Photo: Lauren Rodych-Eberle
Written in the first person, The Happiness Project is a book that portrays the evolution of the author Gretchen Rubin when she decided to change little things in her habits to live a happier life.
What we learn in The Happiness Project is essentially to value what surrounds us and to appreciate it. Sometimes we have everything we want, and yet we are not happy. Why?
Throughout the pages of this book, we follow Gretchen's year of evolution, her achievements, and the complications she encountered along the way. We want to share what we have learned thanks to this reading from the Josefinas' Book Club, so we highlight the 10 tips from Gretchen for a happier life.
#01 We must do what we like
It's good to try new things, but it's even better to stay true to ourselves. Gretchen's advice is quite simple: we must do what makes us feel good, and we must do it because we want to and not because we are told that it is what we should do.
We all have our own individuality and it can be destructive to force ourselves to do something we do not like, simply because others appreciate it. We have to learn how to create our own fun.
#02 We must know how to spend our money
This is not the same as saying we should run out the door, ready to spend everything we have! But the truth is we tend not to enjoy the little things that would make us happy for fear of spending our money.
Yes, it's wrong to have capitalist practices that make us spend everything we earn, but should we really feel guilty for buying something that makes us feel good, that makes us happy? The answer is no. But it's equally important to know how to spend our money smartly!
#03 We must be conscious and meditate
Meditation is a good strategy to make us slow down the pace and calm down. Of course, we're not obliged to turn into monks or gurus: there are other ways to achieve this peace and calm (such as yoga or breathing exercises) that make us more aware and attentive to what surrounds us!
To rest, to know where to go, to progress, to learn to be alone... there are so many advantages in investing in this practice that being happy will seem really, really easy!
#04 We must respect and preserve our body
Habits such as sleeping the right number of hours, exercising, or meditating (as we mentioned above) are just small changes that we can make in our routines and that will lead to a better and renewed physical and mental energy.
By treating our body with respect, understanding its needs, and facing these changes with a positive look - rather than seeing them just as a task! - we'll feel better and learn to achieve happiness.
#05 We must pay attention to the relationships that matter
When choosing a relationship in which we want to focus, we must not forget that we can only change ourselves and not others.
What bothers us in other people will not disappear, instead, what should change is the way we face it. For this to work, the key is that we learn how to deal with the behaviors of others, developing strategies that facilitate our interaction with them. We can only be truly happy with someone when we fully accept them, and ourselves as well.
#06 We must invest in our projects
It is true that we're not all going to be known artists, but after all, why should we not try?
Knowing how to pursue our passions and conquer what uplifts our daily lives is essential. Even if my art is mediocre in the eyes of others, if it makes me feel good to create it, there's no reason to stop, right? It is essential that we know how to set aside time to devote ourselves to our projects and to what gives us real pleasure.
#07 We must be grateful and embrace our spirituality
Even those who don't follow a religion can figure out how to cultivate their spiritual side. To live better, happier, and, essentially, less stressed, we must accept our spirituality and learn to practice gratitude.
A good way to do this, and one that has gained more and more prominence, is through a Gratitude Journal. This way, we learn to value and to thank the small achievements of the day to day.
#08 We must have fun without fear
This topic is important - how often do we not let haste and stress control our most fun moments?
Knowing how to leave the little things behind our back and enjoy the fun things that come up in our days is so good and does so well...! If we're not in a hurry, if we can stop and enjoy, why not do it?
#09 We must learn to keep friends
Friends tend to disappear when we don't make an effort to keep them in our lives. Maintaining a good friendship requires effort, dedication, and attention, but it's worth it.
Simple things like remembering a birthday, not denying favors, and stop shirking plans are healthy habits that make a friendship last. As we said in topic #05, knowing how to deal with people who are important to us may not be easy, but the effort pays off!
#10 We must have goals and stop fearing failure
We must learn to aim for the stars without fear of failing the target. We often let convenience prevent us from progressing, and perhaps this final topic is the right push to start a project of happiness!
Whether it's a work project or a personal investment, there's no harm in aiming for something big, nor is there any shame in failing or making mistakes along the way. Being stuck, clinging to our comfort zone, be afraid to progress, that is what should be embarrassment of.
Now that we know that even small changes can have a big impact on our lives, there are no longer excuses not to be happy!
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