Books I’ve Been Reading: The Happiness Project

The problem with posting so infrequently is that I feel like I have a million things I want to write about, and then when I sit down to write…I have no idea where to start. So tonight I’m starting with an old favorite: Books I’ve Been Reading.

My first read of the summer was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. If you haven’t heard of this, the full title is: The Happiness Projects, Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun.

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I actually purchased this book about a year and a half ago, started reading it, got one chapter in, and lost interest. But! Do not let that first attempt deter you from reading The Happiness Project. Self-help (well, nonfiction in general) is not usually the first thing I reach for when I read, so I think that’s why it took me a while to get in to this book, but I found it really insightful.

Some takeaways:

1. Act the way you want to feel. The first month of Gretchen’s project was devoted to energy, which is something I desperately need right now. In her research leading up to this project, she found that acting like you have more energy actually ends up giving you more energy. She found this translated overall in her life—if she wanted to be happy, she needed to act that way—not by being fake, but by deciding to be happy first.

2. You do you. Before starting her happiness project, Gretchen developed Twelve Commandments, the first of which was “Be Gretchen.” This really hit home for me (like I talked about here). Throughout the 12 months she worked on happiness, the idea of “being Gretchen” constantly came up—in everything from friendships to helping others to learning how to have fun. She had to remind herself that what made her happy didn’t necessarily make others happy, and vice versa.

3. “It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light.” Gretchen uses this quote from G.K. Chesterton quite a bit, as a reminder that sometimes happiness is work—making yourself happy and making others happy. I think so often we assume that happy people are just naturally that way, but in reality, happiness is hard—it’s much easier to be critical or complain than to choose to bring joy to others.

So anyway, that was my first read of the summer. Right now I’m working on a favorite from college and have some chick lit lined up for a mini vacation with my mama next weekend. And let me know of any other good summer reads out there!

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One thought on “Books I’ve Been Reading: The Happiness Project

  1. Pingback: Tuesday Things | Indiana Hearts

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