Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Happiness Project

Quick update and then I'll get to the real point of this post: No pain medications today only my Naproxen, rough a.m., but then walked 1.3 miles at highest speed of 3.8 mph for 23 minutes and traveled in car for  hours to get home for family weekend.  So I think pretty good day. 

O.k. onto my most recent read...
I started reading this book last Wednesday before the accident occurred, which I find quite ironic based on the premise of this book.  It was a book I had been wanting to read because I have thought much, since becoming a mother, about how I could be a happier person and hence happier mom.  As usual I will give you quotes from Gretchen Rubin's book that really affected me.  I finished the book today and am thinking of putting the book into action, I know just what I need another "to do" on  my "to do" list, but if anything that last Wed night taught me is really we never know when our life could drastically change, or-sorry to be morbid- end so why not start doing things NOW. Gretchen Rubin, author, took a year and had resolutions each month with a theme (i.e. January: Boost Energy- go to sleep earlier, exercise better, toss restore, organize, tackle a nagging task, act more energetic) in hopes to be a happier person at year's end.  She is a real person who doesn't perfect happiness and admits to not meeting the mark with all her resolutions, but what I liked about her was her honesty and the way at which she was trying.  Here goes with some of my favorite parts of the book...Her words are in italics and my responses in normal font.

I was uneasy about the fact that I wasn't living up to my own standard of behavior.  I lost my temper, I didn't make enough time for fun, I knew I didn't appreciate enough this fleeting time in my children's lives.  I had 2 healthy affectionate little girls, and I wanted my actions as a parent to rise to the level of that good fortune.
These sentences really struck a cord with me, because I feel this in regard to my two children, but yet I catch myself all the time falling into the trap of temper/frustration/quick to react mommy- what I call WT responses to my kids. 
I wanted to stop my quick bursts of temper.  I indulged in that behavior all too often and then, because it made me feel bad, I behaved even worse.
Seriously, I'm amazed at how writers can get totally how I'm feeling yet write it down so succinctly and say exactly what I'm feeling or have felt.  Guess why they are writers.

One of my favorite quotes from the book...

The days are long, but the years are short.

She had what she called her Twelve Commandments and her first was Be Gretchen .  She went onto to talk about but I don't like having to try to make myself like things.  I want to spend more time on things that I already like.  This is something I sometimes struggle with.  I.E.  My father in-law knew I loved getting the New York Times on Sundays and so this last year bought me a subscription.  I had this grand idea that I would become more intellectual and knowing when it came to politics, world issues, etc.  However, my true enjoyment with the Sunday NY Times are the following and normally read in this order: Book Review, Arts and Leisure, Travel and ( oh I can't think of it).  So I'm going to Be Natalie and embrace that I get utter enjoyment out of these sections and if I happen to read the front cover or some sports that is above and beyond, but reading the Book Review, Arts and Leisure, Travel and the other one are musts and make me happy so be honest and just do it and not worry that I still have no idea what is going on in Egypt, for example.  

It's easy to make the mistake of thinking that if you have something you love or there's something you want, you'll be happier with more.

Page 236- entire paragraph...
I have several tendencies that run counter to mindfulness.  I constantly multitask in ways that pull me away from my present experience.  I often run on automatic pilot- arriving home with no recollection of having gone from point A to point B. (This sometime terrifies me when I'm driving; I have no recollection of watching the road.)  I tend to dwell on anxieties or hopes for the future instead of staying fully aware in the present moment... When I'm introduced to someone in a social situation, I often forget the person's name as soon  as i hear it. I finish eating before I've even registered the taste of my food.
Totally me- so again wake up call that I need to examine and enjoy the present and stop thinking about future.

This next few lines I believe will be the reason this idea of a happiness project works...
I'd realized that one of the most important lessons of happiness project is that if I keep my resolutions and do the things that make me happier, I end up feeling happier and acting more virtuously. Do good, feel good: feel good, do good.

And then I leave you with this thought/statement...
One of the best ways to make myself happy is to make other people happy.  One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy myself.

For more info here is some info on her site and continued project: (all the tools to start your own happiness project).

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