Tryn's Reviews > 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

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
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Jul 25, 11

bookshelves: inspiration, parenting, self-improvement, writing, marriage
Read in June, 2011

This book, a gift from a dear friend, inspires me to think about what will make me happier and challenges some of the notions I’ve had about my own happiness. For example, the author reports that happiness studies show that everyone, whether introvert or extrovert, is happier after spending time with other people. I’ve always felt that I needed more solitude to find happiness, but this book asserts the opposite. She also says that getting anger and annoyance off your chest by expressing them actually makes them more intense rather than dissipating them. She says that people think they like variety more than they actually do. When confronted by a lot of choices, they will walk away rather than take the time to make a reasoned choice. She reports on research that shows the best indicator for how lonely a person is, whether man or woman, is how much time the person spend with women. Spending time with men does not alleviate loneliness.

Rubin’s very first resolution, “Go to sleep earlier” is one I’ve been trying to work on and need to work on some more. Teenagers in the house put a real kink in this resolution, but I know that it is so important to get adequate sleep and something I need to make a higher priority. Rubin’s greatest insight into going to bed earlier was very simple: Turn out the light. Her second strategy was to get ready for bed early—she found that she sometimes stayed up too late because she was too tired to get ready for bed.

Samuel Johnson wrote, “It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery, and as much happiness as possible.” This book is a study of the little things.
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