The Happiness Project

img_4325Date Read: February 19, 2017 to March 15, 2017

Rating: 5 (of 5) stars

For some reason, this seems to be a fairly polarizing book. There are tons of people who love it, and tons of people who seem to take issue with the premise. I actually understand the reasoning of why people take issue with this, although I definitely fall into the “love it” category. Immediately upon finishing this book, I felt compelled to share it with someone else. I lent my copy to a friend just a few days later. She also loved it. Just this past Christmas I bought it as a gift for my Secret Santa at work. Although the book does not necessarily call it by name, one of the primary topics is a huge area of interest for me: Positive Psychology.

Honestly, I think the Positive Psychology aspect of this is what most people have a problem with. While not quite revolutionary, it’s a non-traditional approach to wellbeing. Happiness is not the opposite of depression. You do not have to be unhappy to want to improve your happiness. You could even potentially argue that you can improve your happiness even if you are depressed, but it is not the same as curing depression. I think the general idea of this perspective on happiness makes people uncomfortable. I also think it’s a bit contrary to what people think of as “happy.”

Many of the approaches to happiness that are explored in the book do seem to be small, novel, or even indulgent. But, well, that’s kind of the point. You do not have to move mountains to improve your satisfaction with your life, you just need to find what works for you and work with it. Do you. If something that makes you truly happy seems silly to other people, who cares? Perhaps it seems selfish, but your attitude and emotions impact so much of your life– taking time to put yourself in a positive frame of mind, while being “for you” in the moment, can lead to more positive results for everyone you interact with on a day to day basis.

I feel like I have so much to say, but also that I’ve hit upon the things that I feel are the core of what I enjoyed about this book. I love the balance between narrative/personal stories, and the research of Happiness (often termed in research as “subjective wellbeing”). I would highly recommend it to anyone willing to read with an open mind.

Boris’s thoughts: “Spending time with me makes you happy, right? 4 paws.”

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