The Happiness Project

Have any of you guys heard of the book The Happiness Project?


I started reading it a couple weeks ago and have been loving it so far, which is surprising since I’m not really into self help books or anything too indulgently introspective (I was NOT a fan of Eat, Pray, Love). But this book isn’t really like that — it’s more about how to just find joy and fun in the little things in life, and to stop focusing on those things that don’t bring joy.

I think I picked up the book because I’ve been feeling a bit Debbie Downer lately for no real good reason. If you know me in real life (or have read the blog for more than 30 seconds), you know that I’m generally pretty upbeat, happy, and easy going. But for some reason the past couple weeks I’ve just had this general kind of “blah” feeling that I can’t shake. Maybe it’s the weather (the past 2 weeks have basically been straight thunderstorms), or how busy we’ve been with school, or how I feel like I’m tired of studying and ready to get out there and actually DO something. But either way, it’s silly. I know my life is awesome. I know I’m very lucky to be in a graduate program, working towards a job doing something that I love. To have a blog that others find joy in. To have a wonderful boyfriend, friends, and family who love me. To have my health and the ability to be active.

So I think that’s why I picked up the book. It’s not a book for someone that’s seriously depressed. It’s just a book for people who are getting a little too caught up in life and not taking time to really savor and enjoy what’s around them. I’ve also been enjoying her blog, which I found on the back cover of the book: The Happiness Project blog.



What’s something that has brought you joy lately? It can be anything, big or small. One of the main themes in the book is that sometimes the smallest things will make a big difference, and that taking time to make others happier will often boomerang and make you happier, too. Similarly, spending time dwelling on the negatives in someone else will boomerang back on yourself as well.

Another thing I’ve learned from the book? Stop putting off things that have been on my “to-do” list forever. It will stress you out more to have them sitting on your to do list! This weekend, I will sell my old hybrid/mountain bike that I never use anymore since we bought our road bikes last fall. There. I said it. Now I have to do it. ;)

I feel happier already — sometimes I think you just need to get these things off your chest. Plus, I have a fun weekend ahead that’s supposed to be made even better by gorgeous weather. Maybe all I needed was a little sunshine. :) Have a happy Friday!


  1. 1
    Jen Robinson says:

    Stop and smell the roses type of thing? :) Happy Friday and enjoy the sunshine. Good luck selling your bike!!

  2. 3

    I read that book a couple months ago! I agree with your assessment about it being less a self help book and more a stop and appreciate the small things book. Definitely food for thought. I especially liked her attempts to stop nagging and criticizing :) It’s a book I actually might reread sometime!

  3. 5

    You have seemed crazy bogged down in school lately and I know working that hard (especially on something as unenjoyable as biochem) would have me feeling blue.
    Right now I’m feeling pretty freaking joyous because instead of scrambling to finish my readings before class I have been able to make a leisurely, indulgent-feeling breakfast and slowly sip my coffee out of a pretty mug rather than a travel mug. It’s amazing how just that has made me feel absolutely blissfully giddy.
    So enjoy your weekend (and save the studying for Monday, if you can).

  4. 7

    I think I need to purchase this book! I’ve been in a total funk lately since starting up school again. I know I’m lucky and before I know it I’ll be done, but if I let it, grad school can really sucked the life out of me.

    One thing that makes me happy is the friends I’ve made in my program and spending time with them! Also, I love the smell of Fall. The weather has officially changed in Western NY and it is awesome.

    • 8

      Completely agree with this comment – both the first part and the second! I think we just need to remember to refocus our perspective on the good parts of grad school!

  5. 9

    I’ve heard of the book, but never read it. It sounds like something that would be fitting for me right now as I recover from a broken rib when I am supposed to be training for my first marathon. It’s been a rough week, but it’s only going to get better.

    I wish you a fun and sunny weekend. Enjoy!

  6. 11

    It does seem to be that time of year…I’m sure you’ll shake it off! I do love the message of your post today. Have an awesome weekend, darling!!!

  7. 13

    My husband got on board with a more healthy eating plan and dedication to working out. It is so great to have a live in weight loss buddy!

  8. 15

    We had Gretchen on our radio show and she was one of my favorite guests. I love the idea of waking up each day and trying to find the happy.

    You might want to check out The Book of Awesome, too :)

    • 16

      How cool! I’ll have to listen to the interview. :) And check out The Book of Awesome – that sounds right up my alley given I grossly overuse the word awesome ;)

  9. 17

    Well, it’s sounds like you’re starting to feel better. Everyone goes through a funk sometimes- it’s gonna happen. You’re trying to be positive and that’s the best thing to do.

    I might have to grab this book too! :)

  10. 18

    Anne, it sounds like you have a very natural feeling of, OMG I’m almost 30. Take it from me, I’m 61, don’t worry about the things you can’t change. Relax, love your family and friends and stop and smell the roses. You do have a charmed life and I know you are grateful to those who gave you that charmed life. I too have been feeling blah lately but mine I found out yesterday is a medical condition. (not serious,and easy to fix, thank GOD). Get a check up for good measure. I know, I sound like a mama but it’s too late for me to be anything else. I love your blog and look forward every day at reading about your adventures. I hope you never stop writing your blog it is too valuable to us blog readers out here. Have a wonderful Friday and a wonderful weekend.

    • 19

      I’m glad you found the source of your blah feeling – especially since it’s easy to fix! Very good news. I actually was just going to schedule a blood test – not that I think anything is wrong, but just because I don’t think I’ve ever had one and I just found out the other day that we get them free once a year with our insurance!

      And thank you for the sweet words – your comments always bring me joy. Thanks for reading. :)

      • 20

        Thanks Anne. Being a diabetic, I have blood work done every 3 months and this time I was a bit anemic. Doc was not overly concerned. Iron was a little low.
        Hey, guess what. It was 75 today in Atlanta and the high this weekend in the mid 60’3. WOW

  11. 21

    I love that book! Good pick. I just had surgery on my ankle (not a great thing for an active person!), so my current circumstance isn’t very joy-inducing. What HAS brought me joy though are all the people in my life who are being so helpful and supportive. I don’t know what I’d do without them!

    • 22

      Sorry to hear about the ankle surgery – keep your head up! I’m glad to hear so many people in your life are helping you out during this rough time.

  12. 23

    Oooh! I have been wanting to read this book! Happy Friday :)

  13. 24

    I’m going home tomorrow to see my family! I moved to Atlanta from Massachusetts 10 months ago and I don’t get to go home very often. I am beyond excited to see my parents and my brother :) :)

  14. 26

    My 2 dogs always make me smile! They’re 13 and half and still puppies at heart, even the one with arthritis and glaucoma. I have my own health issues, a rare blood disorder that requires frequent blood transfusions and causes me to get tired very easily. Even when I feel bad or am crazy overtired (because I spend the majority of my free time working on ALS awareness and fundraising), I can sit down with my dogs and just snuggle. Whether it’s a game of tug of war or just a good belly rub/ear scratch session, they always lighten my mood.

    They are incredible creatures. So intuitive, I’ve had several surgeries in their lifetime and they always curl up next to me but never near the incision sites. They are my reminder to slow down and enjoy my down time, even when I’m sick they can make me smile.

  15. 28

    Hugs, friend. Maybe a trip up to NYC would help? ;)

    I read this book last year and I absolutely loved it. It definitely changed the way I think about a lot of things. And then I met her, which was awesome.

  16. 31

    I LOVE THIS POST. Awesome. And I have been feeling the same for the last few weeks, so maybe I should read this book :-)

  17. 33

    I love that blog!!!! The weather cooling down has brought me great joy lately.

  18. 34

    ahh i am a gretchen rubin superfan :) she is coming out with a new book — her Happiness Project at Home. i don’t think there’s a release date yet, but i’m already excited!

  19. 35

    This is just the type of book I need right now. I have been feeling blah lately too. I need to remember to focus on things that bring me happiness like going to the gym and baking and spending time with my boyfriend. Its been hard with him on night shift but we have 5 minute chats in the parking lot as I am leaving and he is coming in. They make my day:)

  20. 36

    I have been enjoying sitting on my porch in the cooler weather watching the squirrels gather nuts and hide them for the winter months. They’re so amitious as they scurry along with the nuts in their mouths.

  21. 38

    I really enjoyed the book for the practical ideas on small ways to make life happier. I especially loved tips like “do what needs to be done” – I have a habit of letting small tasks sit on my to-do lists causing stress, when in reality, I could spend less than 5 min and have it be off my mind.

    I am happy for a 4 day weekend – it’s my anniversary on Monday and my husband and I took a couple days off work to just hang out and do fun stuff around town. :)

  22. 40

    Sounds like a great book! STARBUCKS makes me happy . . . always! ;-)

  23. 41

    Oooh! I’ve been wanting to read this book. And I hear what you’re saying with feeling a little down. I did some traveling this summer, so it’s always hard for me to get back in the swing of things. I also struggle when the days become shorter {and in Vermont much colder}. One thing I’d like to get back into is meditating – even it’s for five minutes in the morning – because it helps me be more grateful for the little things in life.

    Happy weekend.

  24. 42

    Have you ever read “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior”? There arent many books that I read more than once, but that is one of my favorites. The movie was kinda cheesy though. I am grateful for smiles….it is amazing how much they can change you day…and someone else’s! On my trip, I would spend days just trying to make as many people smile as possible…with no verbal communication (just by making silly faces or giving big smiles). I still have vivid pictures of the random people with huge smiles on their faces…sometimes when I get down, my mind scrolls through those faces, and they keep bringing smiles back to my face!

  25. 44

    I really enjoyed The Happiness Project. It was a good reminder to Be Present! When I’m falling asleep at night, I try to think back about the things that made me happy that day.

  26. 45

    I happy that I’m finally starting my schooling to become a RD! I have been wavering for the last few years, even started to take a few classes then took a semester off. This summer I finally decided to just go for it. I’m so happy to be working towards a dream of mine. I know the road ahead is long, and I’m sure I will get sick of studying, but for now, I’m happy. :)

  27. 47

    I love this book! I read the post when you originally wrote it, but have hesitated to post a response. I guess I don’t blog and don’t usually comment on blog postings… That said, I was on a great vacation a year and a half ago, but developed insomnia. Not sleeping is unusual for me. I was very stressed and could not enjoy the vacation. I had purchased a copy of the Happiness Project to read on the trip, and realized that I had slowly become depressed. I love how Rubin writes that she wasn’t trying to plan a journey to find her life, she wanted to be more appreciative of the life she lives in the current setting. I found the courage to tackle my issues of depression and while I struggle for balance, I’m better today than I was a year and a half ago. I hope you find the book adds something to your life too!

    • 48

      I’m so happy to hear the book helped with your depression, and glad that you are doing better now. Here’s hoping that you will continue to find happiness in everyday life – I agree, I love Rubin’s approach to making her ordinary life happier vs. taking some big journey. Thanks for the comment! :)

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