Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
ISBN: 978-006158325
Published January 2010
Trade paperback, 320 pages

I decided to take a year to read my personal copy of The Happiness Project by reading each month and applying what motivated me from it. Right off the bat, I could see that I could relate to the author. As Rubin would expound on her tasks, projects, home life and the reasons behind the Happiness Project, I found myself nodding in agreement or understanding. It was an easy and fun book to read.

In January I was motivated to get more sleep, keep up my exercise routine, declutter and accomplish my tasks. In February, I was encouraged to focus on my relationships. I paid more attention to how I reacted when my hubby said things I disagreed with and how I dealt with it. I worked on being more kind and telling my family how much I appreciated them. In March, the topic was finding happiness with one's career. So I made a schedule and started reading books on the illnesses and conditions I encountered most at work so as to be more knowledgeable and confident in dealing with them.

April, ah spring. This time the focus was on parenthood and lightening up when it came to dealing with the kids. It was such a busy month for me and my family that I focused on them and kind of neglected my spring cleaning. I decided it could wait.

In May, Rubin encouraged the reader to have fun, rediscover a hobby, do things you really like to do for fun as opposed to things you think you have to do for fun because everyone else is doing them. So I decided to create a rock garden and beautify my backyard. I also spent more leisure time back there enjoying the sun and the chirping of the birds. In June, the author focused on friendships. I thoroughly enjoyed this chapter and it made me realize I have great friends! It also gave me more incentive to work at keeping those friendships and building new ones.

In July and August I was in Europe so I didn't have much time for contemplation, although Rubin's suggestion of keeping a gratitude notebook is perfect for me. September was about pursuing a passion and I'm doing that with my book blogging, and increasing my knowledge of neuroscience. October's topic was on mindfulness. Now that chapter I would reread again because I think I could do with being more mindful and less harried. Her suggestion of stimulating the mind in new ways is right up my alley! It's everything I learned about keeping the brain young and active.

November was about attitude, and since this is the hardest month for me (less sun, more cold) I appreciated her advice about laughter. I realized I don't laugh enough! So now I make it a point to watch funny sitcoms with my kids. And finally in December, Rubin gives an overview of what she learned about happiness.

Some have criticized the author of not having enough reason to write such a motivational book since she hadn't survived cancer, for example, or a dysfunctional childhood. But I personally preferred that she was just an ordinary gal looking to be more happy in all aspects of her life, setting off on a personal quest to do so. I think that's great. And I could relate. I really enjoyed reading Rubin's journey, her research on the topic of happiness and applying little ways to bring sunshine into my life. Thanks Rubin! And now that the new year is just around the corner, I will revisit the monthly chapters from time to time and work at applying the things she suggested and that I thought were brilliant.

To find out how you can start your own happiness project, visit

Note: This book is rated C = clean read.

Reviewed by Laura 

Disclosure: I bought this book. I was not told how to rate or review this product.

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