I recently read "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. This book is good people. I highly recommend it.
She also has a blog which you can check out here.
The entire book outlined a year in her life in which she embarked on a happiness project. She wasn't necessarily "unhappy" to begin with, but wanted to see what made her happy. She does an amazing job of using scientific research to back up her findings, but not in a stuffy, scientific article kind of way. It is an entertaining read that has had an impact on my life and relationships.
A few things that resonated with me:
1. The marriage chapter: She spent the month of February focusing on "remembering love." She dedicated a week to being "extra nice" to her husband Jamie, without expecting anything in return, or praise for her kindness. This struck a chord with me. I love to be nice to others, but a lot of times, I am expecting a thank you or some kind of praise or reward. Since reading her experiences, I have tried to drop that expectation, and instead just be nice, no strings attached. It's amazing what that can do for your relationship.
2. One of her truths is to Be Gretchen. She talks about doing things that make her happy (i.e. reading a book on the couch for 6 hours) instead of doing what she thinks makes other people happy or what other people think should make her happy (i.e. spending time outdoors). And to stop thinking that the things that make other people happy are "better" or more "valuable" than the things that make her happy. I think we all put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be a certain way, but this has made me think about what I really want, and what really makes Mary happy.
3. Part of her focus in January (boost energy) was to organize and declutter. I have found that has helped me tremendously in my own life. The less "stuff" and "clutter" I have around, the more productive and energetic I feel. Clutter weighs me down. I have already been doing the decluttering in my life, but this book just confirmed to me that it is contributing to my happiness.
There were many other take aways, but I'll let you read the book yourself.
Check it out, and if anyone is interested in joining a "happiness project" group, let me know.
Who wouldn't want to meet once a month to talk about how they are working on being happier? ;)