Austin

happiness project

happy

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I keep surprising myself whenever I acknowledge how happy I’ve been lately. People used to ask me how I am, to which I would default to the response: “I’m good” without much thought. Now, I am consistently and genuinely responding, “I’m happy.” And it surprises me!

To what do I attribute my happiness? Multiple factors have actually clicked into place over the last few months, causing my universe to align: the right job, a blossoming relationship, a positive outlook, and great health.

During this time, I’ve also been studying happiness a lot, and that may also have an impact. I was thinking about why I am even studying or working on my happiness at this time. The truth is, when you’re in a difficult place, it’s hard to think about happiness; you tend to just focus on getting back to equilibrium, normalcy. It was only when I started feeling balanced again that I was able to start thinking about growth; I was feeling good, and I wanted to feel better. This recent quote I read really stuck with me: “Best is good. Better is best.”

I’m currently reading The Happiness Project, and it’s one of those books that is life-changing for me (along with Leaving Microsoft, Siddhartha, The 5 Love Languages, and Eat, Pray, Love). I’m halfway through the book and also following along the blog, but there are 3 themes so far that have stood out to me:

  1. Fake it til you make it – If you want to feel happy, act happy; it’s the power of positive thinking, and it works! I also found the Second Splendid Truth from the book to be extremely profound: “One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy; One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.”
  2. After hours – Become present to how you spend your free time after work or on the weekends. This indicates what you’re truly passionate about and may bubble up something you want to pursue on a bigger scale, and vice versa, maybe you’ll realize all the things you want to stop doing. I sat down and wrote a list of all the ways I spend my time, and over the last year, blogging, taking notes, thinking, and reading have started to filter to the top. It gave me the idea to one day publish a book and is inspiring me to always write down what inspires me or gets me to stop and think. I’ve started carrying a notepad everywhere I go!
  3. Be overly nice to those you love – This is a big one I am focused on in regards to Andy especially. There are so many times when those who are closest to us feel the wrath of a bad day, frustration, and stress all because we trust them to see us at our worst. Well they don’t deserve it! I am actively focused on a few simple thoughts daily when I interact with him: let things go, it’s really not a big deal; do nice things; don’t expect anything in return for good deeds – it’s an offering, not a trade.

So using this book and its principles, I’m setting up a small happiness project for myself, starting with identifying my personal commandments. Stay tuned to see how this unfolds. I’m excited!

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