January 8, 2014

THE HAPPINESS PROJECT: Readalong with Joy's Book Blog: Part 1

cover of The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

I am reading this for a group read hosted by Joy's Book Blog.  Instead of answering questions, I decided to share my thoughts as they occurred to me while I was reading.  I hope you enjoy this format.

“Whenever you read this, and wherever you are, you are in the right place to begin.”

Ever read a book that is so insightful that you feel like you've’ve been reading forever because you keep putting the book down to reflect and to make notes?  Yea, that’s this book.  The only other book I've ever found to make me do this is Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love (clearly I am into the whole self-improvement and self-actualization shtick).  By February’s goals, Rubin had me eating out of the palm of her hand. 

Getting Started
“How happy I used to be then, if only I’d realized it.”  This is me.

“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.”

January “Energy”

New Words: enervating pg. 26, detritus, pg. 26

I doubt that I will be able to create energy just by “faking it until I make it” since that has not worked for me since I got fibromyalgia.  But maybe I can “fake it until I make it” with being satisfied with slow progress so I don't get discouraged.

February “Marriage”
New Words:

It will be easier to be loving and lighthearted once I am less burdened with my mental and physical ailments. 

The better I treat myself, the better I will be able to treat John.  This doesn’t make me selfish.  It is giving.  I am giving to myself so that I can give to someone else.  Funnily enough, I came to this realization even before Rubin said pretty much that word for word. 

It takes a minimum of six seconds of hugging someone to promote the flow of oxytocin and serotonin, mood-boosting chemicals that promote bonding.  Hug John six seconds at once at least once every time you see each other.  I think I do that but now I need to be sure I do. (pg. 45 for info on hugging)

“You have to do work for yourself.  If you do it for other people, you end up wanting them to acknowledge it and be grateful and to give you credit.  If you do it for yourself, you don’t expect other people to react in a particular way.” pg. 46

THIS IS IT EXACTLY “Then I thought of a line from William Butler Yeats.  “Happiness,” wrote Yeats, “is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth.  We are happiest when we are growing.” pg. 66

March Work
New Words:

I wish that my passions and my abilities (thanks to health issues) were in alignment.  I have known that has been a source of disappointment and sadness ever since I had to quit teaching, but seeing it in black & white almost made me cry.

So, as you can see, Rubin's book has already made an impact on me.  I am in a period of great regrowth right now so this has been an apt selection for me.  Thank you, Joy, for this readalong!   I can't wait to read more for next week.


  1. I'm so glad that you're getting something from The Happiness Project, Becca, even with (or because of) your current challenges. Rubin has been criticized for being remarkably blessed with some people feeling that she doesn't have a right to talk about happiness in the US, right now. But, of course, wealth and health and education don't make you happy -- they make you rich, healthy, and educated, which is the same thing as happiness only if you make it so. They can mean the same thing as busy, scared, and stressed. I appreciate how you demonstrate what parts of The Happiness Project resonate for you and which parts don't.

    Joy's Book Blog

    1. Yes, I feel that Rubin shows that everyone could benefit from working to be a better version of yourself!

  2. Sounds like an interesting read.

  3. I enjoyed reading your thoughts as you went along. I've been taking notes, too! This is a re-read of The Happiness Project for me, and I bought my own copy to keep this time, instead of reading it from the library. The first time I read it, I didn't really have in mind to do my own project, but I thought it would be something good to do when I had more time. I still wish I had more time to focus on it now, but I'll just do what I can.

    1. I might eventually purchase a copy. I keep finding myself wanting to highlight important things!


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