I’ve been in an uncannily good mood lately. It’s summer, I’m seeing old friends and living with others, I have a job that pays me to learn, and I still have time to take dance classes, eat out, and write, too. Yep, I’m living the good life (as I define it). But it feels especially good because, thanks to The Happiness Project, I am 1) not only more aware of all of the above but also am 2) more conscious of other people’s cheerfulness and gratitude, too. And because I, like Gretchen, have made a “to-do list” of happiness resolutions and just so happen to derive immense satisfaction form checking things off to-do lists, these two weeks have simply felt more…full.
To keep myself full for more than two weeks, though, I’ll need to establish a framework that somehow keeps me accountable for my happiness resolutions. I’ll tackle this by first addressing Resolution 10: Blog frequently, less wordily.
Writing things down helps me process my actions more thoughtfully and deliberately. It forces me to slow down, to digest my emotions until I am full in a fully satisfied way. Although I don’t think blogging more frequently will drastically alter my inherent nature, I do think it will help me squeeze out and savor small pockets of happiness I otherwise might have missed. Part of happiness comes from the novelty of doing something, from feeling like I’ve grown by doing “y” or changed for the better by discovering “x”. Writing for The Little Apple definitely checks both boxes: it’s like an ongoing public archive that both lets me feed my own self-perception and lets my readers provide valuable feedback.
In the chapter Lighten Up, Gretchen notes that happiness has four stages, and that to eke out the most happiness from any experience, we must 1) anticipate it; 2) savor it as it unfolds, 3) express happiness; and 4) recall a happy memory. As formulaic as that may sound, following these steps actually works for me. Writing simply amplifies the effects.
I already messed up this resolution a bit by making it much longer than anticipated, but that’s okay. That just means I enjoyed the process (Resolution #5) and was able to spend time on non-work related projects (Resolution #15). I also enjoyed the fun of this failure (Resolution #11) and still anticipate the happiness of my next, hopefully shorter, post.
So in the upcoming weeks, months, years. etc…I hope to post more frequently, less wordily. In action steps, that hopefully means I’ll post about once a week. Bonus points if I can do more (because receiving bonuses, a form of unexpected success, is yet another way to boost one’s happiness level.)