"There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy." Robert Louis Stevenson
Being a love-to-sweat, bring-on-summer type of person, I tolerate winter.
As winter weighed in yet again last week, my attitude tumbled into such gloom and doom that even a steaming cup of hot chocolate loaded with marshmallows couldn't fix it. No matter how many positive thoughts I tried to think, I just wanted to give winter a good swift kick, and get it the heck behind me.
Then I realized that wishing an entire season away is a great waste of one's life. Why was I indulging in all this discontent? Why was I throwing this little tantrum? With only Groundhog Day to look forward to, I needed to get a grip.
At times like this, I usually find myself searching for a good book to sort me out. With a little visit to my own library, I found “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. My attitude about winter was rapidly escalating to epic proportions, so it was the perfect read.
Rubin takes happiness seriously, as she guides her readers through a twelve-month program to create their own happiness project. Each month has a focus or theme. For example, January is the month to boost energy through some simple practices, such as:
- Go to sleep earlier.
- Exercise better.
- Toss. Restore. Organize.
- Tackle a nagging task.
- Act more energetic.
February is the month to remember love, March the month to aim higher, April's theme is to lighten up and so forth.
My big "aha" from a brief read of “The Happiness Project” was to identify and focus on things you can do something about and do them. Become a sleuth to discover the things that are working and going well for you and enjoy them. Accept the many things you can do nothing about and make the most of them. This sounds a lot like the “Serenity Prayer” to me.
Soon enough, I began to see an end to the long and winding winter!