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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: The Happiness Project

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Happiness Project

Happiness.

It's something I've been thinking about a lot lately.

I haven't been happy, you see.  Sure, there are moments of happiness, but moments are short-lived, aren't they? I have a tendency to forget those moments in the harsh light of everyday life.

And it's not as if I can pinpoint any specifically unhappy time of my life.  As I told my husband the other night after much pondering, I don't consider myself to be a terribly happy person in general.  I tend to bend slightly in the direction of depression.  It's just always been easier for me to look at the negative than to look at the positive.  I'm an Eeyore, in other words.  And of course, as is true of so many people, once a certain positive achievement has been reached, a new negative rears its ugly head.  In other words, it's always something.

I admire and envy people who lead happy and fulfilled lives.  Lives full of...life.  I've just never been one of those people.  I talk myself out of it.  I am my own worst enemy when it comes to admitting that my dreams are worthwhile and that it would be worthwhile to strive for their realization.  And I know it's up to me to be fulfilled - sadly, no one can do it for me.  Darn it.  And even if they can do something for me, it's up to me to let them know that they can. 


As a result of these and other such related ponderings, I've been reading a book called The Happiness Project.  I was first turned on to this book when I read an article by the book's author in a magazine some time ago.  So when I crossed paths with the title of the book on Amazon last week I decided to download it to my iPhone, and I've been reading it whenever I get a chance.  It's a lot of information to download (in my brain, not my phone) all at once, and a lot of stuff to mull over, so I've been taking my time with it and letting it sink in and trying to find ways to apply the concepts in my own life.

I've been thinking about starting my own Happiness Project.  I think it will be fun to identify that which brings me closer to happiness and to actively seek out ways to be happier.  So I'm currently working on resolutions and commandments over at The Happiness Project Toolbox and am gaining inspiration from others there.  It's interesting to see what happiness means to others, and the small steps they're taking to get there.

I'll tell you right off the bat - just thinking good thoughts and smiling for no reason boosts the mood.  It's kinda uncanny.  You smile and it makes you feel happier.  I practiced this on the train today and even though I immediately wanted to murder the woman who slid into my seat when I got up to let someone else off the train (seriously, how rude can you be???), I smiled (albeit very tightly...in retrospect, it may have been a scary looking smile) and let it go.  Then I started thinking about my friend's bachelorette party this coming weekend and how happy I'd be to see her for the first time in years...and the anger dissolved.

So, in light of that experience, I think there's something to be said for a happiness project because, let's face it, I can use all the help I can get.

What do you think? Do you believe you could benefit from such a project? In what area of your life would you like to improve your happiness level?

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5 Comments:

Blogger Real Life Reslers said...

I definitely think I could use some happiness! I may have to try some positive thinking today!

June 29, 2010 at 9:58 AM

 
Blogger Gigi said...

I tend toward the negative too. It was inherited, and I really struggle shaking it. I have kept The Happiness Project blog in my reader and I do read some of the articles from time to time. I think it would be a great idea to see how many people you can get to join you from your followers!

June 29, 2010 at 10:44 AM

 
Blogger The Quintessential Magpie said...

Jen, for me, I think that St. Paul said it best when he encouraged the church to strive to be content. That's maybe a small step down from the giddy feeling of happiness, but it is a great place to live! It involves a lot of smiling, too, because you are content and feel good in your own shoes and want others to feel good in theirs.

I think you're right about smiling and the changing of thought patterns. It takes something like 21 days to change a habit, and if you put something positive before your eyes each day, it surely does help. I think all of us go through periods of feeling down, particularly when there is trouble afoot. But at the moments when I feel the worst, if I turn my focus fully on God, I'm happiest. That's the real secret of life. He fills the empty spots that nothing or no one can fill. I'm old and can say these sorts of things from experience, but it's true!

XO,

Sheila :-)

June 29, 2010 at 11:22 AM

 
Blogger Kristin said...

I can totally relate, and I have heard of this project before. I'm interested, but it's again one of those things that I'm just not sure I can follow through with, so I don't even start. I will if you will!! LOL

June 29, 2010 at 9:45 PM

 
Blogger MrsJenB said...

Kristin, yes! I'm still working on my commandments and resultions since I'm trying to be as specific as possible - maybe that way I'll be more likely to follow through myself!

July 1, 2010 at 9:12 AM

 

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