[Review] The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin – english

The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun“

“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 realized. „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.”

Rubin is not suffering from depression or a tragedy, but she noticed a lack of happiness in her life, kind of like wasting her time. One thing at the beginning, this is NOT a book about how to change your life entirely, like go and build a house in the woods or go exploring the world. It’s about how to change your life without changing it – sounds weird, but it worked for her. she wanted to enjoy and appreciate the wonderful things already in her life after realizing she may be taking them for granted. So this book is more about changing your thinking and behavior. And I think all of us could use some of her tips to a greater or lesser extent.

Rubin did A LOT of research for her one year happiness project to figure out, what she could change without changing everything. She split up her plan into twelve little projects, each one for each month in the year.

January – Boost Energy: Vitality

  February – Remember Love: Marriage
March – Aim Higher: Work
April – Lighten Up: Parenthood
 May – Be Serious About Play: Leisure
 June – Make Time for Friends: Friendship
July – Buy Some Happiness: Money
August – Contemplate the Heavens: Eternity
 September – Pursue a Passion: Books
October – Pay Attention: Mindfulness
November – Keep a Contented Heart: Attitude
December – Boot Camp Perfect: Happiness

Also she  established her list of 12 commandments to guide her journey and decision making. The list includes phrases like “Be Gretchen”, “Do it now”, “lighten up” or “act the way I want to feel”.
I was SO happy, when I realized, this book was not going to turn out as a religious or super spiritual book.

She shared her way to a happier Gretchen in a really personal style – she shared her successes but also her faults, weaknesses and failures. You get the feeling of knowing her, a REAL person and not a perfect, fictional one and because of that you can identify with her even better. It’s nice to know, that even if you have read everything about happiness and made up a plan and lists and everything to be happier it won’t work for every single day and from the beginning on. You can’t change your way of thinking in one day. 

“It’s easy to be heavy, hard to be light”

Even though I’ve always been the “glass half full” kind of person and an optimist, I also have the days on which I’m super unhappy for no reason or have the feeling of wasting lifetime. And I think most of the people aren’t 100% happy and could use some of Rubin’s tips and her inspiring story to overthink their way of living. Her commandments like “do good, feel good” aren’t new ideas, but her purpose is to remind us of ways we can be more aware and appreciative in our everyday life.
Choosing happiness I better for your health, your family and friends and for yourself.

The Happiness Project | by Gretchen Rubin | 25.10.2011 | Harper| Softcover | 368 pages | 5,51€ (Amazon)

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