Welcome to the February edition of "Booking It in 2011" hosted by Life as Mom. This year as part of my own personal growth, I wanted to increase the amount and variety of books I read. For simplicity sake and also to step out of my own comfort zone, I am following Jessica's reading guide rather than choosing my own. Follow along with me, here is the reading list for the rest of the year.
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
Do you ever struggle with feeling happy? I know that I do. By nature, I am more of a melancholy person. I know I am attracted to happiness though, just look at my choice of a spouse. The first thing that attracted me to my husband was his sense of humor and relaxed manner. He is definitely a glass half full kind of guy. My choice of best friend also tells me I am attracted to the sunny side of life. Stephanie, who I befriended over 30 years ago, is the eternal optimist. It makes me smile just to think about her, and even though we live over 3,000 miles away from each other, we are a major part of each other lives.
Shortly, after I started reading the book, I heard Gretchen Rubin being interviewing on NPR. She spoke of happiness and how about 50% of your happiness is generically based. That is by nature, you are sanguine or melancholy personality type, for example my husband and me. She went on to say an additional 10-20% depends on your life circumstances, income,and lifestyle. That left a whooping 40% of happiness is a choice, based on your attitude and what you do it your life. It was then as I sat in traffic listening that I knew I made the right choice to read the book.
The Happiness Project is a memoir of sorts for Rubin. She selected twelve areas of her life she would like to focus on, and divided them into monthly projects. They are:
January: Boost Energy: Vitality (sleep, exercise, and organize)
February: Remember Love: Marriage (quit nagging, fight right)
March: Aim Love: Work (launch a blog, fun of failure, ask for help...)
April: Lighten Up: Parenthood (singing in the morning, be kind)
May: Be Serious About Play: Leisure (Find more fun, take time to be silly)
June: Make Time for Friends (remember birthdays, be generous, show up)
July: Buy Some Happiness: Money (everyday indulgences)
August: Contemplate the Heavens: Eternity (imitate a spiritual master)
September: Pursue a Pasiion (books, recognize my passion)
October: Pay Attention: Mindfulness (limit multi-tasking, stay in the moment, mediation)
November: Keep a Conteneted Heart: Attitude (laugh more, be positive, be polite)
December: Boot Camp Perfect (trying it all at once)
For me, here were some of the take aways:
- Get enough sleep and exercise
- Control clutter
- Use the Virtues Chart, complete an examination of conscience at day-end
- Do not expect praise or recognition
- Don't be afraid to try something new or ask for help
- Be kind, be polite, be generous
- Laugh with my children, live in the moment
- Stop comparing myself to others
- Make time for a passion
- Imitate a spiritual master
- Be grateful
I enjoyed reading this book. It was interesting to me, that Gretchen choose Saint Therese of Lisieux, the "Little Flower" as her spiritual master. So guess whose book I am reading now? Join me next Thursday, when I review The Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux.
The Happiness Project will be available in paperback on March 1st.