What is the one thing that makes you happy? Every person has their own reason behind their happiness but sometimes, you need to dig a little deeper to identify that change in yourself that has the power to make you happy.
Gretchen Rubin Editor's Note Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project is an account of her year exploring what it means to be happy and test driving many of the various theories and techniques out there designed to make you happier.
Rubin's background as a former editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal and Supreme Court clerk for Sandra Day O'Connor should reassure you that she has the critical chops to absorb, synthesize, and simplify research in a way that one doesn't see too often in self-help books.
She manages to be warm, frank, and incisive -- not an easy combination. The book that grew out of her efforts and the blog she started to track her progress are both full of good advice, not the least of which is to be yourself — you need to find what makes you happy and that is not necessarily going to be something that has made someone else happy.
The most valuable aspect of her project is perhaps the method she developed to form and track the resolutions she made: In addition to the book there's her blog, weekly videos on youtube and The Happiness Project Toolbox.
I spoke with Gretchen briefly about happiness and health. An excerpt from her book follows that interview. Your book, The Happiness Projectoffers wide-ranging view of what happiness is, presenting quotations by many people in many different disciplines.
Eventually you come up with your own working definition, though you begin with a simple, "I'll know it when I see it," idea. What's your current view of happiness? Has it developed further as a result of your project? Do you think people tend to have a view of happiness that's too simple or too shallow?
We all know when we are happy and when we aren't. And we each will have our own definition of happiness. It's more useful to focus on what makes you feel happier. You began your happiness project with resolutions related to health — you focused on energy — getting enough sleep and exercise.
What kind of difference did being rested and more physically fit make? Sleep was a big issue for me. Being rested makes such a difference. You feel you can take on the more challenging things that will boost your happiness, like planning a dinner party for friends or beginning a project.
If you are tired, those sorts of things, or pretty much anything, just seem like more stress, more trouble. What's the relationship between health and happiness?
Health is like money, when you have it, you tend not to think about it very much; you take it for granted.
When you don't have it, it can affect your happiness greatly. The physical experience of our body will always shape our experiences. Happiness can seem like a transcendent, abstract idea, but a great place to start is with your own body: One of the things that distinguishes your book from many self-help books out there is its willingness to present the paradoxical side of happiness — that it doesn't always make us happy.
Many of the big things that bring happiness can also bring frustration, disappointment. What are some of the smaller or easier things you did that had an impact on your happiness? Kiss more, hug more, touch more. It's so simple and it definitely adds to happiness. I'm talking about appropriate touching, of course!
Jumping up and down is a one of my newer methods that's not in the book. Whatever you are feeling, after you've jumped up and down a few times, you are going to feel different.Self-improvement platform The Happiness Project  began as the bestselling (and studiously researched ) book of the same name by Gretchen Rubin, which aimed to “synthesize the wisdom of the ages with current scientific research” about what makes happiness.
The book quickly ballooned into a blog, interactive “toolbox,” monthly. The Self Improvement Blog - Self Improvement and Personal Development for People Willing to Become Better. In the beginning, she shares the story of how the idea of a “Happiness Project” came to be; she was riding on the bus home from work, and she saw a woman across the street holding and walking with a stroller in one hand, her cellphone in the other, and her clutch wedged in the crook of her arm.
One of the things on which we collaborate is supporting and nurturing the close to 40 groups (around the world!) which have sprung up based on the information she’s shared in her Happiness Project Toolbox.
On a companion website, The Happiness Project Toolbox, Rubin created a toolkit that gives readers an opportunity to share and track their own happiness venture. As Real Simple editor, Van Ogrop will offer women suggestions on how to juggle family and a career.
THE HAPPINESS PROJECT is the memoir of the year I spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier – happily, it was a #1 New York Times regardbouddhiste.com one of the hundreds of experiments I've conducted, I started this blog.
Here, I recount my daily adventures in pursuit of happiness.