII's list of 'Just for today I will....' (known as the daily decalogue of John XXIII), and suggests it is a good way to go. Have you read that? It is on the Vatican website, about halfway down. Actually, I will publish it over on Tumblr as a poetic piece. Look here, if you are interested.

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. The days are long, but the years are short, she realised. Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter. In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project. In this lively and compelling account of that year, Rubin carves out her place alongside the authors of bestselling memoirs such as "Julie and Julia", "The Year of Living Biblically", and "Eat, Pray, Love". With humour and insight, she chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Rubin didn't have the option to uproot herself, nor did she really want to; instead she focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions: give proofs of love, ask for help, find more fun, keep a gratitude notebook, forget about results. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manner of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to Martin Seligman to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her - and what didn't. Her conclusions are sometimes surprising - she finds that money can buy happiness, when spent wisely; that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that 'treating' yourself can make you feel worse; that venting bad feelings doesn't relieve them; and, that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference - and they range from the practical to the profound. Written with charm and wit, "The Happiness Project" is illuminating yet entertaining, thought-provoking yet compulsively readable. Gretchen Rubin's passion for her subject jumps off the page, and reading just a few chapters of this book will inspire you to start your own happiness project.

1 comment:

Irim said...

Venting feelings may not relieve them, but it makes you less likely to inappropriately take them out on someone. Bottling is far worse.

Best to do something about them, e.g., find a way forward with the person in question, after doing a bit of self-reflection and working out what's you and what's the situation.

Would be more tempted if she didn't mention the undeservedly ubiquitous Little Flower.