Monday, January 21, 2013

My Happiness Project

I believe that happiness is not what happens to you - it's who you are! Last year I read The Happiness Project. I loved it, so I began to follow her blog and subscribed to Gretchen's Happiness Thoughts of the Day, like this one:

One of the things I like most about her take on exploring happiness is how she came up with her own set of 12 personal commandments.. I recently decided to write my own list. Here's why. Sometimes I need a little nudge to help remind myself to have the mindset of living and acting in a way that brings happiness to myself and others. I want to model being a happy person for my children. I think that I usually am positive and upbeat but I do, at times, struggle with feelings of depression and/or negative thoughts. Again, I firmly believe that happiness is not what happens to you - it's who you are! I love lists! I need reminders! So, onward with my own personal commandments.

On her blog, Gretchen offers up a longer list of examples - shared by her readers. Here it is:

Forget the past.
Do stuff.
Talk to strangers.
Stay in touch.
Make haste to be kind.
Don’t wait.
Action, not reaction.
Always with love.
Baby steps.
Recognize my patterns.
Be present.
Don’t rehearse unhappiness. [This is one that I really need to think about!]
Live your values.
The more the merrier.
Love is all around.
Notice the color purple.
Friends are more important than sex.
Choose not to take things personally.
Be loving and love will find you.
Encourage others.
Enjoy simplicity.
Rejoice in beauty.
Deeds not words.
Slow down.
Please yourself.
Nothing lasts.
Music helps.
Only a bore is bored.
Do something different.
Consider the source.
Be the fun.
Cut your losses.

One of my favorites is "Do what ought to be done". This, to me, means doing what isn't my first choice of things to do, but needs to be done. Oh the feeling of happiness this brings! (Getting rid of clutter, exercising).

In the coming weeks I'll post my 12 commandments here in my sidebar. If you feel inclined to do the same I'd love to hear about it!

I can tell you right now of one big source of happiness for me - if you didn't already know!

Here's another book on happiness that I've just started but already have found interesting:

The Law of Happiness. Dr. Cloud mentions the following:

Happy people set limits on what they will and will not allow in their lives

When you change yourself, the world around you usually changes as well

When you forgive others, you are the biggest beneficiary

Happiness is a by-product of living life as God designed it to be lived.

I'm five chapters in and have read about "givers", "not being lazy about happiness" (that's where my commandments come in), "not waiting for someday" and "pursuing goals" (I'm working on becoming a runner).

What would your own personal commandments be? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


A photo of my Mom and my sons taken over the holidays: a family night of laughter and togetherness=happiness.


  1. Great post! I'll have to do some thinking on what my commandments would be...

    1. Yes I know what you mean. I think once you decide to do them, it takes a little time to get them uniquely right for you.

  2. I cannot imagine you being anything but happy xxx

  3. That is the ultimate compliment, Hadley. Thank-you. But I do have my moments... :-(

  4. Some good food for thought! Way to be intentional about taking a look at things... I love what you wrote: "happiness is not what happens to you - it's who you are!" I heard Dr. Cloud speak at a conference about a year and half ago - very inspiring and gives you lots to think about. I'll have to check out the book your reading!

  5. I read The Happiness Project last winter on vacation and should pull it out again as I really enjoyed it. I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

  6. All good thoughts and lots of good reminders too. My pups are a huge source of happiness for me too! And I'm looking forward to hearing what you decide your happiness comandments will be. Happiness is work, but it's work worth the effort!