Saturday, September 17, 2011

My Happiness Project

Recently I started reading 'The Happiness Project' by Gretchen Rubin. It’s an interesting book about her year of trying to improve 12 aspects of her life one for each month, and in the process trying to become a happier person. Some of the areas she focuses on include energy, marriage, kids, work, relationships with friends and her spiritual side. 

You might wonder why someone like me, who seems to be having a great life, read books on Happiness (you may also remember a previous post on Happiness which I wrote). I believe that we're all learning creatures, constantly trying to improve ourselves and our circumstances, and in the process find happiness. For me happiness is a state of mind, where you are content and satisfied with all around you. Of course it's easier for me who has nothing much to complain about compared to someone who has a serious illness such as cancer or lost a family member or is does not know from where his next meal will come... but still I often find myself being grumpy or finding faults with the world around me. 

As a child I was very shy and reserved and did not smile much with people, once long ago I remember an old lady at some party saying that she thought I had a nice smile but looked unfriendly as I rarely smiled... Afterwards I thought about it and tried to be friendlier and smile... That was the beginning of my turning into 'smiley', the pseudonym I gave myself when I first started this blog. In the description of the blog I say that ‘I try to see the bright side of life’, but somewhere along the way I got overshadowed by the clouds and forgot to see the silver lining.

Reading this book reminded me to go back to the old chirpy me... To cut people more slack, not to think the worst of people's intentions. To do things without complaining or grumbling, after all the complaints and negativity not only affect oneself, but it also affects those around you. Unfortunately it’s often the nearest and the dearest who have to suffer through your complaints and whining. Not only is it better for the people around you when you are happy, but it also helps you to feel better. Many times smiling in spite of feeling bad, has made me feel better. So why do we complain so much? Because you tend to get more attention when you complain. No one gets attention for being the ‘happy person’; people don’t care too much about the feelings of the ‘happy person’, not like the ‘grumpy person’ whom everyone is much more sensitive to as you don't want to set that person off! I guess that's why most of us in spite of knowing that having a positive attitude is beneficial to all, still continue being our negative selves. I have been trying to reduce negativity and wrote about it on my previous post 'Stopping the spread of negativity'. 

I think lately my blog has turned into my happiness project, though unintentionally... when i write down things I want to improve in my life it is in black and white, and I've written it for the world to see (even if it's only a few close friends who generally read it!). So I feel that I need to commit more to it, and when I look at the blog, the titles remind me of my resolutions. After all if I want any changes in the world, that change has to start with me… I'm going to try to make my 'happy' resolution work especially in the next few months against the stresses of getting ready and leaving Switzerland, all the admin stuff as well as packing and cleaning and sorting out... 

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