Initially when I came across Gretchen Rubin's blog and book, The Happiness Project, I groaned. Really? Another Yalie overachiever mom, now writing about her one-year quest to get happier? Please.
Then I started the read. And it's totally great.
"What a wonderful life I've had. I only wish I'd realized it sooner." -- Colette
Want to start your own Happiness Project? Here's Gretchen's advice:
A “happiness project” is an approach to changing your life. First is the preparation stage, when you identify what brings you joy, satisfaction, and engagement, and also what brings you guilt, anger, boredom, and remorse. Second is the making of resolutions, when you identify the concrete actions that will boost your happiness. Then comes the interesting part: keeping your resolutions.
At the moment, I am in the prep phase. I am especially motivated by Gretchen's ideas such as:
- Be Gretchen, or translated for me as: "Be Sara" -- be authentic, ask yourself when making a key decision or even a minor decision if it's in alignment with your big vision. Another way to know is if the decision is energizing. If not, I'm not being Sara.
- Remember: "Happy wife, happy life" or "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." This is a brilliant concept linked to the idea of the "emotional contagion," that is, that we unconsciously catch emotions from other people, especially in our immediate family. This has been my experience as a wife and mom, but I love the explicit statement about my responsibility for radical self-care and whatever it takes to keep Mama happy in the service of the happiness of others in my family. This is especially pivotal in marriage.
- Pirate Dinner (family meal once/week with no rules, no utensils, so nagging or chiding to use "please" and "thank you")
- Happiness box - collection of little do-dads and trinkets that trigger your happy thoughts and memories. Mine are scattered all over the house, and gathering them in one place galvanizes my joy.
To your happiness! xo Dr. Sara