A REVIEW: THE HAPPINESS PROJECT

IMG_0373I have already openly admitted that I adore “self – help” books. There is something very therapuetic to me about being continously conscience about what makes me happier or how to be a happier person. Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun has been popular for several years now. I actually purchased it about a year ago and started reading it on my plane ride from California to Chicago for the big move. For one reason or another, I put it down. Fast forward months later and I finally picked it up again and breezed through it.

Rubin realizes one day while riding a bus that she isn’t focusing on what is important. “The days are long but the years are short.” And so she spends an entire year devoted to a project towards making her life happier. The book is separated into twelve sections as she focuses on specific goals for each month. Her writing is fun and at times I found myself laughing along with her journey. Being that she is a married woman with two children, some of her struggles and theories don’t directly apply to me, and yet I still found reading about them interesting and worth trying to remember for my future.

I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars. Rubin is a great writer. Her stories are personal and often times humorous. Her advice is great. The only critiscm I have, the only reason I wouldn’t give her a solid 5 out of 5 stars is a slight relatability that is missing. Not only do I not have children or a husband, but in some instances it is clear that Rubin had money to spend on this project. Only a small handful of times I found myself rolling my eyes at her advice – buying 10 new white t-shirts because that is what she likes to wear, buying expensive pretty organizational aids to declutter, ect.

At the end of the book I found myself incredibly inspired and wanting to partake in my own happiness project of sorts. I have become even more aware of my happiness and my overall well being. This book make me reevaluate what I think is important. This book made me want to try harder to be a happier person. And this book made me realize that wanting to be happy isn’t always selfish. And really, what more can you ask from one little book?

Have you read Gretchen Rubin’s book? What did you think?

if you’re lucky enough to be inspired by a great book, you’re lucky enough

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A FRIDAY THOUGHT: SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE

“Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through.”-Karl Marx

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I have come to appreciate this theory more and more. I think it is important to my mental health that I spend as much time as possible with positive people. Negative people rip at my soul and bring me down. I would like to become stronger as a person and to not let others truly alter my spirits – but it can be hard. And I think what I can do is minimize the number of people I am in constant contact with that are negative and maximize the positive friendships I have.

Have you heard that you are most like the 5 people you spend your time with? Is this a good thing? Or a bad thing? Who do you spend your time with?

if you’re lucky enough to have a friend who is a positive influence, you’re lucky enough

SELF HELP WANTED

The Bean Chicago

(A photograph of my most recent trip to the Bean at Cloud Gate. See my other photographs of this beauty here.)

When people ask me how I am enjoying living in Chicago, my immediate answer is: “I love it! Chicago is such a great city.” And after they inevitably ask me the typical winter weather questions I always end up coming back to the same conversation – something about Chicago just inspires me. Something about Chicago makes me want to become a better writer. Something about Chicago makes me want to take hundreds of photographs. Something about Chicago makes me want to be happier.

I have a fascination with understanding how I feel, what I like, what I don’t like, and what I want. And  I just recently realized through talking with friends and coworkers how much I love “self- help” books. I just recently realized how silly some people think the idea of reading about self exploration is. I just recently realized how much I don’t care what those people think.

I’m currently reading the popular book The Happiness Project and learning so much. I’m learning that I’m really good at some things such as always laughing and being able to see the bright side of things. But I’m also learning things that I can work on like not being afraid of failure and appreciating how challenge is beneficial. These past few months in Chicago have been a huge growing experience for me. I’m in a new city, meeting new people and I believe truly growing up. And I’m finding out how much fun it is.

How about you? Do you feel embarrassed to pick up a book from the “Self Help” section of the library or bookstore? Do you enjoy learning more about happiness?

if you’re lucky enough to enjoy learning more about yourself, you’re lucky enough