I mentioned a few weeks ago that I have been reading through Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project in an effort to explore all of the different dimensions of what make all of us (we are all different) truly happy in Life. The rhetoric of her experience was certainly an enjoyable read and definitely applicable in many areas of my life – and most likely yours too. She resolved on a different happiness theme each month for a year, focusing on certain behaviors related to that theme to change her life, without changing her life. Fascinating.
I made note of some of the items that she chose to target in her project that I felt touched me in some way or another. Perhaps I learned something new. I’m always up for learning new and fantastical ideas and bits of information. (Did you know that a group of geese is referred to as a “gaggle,” a group of gorillas a “whoop” and a cluster of peacocks a “bouquet?” – Yes, this is how I spend my free time…).
My favorite moments from her book include:
1. Act more energetic. Although we presume that we act because of the way we feel, in fact often feel because of the way we act.
I touched on this before – Mom and Dad were right. Sometimes you just have to “fake it until you make it,” as much as I hate to admit that.
2. Hugs. Six seconds is the minimum time necessary to promote the flow of oxytocin and serotonin, mood boosting chemicals to support bonding.
I LOVE hugs. I’m a hugger. Some people really know how to hug, and others don’t. The quick side hug, the not-really-there or engaged hug, the awkward I-don’t-really-know-you hug. None of those do it for me. There are certain people in my life that know how to hug – and they don’t let go. I really appreciate those folks. I’m thinking of three right now. BEST HUGS EVER.
3. Give something up.
This is really, really hard for me. I like my stuff. This stuff is not necessary material, but it’s mine. I have habits, routines, and also items that I like and that make me feel comfortable. I believe, though, that giving up just one of these things periodically, as I’m bound to accumulate more stuff over time, will free me, in a way, and contribute to my happiness. The simple life.
4. Forget about results.
Just BE. After all, we are human beings, not human doings.
5. Meditate on the positive.
Meditation need not be formal. In fact, one example I read was of a woman who, while at work each day, was obligated to type in her computer password over and over again for continued access to her workplace network. She choose to change her password to a positive mantra in her life – forcing herself to continually think about and focus on that positive. What a phenomenal idea. I know what I need to focus my attention on – I see it and hear it, but I need that more often in my Life.
We all crave for more happiness, I’m sure. There’s no way around it.
What will make you more happy, do you think?
For me – these things – and AT LEAST a six second hug.