Saturday, February 5, 2011

Life Rules and Finding Happiness

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about how to be happier. This notion seems to be a new phenomenon happening around us. There was a special on Oprah on how to be happier, where she interviewed the author Dan Buettner about his book Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way (check out the bluezones website, it offers cool facts and information on the happiest people and places in the world, plus allows you to take a happiness quiz which is quite accurate). I also have been frequenting Gretchen Rubin's website, The Happiness Project, for inspiration, resolutions, videos and more. I found this one on What did you do for fun when you were 10 years old? to be thought provoking. Many people can't figure out WHAT they want to do...for fun, for work, for a hobby. It seems like an easy question to answer, but adults have a difficult time thinking about and articulating what they want to do. So, Gretchen's question asks us to think about what we did as 10 year olds. Usually, it's something that we would like to do as adults as well, in a more reformed way.

Something else that people don't realize is that it's work to be happy. I think that people sit around waiting for something to come their way and make them happier. It doesn't work that way. When you wake up in the morning, you have to tell yourself, "I'm going to be happy today. I'll make today a good day". Without positive thinking, it's hard to just magically become happier. I think a lot of us think something drastic must happen to change our attitude, but it really depends on our thoughts and where we want our life to go.

I keep telling myself I want to start my own Happiness Project, but I get bogged down with the rest of life. How much of a cop out does that seem like? Gretchen recommends having a list of personal commandments. My list is a combination of commandments and life rules. This is a starting point, and will likely be revised over and over again, because, philosophies are everchanging and never completely concrete. I doubt I'll ever be finished with the creation of this list. But, it provides me with a starting point, and that is a step in the right direction.

My 8 Life Rules

1. Be true to myself and others, especially my immediate family and friends.
2. Eat the "French way", as Mireille Guiliano describes in her book French Women Don't Get Fat, meaning, eat with my head and not my stomach.
3. Get 30-60 minutes of exercise a day.
4. Belong to a group or club that meets often enough to form bonds/friendships.
5. Know why I wake up in the morning - to be the best, most caring, mother and wife possible and to continually engage and connect my family so that we can thrive.
6. Appreciate the small things in life such as a beautiful picture, view, flower, plant, a special moment with my family.
7. Avoid too much TV and "screen-time".
8. Upgrade my social network - surround myself with people who are happy themselves and in turn make me happy. Depressed people will only drain me.

What are your rules for life? Have you ever thought about making a list?

This guy makes me pretty happpy :-)

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