The Happiness Project

Since the summer started, I’ve been slowly getting back into reading for fun rather than compulsory for studying. One of the first books, I reached for was ‘The Happiness Project’ by Gretchen Rubin. The book sees Gretchen try and better her perceived happiness level with a year long challenge that she conjured up herself, based on her own research. Each month, Gretchen had a new set of resolutions to follow which would supposedly improve her happiness in a variety of ways. Without giving too much away (as I would definitely recommend this book as a wonderful light read for the summertime), I have come up with 3 different ways that this book has inspired me or helped me make my own life that little bit happier…


‘But, Sam, that’s a logical point?! EVERYONE knows that.’ I hear you cry, and yes, you’re very much right. It does seem logical and a lot like total common sense, however Gretchen makes a fine point in her book, with the help of some memorable quotes, that happiness is a lot about attitude. Positivity is contagious, much like negativity. If you present yourself in a joyful manner, it is more likely that the people around you will share your happiness with you. The same goes for negativity, which is much less enjoyable. However, Gretchen speaks sense when she later adds that it is easy to be heavy; hard to be light – executing a happier vibe isn’t quite as easy as a negative vibe. We are all so quick to complain or shout to the people in our life for, let’s say, forgetting to pick up that key ingredient for tonight’s dinner from the shop on the way home, but is it really worth it? What if they’ve had such a stressful and busy day that it just slipped their mind? An aggressive jest will not change the situation, and will probably end up in making them feel much worse about their day, whereas a small (yes, probably also fake) smile will help ease the pain and maybe suggesting a quick little walk to the corner shop together to gather that very important ingredient, would be a more positive way of handling the situation. Little changes could help relieve a lot of drama in your life if you’re the type of person that ruminates about their problems and finds themselves being rather irritable. I know fully well that I have a short fuse, so Gretchen has inspired me to tackle situations in a more positive way, to rid myself and those around me of negative vibes. I’ve noticed that in the times that  I have reacted more positively, the people around me have too. But hey, we’re all human – we all snap sometimes! Haha.


Yep, well I know I’m guilty of an online window shopping session at the end of a long, bad day; and whoever is reading this, you probably are too. Am I right? Score. Well, it’s hard not to in today’s age. Shopping is more accessible than ever now, and is such an easy form of gaining a bit of happiness. However, how many times have you bought those new Topshop shoes only to find that after wearing them for a few weeks that you end up forgetting about them? They’ll sit in your shoe cupboard (or all across my bedroom floor in my case) and gather dust – what happiness are you getting from that? Oh, you’ve bought some Disney edition Vans? Well, that explains it then. Shopping is so quick and easy that we buy more and more (within the bounds of our overdrafts) once the previous purchase starts to lose it’s novelty. But what about that concert you saw last year? How amazing was it to see Foo Fighters perform, especially with Dave Grohl getting his leg put into a cast on stage? (Too soon? Sorry.) You’ll remember that for a lifetime. It’s much better to invest your money in experiences that you’ll remember, than for a glimmer of happiness at the counter. I’m not saying, spend all of your money on experiences, but a good chunk of it is definitely worth it. You’ll thank yourself when your older. As for those Topshop shoes, they’ll probably end up in a charity shop a year or so from now. However, let’s face it, I’m still going to be buying Topshop shoes…

Shopping from Pieces for Places


The previous point brings me to my next point: memories are probably one of the best sources for long-term happiness. So taking inspiration from Gretchen, why not resolve to start taking your compact camera with you everywhere to catch those lovely moments? Or embrace technology and just use your smartphone, may as well use technology for the better. You could take a leaf out of Gretchen’s book and put together printed books full of photographs and give them to friends and family as a nice gift. If you’re not creatively inclined, why not keep a diary and write down the top three moments of your day? Reading back on the passages in the future will enable you to relive these happy moments once more, much like how looking over old photographs does as well.

Jack and Walnut
If you don’t get the chance to read Gretchen Rubin’s ‘The Happiness Project’, I hope these three little points have inspired you as well. A few little changes and maybe we can all get that little bit closer to a world where we all get along, eat cake full of rainbows and smiles and be happy…


Have you had chance to read ‘The Happiness Project’? What did you think?




  1. I think with the shopping it depends what you buy! I spend A LOT of money on books, but I get so much pleasure out of them; not just when they arrive by post, but reading and talking about them too x


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