Several people have pointed out to me that, sailing along on the New York Times bestseller list, is a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.
Sadly, given that the name and premise of my blog is so similar, I knew absolutely nothing about it until recently, doh. However, I’ve signed up to Gretchen’s blog and am hugely impressed by the discipline by which she is living by her happiness rules. These are her 12 happiness commandments:
These are different to my Rules – they are more specific, psychological. More about the process by which you live your life. A bit Americano perhaps, but I like and want to use some of them – like not calculating (I washed up so you should do the cooking/its your turn to call me), pinpointing specific causes of stress/sadness, and acting the way I want to feel (if I want to cheer up, forcing myself to smile etc).
This got me thinking – we are all so different that we need to make up our own rules. Mine work for me because I know what makes me happy. I find myself smiling and content after a long dinner with friends; or if I’ve kept up my yoga practice for a while; or worked in the garden and seen results; or done something for other people. I’m hoping that the other stuff – patience, warmth, relaxation, tolerance, mindfulness, all comes as a result of following my Rules. I’m certainly finding I’m more and more content as I continue the project, although I’m nowhere near as disciplined as Gretchen.
Gretchen encourages people to start their own Happiness Projects and so I wanted to spread the word to all you Londoners. It may take you a while (her rules took her 12 months to reflect on) but if you can, start being conscious of what specific things or behaviour patterns make you happy or that you think might make you happier (anything from eating more scotch eggs to calling your best mate once a week to making to-do lists) . Also when you feel unhappy, try to work out what the cause was, and write down ways to combat that feeling again.
I’ll be asking friends and other happy people about what makes them happy and will post their answers here, but in the meantime, I’d love to hear what rules you’ve come up with!