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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: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun - Gretchen Rubin Definitely inspiring. Works well with my new interest in photography - growth makes you happy, finding time for projects makes you happy, etc."it was time to expect more of myself. Yet as I thought about happiness, I kept running up against paradoxes. I wanted to change myself but accept myself. I wanted to take my self less seriously -- and also more seriously. I wanted to use my time well, but I wanted to wander, to play, to read at whim. I wanted to think about myself so I could forget myself. I was also on the edge of agitation; I wanted to let go of envy and anxiety about the future, yet keep my energy and ambition. Elizabeth's observation made me wonder about my motivations. Was I searching for spiritual growth and a life more dedicated to transcendent principles -- or was my happiness project just an attempt to extend my driven, perfectionist ways to every aspect of my life?" p.44 stages of happiness: anticipate it, savor it as it unfolds, express happiness, and recall happiness."one things that's both good and bad about living in New York City is the sense that I could be doing so much -- going to the ballet, going to an off-off Broadway play, taking a graphic design class, shopping in Williamsburg, eating in Astori. But I almost never do those things, so the possibilities are exciting, but also a reproach. I've been haunted for years by a public service poster I saw just one time, in the subway. It was a photo of a Chinese food take-out container sitting on top of two videos. The caption read, "If this is how you spend your time, why are you living in New York?" p. 120 "Drawing exercised an unaccustomed part of my brain, but apart from that, just the fact that I was taking a class boosted my mindfulness. Being in a different neighborhood at an unusual time of day heightened my awareness of my surroundings; New York City is so beautiful, so endlessly compelling. The rhythm of the day was very different from my typical schedule. I enjoyed meeting new people. Plus -- the class worked! I drew my hand, I drew a chair, I drew a self-portrait that, although it didn't look much like me, did look like an actual person. The drawing class was a good illustration of one of my Secrets of Adulthood: "Happiness doesn't always make you feel happy." Activities that contribute to long-term happiness don't always make me feel good in the short term; in fact they're sometimes downright unpleasant.From drawing, I turned to music -- another dormant part of my mind. According to research, listening to music is one of the quickest, simplest ways to boost mood and energy and induce a particular mood." p.250"During the year, when people had asked me, "So what's the secret to happiness?", at different times I'd answer "Exercise" or "Sleep" or "Do good, feel good" or "Strengthen your connections to other people". But by the end of December, I realized that the most helpful aspect of my happiness project hadn't been these resolutions. . .. The single most effective step for me had been to keep my Resolutions Chart." .287