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SAMUEL JOHNSON:

“AS THE SPANISH PROVERB SAYS, ‘HE, WHO WOULD BRING HOME THE WEALTH OF THE INDIES, MUST CARRY THE WEALTH OF THE INDIES WITH HIM.” – James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson :)


I’d always vaguely expected to outgrow my limitations. One day, I’d stop twisting my hair, and wearing running shoes all the time, and eating exactly the same food everyday. I’d remember my friend’s birthdays, I’d learn Photoshop, I wouldn’t let my daughter watch TV during breakfast. I’d read Shakespeare. I’d spend more time laughing and having fun, I’d be more polite, I’d visit museums more often, I wouldn’t be scared to drive.

One April day, on a morning just like every other morning, I had a sudden realization: I was in danger of wasting my life.

GETTING STARTED {INTRODUCTION}


TABLE OF CONTENTS JANUARY Boost Energy {Vitality}

APRIL Lighten Up {Parenthood}

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FEBRUARY Remember Love {Marriage}

MAY Be Serious About Play {Liesure}

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MARCH Aim Higher {Work}

JUNE Make Time for Friends {Frendship}

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:)


GETTING STARTED

THE HAPPINESS MANIFESTO

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JULY Buy Some Happiness {Money}

OCTOBER Pay Attention {Mindfulness}

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AUGUST Contemplate the Heavens {Eternity}

NOVEMBER Keep a Contented Heart {Attitude}

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SEPTEMBER Pursue a Passion {Books}

DECEMBER Boot Camp Perfect {Happiness}

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49 ANATOMY OF Your Happiness Project

CONTENTS


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To be happy, you need to consider feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.

2 3 4 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.

The days are long the years are short.

You’re not happy unless you think you’re happy.

5 6 7 8 Your body matters

Happiness is other people.

Think about yourself so you can forget yourself. “It’s easy to be heavy: hard to be light.” –G.K. Chesterton

What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you, and vice versa.

9 10 11 12 Best is good, better is best

Outer order contributes to inner calm

Happiness comes not from having more, not from having less, but wanting what you have.

You can choose what you do, but you can’t choose what you like to do.

13 14 15 16 “There’s no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.” –Robert Louis Stevenson

:0

You manage what you measure.

Loving actions inspire loving feelings.

The opposite of a great truth is also true.


THE HAPPINESS MANIFESTO

HAPPINESS MANIFESTO

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THERE IS NO DUTY WE AS THE DUTY OF BEING -ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON


SO MUCH UNDERRATE G HAPPY.


BOOST ENERGY {VITALITY} GO TO SLEEP EARLIER. | EXERCISE BETTER. | TOSS, RESTORE, ORGANIZE TACKLE A NAGGING TASK | ACT MORE ENERGETIC.

Like 44 percent of Americans, Imake New Year’s Resolutions– and usually don’t keep them for long. How many times have I resolved to exercise more, eat better, and keep up with my e-mail in-box? This year, though, I was making my resolutions in the context of my happiness project, and I hoped that would mean that I do a better job of keeping them. To launch the new year and my happiness project, I decided to focus on boosting my energy. More vitality, I hoped would make it easier for me to stick to all my happiness project resolutions in future months. I know that when I feel energetic, I find it much easier to behave in ways that make me happy. I can take the time to email the grandparents with a report from the pediatrician’s checkup. I don’t scold when Eliza drops her glass of milk on the rug just as we’re leaving for school. I have the perseverance to figure out why my computer screen is frozen. I take the time to put my dishes in the dishwasher.

:D


I decided to tackle both the physical and mental aspects of energy. For my physical energy: I needed to make sure that I got enough sleep and enough exercise. Although I’d already known that sleep and exercise were important to good health, I’d been surprised to learn that happiness– which can seem complex, lofty, and intangible goal–was quite influenced by these straightforward habits. For my mental energy: I needed to tackle

my apartment and office, which felt oppressively messy and crowded. Outer order, I hoped, would bring inner peace. What’s more, I needed to clear away metaphorical clutter; I wanted to cross tasks off my to-do list. I added one last resolution that combined the mental and physical. Studies show that by acting as if you feel more energetic, you become more energetic. I was skeptical, but it seemed worth a try. A glamorous friend with a tendency to make sweeping pronouncements had told me that :

“SLEEP IS THE NEW SEX,” XXX

GO TO SLEEP EARLIER {FIRST: BODILY ENERGY}

J A N U A RY { V I TA L I T Y }

and I’d recently been at a dinner party where each person at the table detailed the best nap he or she had ever had, in lascivious detail, while everyone moaned in appreciation.

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AIM HIGHER {WORK} LAUNCH A BLOG. | ENJOY THE FUN OF FAILURE. ASK FOR HELP. | WORK SMART. | ENJOY NOW.

Happiness is a critical factor for work, and work is a critical factor for happiness. In one of those life-isn’tfair results, it turns out that the happy outperform the less happy. Happy people work more hours each week– and they work more in their free time, too. The tend to be more cooperative, less self-centered, and more willing to help other people– say, by sharing information or pitching in to help a colleague–and then, because they’ve helped others, others tend to help them. Also, they work better with others, because people prefer to be around happier people, who are also less likely to show the counterproductive behaviors of burnout, absenteeism, counter- and nonproductive work, work disputes, and retaliatory

:]

behavior than are less happy people. They’re perceived to be more friendly, warmer, and even more physically attractive. A study showed that students who were happy as college freshman were earning more money in their midthirties–without any wealth advantage to start. Being happy can make a big difference in your work life. Of course, happiness also matters to work simply because work occupies so much of our time. A majority of Americans work seven or more hours each day, and time spent on vacation is shrinking. Also, work can be a source of many of the elements necessary for a happy life: the atmosphere of growth, social contact, fun, a sense of purpose, self-esteem, and recognition.


Whenever I feel blue, working cheers me. Sometimes when I sink into a bad mood, “Jamie says, “Why don’t you go to your office for a while?” Even if I don’t feel like working, once I plunge in, the encouraging feeling of getting something accomplished, the intellectual stimulation, and even the mere distraction lift me out of my crabbiness. Because work is so crucial to happiness,

ANOTHER PERSON’S HAPPINESS PROJECT MIGHT WELL FOCUS ON CHOOSING THE RIGHT WORK. I, however, had already been through a major happiness quest career shift. I’d started out in law, and I’d had a great experience. But when my clerkship with Justice O’Connor drew to a close, I couldn’t figure out what job I wanted next.

MARCH {WORK}

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May, the beginning of springtime, seemed like the right time to work on my play– that is, the activities I did in my free time because I wanted to do them, for their own sake, for my own reasons, and not for money or ambition. In an irony that didn’t escape me, I prepared to work doggedly at fun and to be serious about joking.

“BE SERIOUS ABOUT JOKING AROUND.” The writer Jen Stafford scoffed, “Happy people don’t need to have fun,” but in fact studies show that the absence of feeling bad isn’t enough to make you happy; you must strive to find sources of feeling good. One way to feel good is to make time for play–which researchers define as an activity that’s very satisfying, has no economic significance, doesn’t create social harm, and doesn’t necessarily lead to praise or recognition. Research shows that regularly having fun is a key factor in having a happy life; people who have fun are twenty times as likely to feel happy.

:P


BE SERIOUS ABOUT PLAY {LEISURE} FIND MORE FUN. | TAKE TIME TO BE SILLY GO OFF THE PATH. | START A COLLECTION.

I had two goals for the month: I wanted to have more fun, and I wanted to use my leisure to cultivate my creativity. Play wasn’t merely idle time, but an opportunity to experiment with new interests and to draw closer to other people. I was very fortunate that the activities that I did for work were, for the most part, versions of the same activities that I did for fun. There were many persuasive arguments against taking busman’s holidays, but I always wanted to do the same things on the weekend that I did during the week. I knew exactly the photographer Edward Weston meant when he noted in his daybook that he’d spent the day in a “holiday of work, but work which was play.”

MAY {LEISURE}

As I saw in March, novelty is an important source of happiness it’s also an important element in creativity. I tend to stick to the familiar, so I wanted to push myself toward new experiences and new ideas that attracted me. I needed to take my leisure more seriously. I’d always assumed that having fun was something in my life that would flow naturally, so I didn’t think about shaping it or getting the most out of it–but although having fun was something in my life that would flow naturally, so I didn’t think about shaping it or getting the most out of it– but although having fun sounded simple, it wasn’t. When I asked my blog readers about their ideas about fun, several readers responded.

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BUY SOME HAPPINESS {MONEY} INDULGE IN A MODEST SPLURGE. | BUY NEEDFUL THINGS. | SPEND OUT. | GIVE SOMETHING UP.

The relationship between money and happiness was one of the most interesting, most complicated, and most sensitive questions in my study of happiness. People, including the experts, seemed very confused.

Before I could figure my resolutions for the month, I had to clarify my thinking about money. I was skeptical of much of what I read. In particular, I kept seeing the argument “Money can’t buy happiness, “ but it certainly seemed that people appear fairly well convinced about the significance of money to their happiness. Money is not without its benefits, and the opposite case, though frequently made, has never proved widely persuasive. And in fact, studies show that people in wealthier countries do report being happier than those with less. Also, as countries become richer, their citizens become less focused on physical and economic security and more concerned with goals such as happiness and self-realization. Prosperity allows us to turn our attention to more transcendent matters–to yearn for lives not just of material comfort but f meaning, balance, and joy. :I


“SOMETIMES, MONEY CAN BUY YOU HAPPINESS.” As I did my research, Gertrude Stein’s observation frequently floated through my mind: “Everyone has to make up their mind: “Everyone has to make up their mind if money is money or money isn’t money and sooner or later they always do decide that money is money.” Money satisfies basic material needs. It’s a means and an end. It’s a way to keep score, win security, exercise generosity, and earn recognition. It can foster mastery or dilettantism. It symbolizes status and success. It buys time–which can be spent on aimless drifting or purposeful action. It creates power in relationships and in the world. It often stands for the things that we feel are lacking: if only we have the money, we’d be adventurous or thin or cultured or respected or generous.

J U LY { M O N E Y }

Within the United States, according to a 206 Pew Research Center study, 49 percent of people with an annual family income of more than $100,00 said they were “very happy,” in contrast to 24 percent of those earning under $30,000. And the percentages of reported happiness increased as income rose 24 percent for those earning under $30,000; 33 percent for $30,000 to under $75,000; 38 percent for $75,000 to under $100,000; and 49 percent for more than $100,000. (Now it’s also true that there may be some reverse correlation happy people become rich faster because they’re more appealing to other people and their happiness helps them succeed.)

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My happiness project year was almost over, and for November’s resolutions, I had to be sure I cram in everything that I hadn’t covered. Fortunately, everything I had left to cover fit neatly into one category. Instead of focusing on my actions, I focused on attitude. I wanted to cultivate a lighthearted, loving, and kind spirit. If I could put myself into that frame of mind, it would be easier to stick to all my other resolutions.

I was struck by Pepy’s inclusion of the qualifying phrase “and if I have a heart to be contented.” It was easy to pass over these words without realizing their tremendous importance. No one is happy who doesn’t think himself happy, so without “a heart to be contented,” a person can’t be happy. That’s the Fourth Splendid Truth.

“I HAD A TENDENCY TO BE... TOUGH TO PLEASE.” :{D


KEEP A CONTENTED HEART {ATTITUDE} LAUGH OUT LOUD. | USE GOOD MANNERS. | GIVE POSITIVE REVIEWS | FIND AN AREA OF REFUGE.

Did I have the heart to be contented? Well, no not particularly. I had a tendency to be discontented ambitious, dissatisfied, fretful, and tough to please. In some situations, this served me well, because it kept me constantly striving to improve my work and achieve my goals. In most areas of my life, however, this critical streak wasn’t helpful. When Jamie surprised me with a gardenia plant (my favorite flower), I fussed because it was too big. I was deeply annoyed when we came back from the hardware store with the wrong sized light bulbs–I just couldn’t let it go. It’s easier to complain than laugh, easier to yell than to joke around, easier to be demanding than to be satisfied. Keeping “a heart to be contented,” I expected would change my actions. I hit on several specific aspects of my attitude to change.

The British diarist Samuel Pepys reflected from time to time on the nature of happiness. In his entry for February 23, 1662, he wrote, “This day by God’s mercy I am 29 years of age, and in very good health, and like to live and get an estate and if I have a heart to be contented, I think I may reckon myself as happy a man as any in the world, for which God be praised. So to prayers and bed.” (This last phrase, “and so to bed,” is Pepy’s signature sign-off, much like Walter Cronkite’s “And that’s the way it is” or Ryan Seacrest’s “Seacrest… out!”).

N O V E M B E R { AT T I T U D E }

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BOOT CAMP PERFECT HAPPINESS For eleven months, I’d been piling on the resolutions, and for this last month of December, I wanted to try Boot Camp Perfect. I would follow all of my resolutions, all the time I would aim to see nothing but gold stars glittering on m Resolutions Chart. This goal of perfection was daunting, because following my resolutions took a huge amount of mental discipline and self-control–not to mention, it took time. So, for the month, I tidied, I cleared, I organized, I turned off the light, I sang in the morning, I laughed out loud, I acknowledged people’s feelings, I left things unsaid. I blogged, asked for help, I pushed myself; I showed up, I went off the path. I wrote in my one–sentence journal. I met with my writer’s strategy group and my children’s literature study reading group. I listened to my hypnosis tape. I didn’t eat any fake food. I bought needful things. Of course, I also failed to do these things. As hard as I tried during Boot Camp Perfect, I still didn’t manage to keep all my resolutions. Resolutions! After all these months, I was still astonished at how effectively they worked to make me happy, whenever I did faithfully keep them. I thought often of the 1764 journal entry of Samuel Johnson, who, as an inveterate resolution maker and resolution breaker, is one of the patron saints of the process:

;)

I have now spent fifty-five years in resolving; having, from the earliest time almost that I can remember, been forming schemes of a better life. I have done nothing. The need of doing, therefore, is pressing, since the time of doing is short. O GOD, grant me to resolve all right, and to keep my resolutions.


“DID I HAVE EVEN ONE SINGLE PERFECT DAY DURING DECEMBER? NOPE. BUT I KEPT TRYING.” One helpful consequence of my happiness project was that even when I had a bad day, it was a good bad day. If I was feeling blue, I’d run through my moodboosting strategies: go to the gym, get some work done, keep myself from getting too hungry, cross a nagging task off my to-do list, connect with other people, spend some time having fun with my family. Sometimes nothing really worked, but the nice thing about trying to ameliorate a bad mood by taking those kinds of constructive steps was that even when a day was bad, it had bright spots, and I could look back on a bad day with satisfaction.

DECEMBER {HAPPINESS}

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ANATOMY OF A HAPPIN 1

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EXERCISE REGULARLY

BEING A LIGHT HEARTED PARENT

Always exercise on Mondays Never skip exercising for two days in a row. Don’t link exercise to weight loss. Exercise for sanity not vanity Give yourself credit for the smallest effort Think about context. Do you hate the loud music in your gym? Re-think your choices. Exercise Frequently. If you think you’re staying in shape by playing pick-up basketball, you should be playing four or five times a week. If you don’t have time both to exercise and take a shower, find exercise where you don’t need to shower afterward. Spend money to make exercising more pleasant. Exercise is a high life priority, so this is the place to splurge a bit if that helps. Remember” Belonging to a gym doesn’t mean you go to the gym, and just because you were in shape in college doesn’t mean you’re in shape now.

LAUGH! At least once a day, make each child helpless with laughter. Sing in the morning. It’s hard both to sing and to maintain a grouchy mood. Get enough sleep yourself. Most messages to kids are negative “Stop,” “Don’t,” “No.” Try to say “Yes.” “Yes, we’ll go as soon as you’ve finished eating.” Say “No” only when it really matters. Wear a bright red shirt with bright orange shorts? Sure. Put water in the toy tea set? Okay. Repetition works… with kids, so use the school mantras: “ Sit square in your chair,” “You get what you get an you don’t get upset.” Remember: The age of Cheerios and the Tooth Fairy is fleeting. The days are long, but the years are short.

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NESS PROJECT 3

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GETTING YOUR SWEETHEART TO DO CHORES–WITHOUT NAGGING

COPING WITH THE FACT THAT YOU DON’T KNOW A PERSON’S NAME

Suggest tasks without words. Leave a note, put an empty container on the counter. Don’t insist that a task be done on your schedule. “You’ve got to trim those hedges today!” “Why? Try. “Will you be able to trim the hedges before our party next week?” Have clear assignments. I always call repairmen; my husband always empties the Diaper Genie. Every once in a while, do your sweetheart’s task, for a treat. Do it yourself. I used to be annoyed with my husband because we never had any cash. Then I realized: why did I get to assign that job? Now I do it. Settle partial victory. Maybe your partner won’t put dishes in the dishwasher, but getting them in to a sink is an improvement. No carping from the sidelines. If your sweetheart made the travel arrangements, don’t criticize the flight time. Money might buy some happiness. Could you hire a teenager to mow the lawn? Eliminating conflict is a high happiness priority; spend money if it can help.

The “I know your name but I’m blocked” dodge. “I keep wanting to call you, ‘David,’ but I know that’s not right. The “Of course I know you–in fact, I want all your information” Dodge. “Hey, I’d love to get your card.” The “Tip of my tounge” Dodge: “I know I know your name, but I’m blanking right now” The “You’re brilliant” “Wow. You have a terrific memory. I can’t believe you remember my name from that meeting 6 months ago.“ The “sure, I remember you” Dodge: “Remind me– what’s your last name?” If you ask a person for his last name, he’s likely to repeat both names. “Doe, John Doe.” The “One-sided Introduction” Dodge: “Let me introduce you to Pat,” you say to Nameless One. You introduce the two and say Pat’s name. Usually, Nameless One will volunteer a name. Remember that people might not remember your name. Err on the side of re-introducing yourself. And don’t be offended if someone forgets your name!

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GET AN ENERGY BOOST IN THE NEXT 10 MINUTES.

SOMETIMES MONEY CAN BUY YOU HAPPINESS

Go outside into the sunlight. Light deprivation is one reason that people feel tired. For an extra boost, get your sunlight first thing in the morning. Go for a brisk walk. Even a ten-minute walk is enough to supply a feeling of energy and decreased tension. Act with Energy. Trick yourself into feeling energetic by moving more energetically. Listen to your favorite upbeat song. Hearing stimulating music gives you an instant lift. Tackle an item on your to-do list. Unfinished tasks weigh us down. Force yourself to complete some nagging chore. Clean Up! Why is this so effective? Unclear–but it is. Drink some coffee! Coffee gets a bad rap, but fact is, it boosts alertness, energy, and ability to focus. (Plus it’s a great source of antioxidants and dietary fiber.)

Strengthen social bonds. Studies show that having close relationships is one of the most important elements of a happy life. Visit your brother. Throw a super bowl party. End Marital Conflict. Throw some money at the problem. Can your hire a teenager to clean out the garage? Upgrade your exercise. One of the best ways to boost your mood is to exercise. If buying a new iPod will get you off the couch, that’s a good investment. Think about fun. For happiness, you’re better off using your money to have a great experience than to gain a possession. Serenity and Security. Use money to pay down your debts or to add to your savings. Pay more for healthy food. Healthy food costs more than fast food, but eating healthfully pays off in the long run. Spend money on someone else. Spend money in a way that would make a big difference to someone else– whether someone you know, or a cause you support.

A N AT O M Y O F Y O U R H A P P I N E S S P R O J E C T { A G U I D E }


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KEEPING YOUR NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

MAKE SOMEONE LIKE YOU

Write it down…and be specific. Not “make more friends” but “start a movie group,” “remember birthdays,” “say hello,” “make plans.” Review your resolution constantly. If your resolution is buzzing through your head, it’s easier to stick to it. Hold yourself accountable. Think Big! Maybe you nee a big change, a big adventure– a trip, a break-up, a new job. Think Small! Don’t assume that only radical change can make a difference. Cleaning your fridge can give you a real boost. Break Your main resolution… into manageable tasks Keep your resolution every day. Weirdly, it’s often easier to do something everyday (exercise, post to a blog, deal with the mail) than every few days. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Instead of training for the marathon, aim for a daily twentyminute walk. Instead of cleaning the basement, tackle one closet. Consider dropping a resolution– to loose twenty pounds or to give up TV block you.

Smile! The amount of time you smile during a conversation has a direct impact on how friendly you’re perceived to be. Be easily impresses, entertained, and interested. Most people get more pleasure from wowing you than from being wowed by you. Have a friendly, open, engaged demeanor. Lean toward people, nod, say “Uh-huh,” turn your body to face the other person’s body. Remember trait transfer. Because of trait transfer,” whatever you say about other people (he’s obnoxious, she’s brilliant) shapes the way people see you. Laugh at yourself. Showing vulnerability and a sense of humor makes you more likeable and approachable. Radiate energy and good humor. Because of the phenomenon of “emotional contagion,” people catch the emotions of other people. Show your liking for another person. We’re much more apt to like someone if we think that person likes us.

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AS LONG AS YOU CAN LAUGH AT YOURSELF, YOU WILL NEVER CEASE TO BE AMUSED.


The Happiness Project  

Book Re-design based on a young and trendy target audience

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