The challenges that life hands us shape how we grow. However, it's up to us to choose our reactions to the challenges. We can choose to suffer because of the difficulties...or we can choose happiness.
When I first heard about this on Huffington Post, it brought a huge smile to my face. Since my mom's name is Gretchen, I have an instant liking to other Gretchens. So a Gretchen who seeks and shares happiness gets two enthusiastic thumbs up from me.
The Happiness Project is already a hit. Before the ink has dried on the first printing, Happiness Project Groups are already popping up all around the world. Just what is it?
A “happiness project” is an approach to changing your life. First is the preparation stage, when you identify what brings you joy, satisfaction, and engagement, and also what brings you guilt, anger, boredom, and remorse. Second is the making of resolutions, when you identify the concrete actions that will boost your happiness. Then comes the interesting part: keeping your resolutions.
Here's a link to The Happiness Project blog. Trust me, you can get lost (or found!) in her essays.
As a Feng Shui consultant, I particularly appreciate her input on the subject of clutter. As you know from past posts, clutter is a big topic for me. After all, it's root word is 'to clot!' Yes, clutter clots your life.
Below is an excerpt of Gretchen's article on clutter. I think you'll enjoy it as I have.
By Gretchen Rubin
Whether you’re really moving, or virtually moving, here are some questions to ask yourself, as you consider whether some particular piece of stuff is worth keeping. Remember, you have to be HONEST!
1. Do I actually use this?
2. If I get rid of this, and it turns out I need it, how hard will it be to replace?
3. How many of this object do I really need? E.g., how many coffee mugs do you actually use? Beware of what’s called the “maximum-use imperative” -- the fact that people will often buy or keep something to accommodate a use that they need only rarely (like a dining room table big enough to seat the whole family, who visits once every two years). Also, although you may be tempted to keep every usable rubber band or every packet of ketchup that comes into your house, if you’re never going to use them up, get rid of the excess.
4. Does this work properly? If not, get it fixed, give it away, or throw it away.
5. At this moment, do I know how to operate this thing?
6. Am I keeping a gift out of sentiment or politeness, even though I don't really like or need it?
7. Am I keeping something as a memento? That's ok, but pick your mementos wisely. Try to pick things that don’t take up too much room. You don’t need lots of mementos from the same period of time. You can take a picture of something if you just want the visual cue, but don’t really want to use the thing -- this is especially useful when the memento is large, say, your father's desk.
8. When in doubt, throw it out! (or give it away).
Tip: I find it’s much easier for me to get rid of things when I can envision that my things will be better used by someone else. So, as you prepare for your real or virtual move, take the time to identify destinations for your stuff. Do you know a family who could use your hand-me-downs? A thrift store that accepts used toys? Would you post a notice so that someone who wanted something could come take it? Etc.
Good advice, right?
Here's a link to create your own Happiness Project.