After reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, I can safely say we are now experts on the subject! It has inspired me to change several things about my life, maybe in a less grandiose way, but changes nonetheless.
It was a good read and I highly recommend it to anybody who is looking for a happy book that makes them feel good when reading it.
I had a few favorite chapters including: January, February, May, June, well you get the point! I pretty much loved them all! Here’s a little recap of some chapters and general themes.
Chapter 1: Boost energy– Gretchen’s idea of boosting energy is getting more sleep and being organized. Hallelujah to that! Just last weekend I had a meltdown about the fact that I didn’t have time to clean my desk. If I were to apply her one minute rule nothing would’ve been a mess to begin with. I’ve also applied a few more of her easy tidy techniques, and I agree that it does make your life happier to not worry about things like that all day long.
Chapter 2: Remember love- How fitting for the month of February! I really took this chapter to heart as I also feel that I don’t remember Joe in times of my frustration and Instead take it out on him. It leaves him feeling horrible and me feeling guilt ridden. Gretchen reminded me to treat Joe as my partner and to remember how precious he is to me. She also opened my eyes to the fact that he is not a substitute girlfriend that I can chat with about girl stuff. I can’t get angry that he can’t fulfill every relationship need that I have. That is why we have girlfriends and sisters and other relationships.
Chapter 4: Lighten up/Chapter 5: Be serious about play- I liked these chapters because I can sometimes be uptight and need to remember to enjoy my life. Joe is good at reminding me of these things, but Gretchen puts it in a way I can relate to. She validates my feelings and gives great options and suggestions to a dull routine or a bad mood.
In chapter 5 when she talks about collecting bluebirds, she reminded me of a collection of hippo figurines I had as a kid. They made me so happy for no real reason, I was so pleased to even remember that feeling that I put a hippo on my phone screensaver. It makes me smile every time I see it!
Chapter 8: Contemplate the heavens- This chapter reminded me of my RCIA journey and really made me think about Lent. It is always good to be reminded to count your blessings.
Chapter 9: Pursue a Passion- I LOVED to read about this topic. I have recently let myself enjoy more of my hobbies and passions such as reading, crafting, blogging and dreaming about Law School. Until a couple years ago I didn’t allow myself the time to do these things regularly because I felt guilty. It also reminded me that I want to do some more things too, like learn to speak Italian and make a scrapbook.
Overall- One of the best things in the book was her motto to “Be Gretchen”. It makes me want to “Be Amanda” and not who I think I should be. I also loved that she didn’t sugar coat anything, and that gave me hope. She is a real person with real struggles, and that is comforting. Possibly my favorite part of the book was her confession of loving children’s literature…I do too! It was so funny to see her reference Madeline L’Engle when we are reading her next! I also like the idea of making rules for adulthood. Some of mine would be:
- Always bring a sweater and overdressed is better than underdressed
- Never leave home without chapstick
- Find a way to laugh every day
- Compliment a person when you admire something about them
- Don’t be afraid to open up to people, you will probably have something in common
- Do what needs to be done when you should- don’t wait a week and stress about it
- Forgive- yourself and others
- It’s ok to care too much sometimes
- Save your money- no really, save it!
I could probably come up with many more, but those are some I am constantly dealing with.
In case you are interested, here are a few links to some other reviews of The Happiness Project.
Peanut Butter Fingers
After the Ivy League
Books in my Baggage
Losing weight in the city
If I were to ever start my own happiness project I think I would concentrate on keeping up with the laundry, being nice, running regularly, and taking on a big craft project.
Please leave a comment and tell me what you thought about the book! Would you ever attempt a happiness project? If so, what are some things you would work on? If not, why?