Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Own Happiness Project

I am currently immersed in Gretchen Rubin’s memoir, The Happiness Project, an account of the year she spent figuring out how to be happier. Putting theory into practice, I have recently begun my own ‘pursuit of happiness,’ incorporating Rubin’s thoughtful insights into my daily life, and slowly creating my own happiness project. One of the fundamental themes I have absorbed from this stimulating reading is that happiness is a choice. Accordingly, one of Rubin’s ‘happiness commandments’ is: Act the way I want to feel. Although we think that we act because of the way we feel, in fact, we often feel because of the way we act. I found comfort and take great stock in the following, realizing that I do, in fact, have control in my own happiness. Rubin suggests what she refers to as ‘fake it till you feel it.’ Essentially, feelings follow actions. If you’re feeling low, you deliberately act cheery, and you will likely find yourself actually feeling happier. Even harder, if you’re feeling angry with someone, do something thoughtful for him/her and your feelings toward him/her will likely soften, referred to in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) as ‘opposite to emotion action.’ This strategy is uncannily effective! Thanks to this great read, I have been reminding myself on a daily basis that striving for happiness is a choice within my control, and one that I not only value but am committed to. Overall, I have highly enjoyed Rubin’s memoir thus far, as I have found it subtly impacting my own daily life! Good luck to others as they embark in their own happiness projects!

Jaclyn Jarvis, MA

Jaclyn Jarvis is a third year doctoral student at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She is an intern therapist at The Awakening Center. She specializes in eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and health psychology. Jaclyn co-leads the Dialetical Behavior Therapy (DBT) group on Monday evenings from 6:30-8:00 p.m. and leads the ‘Filling Your Toolbox’ therapy group on Wednesday evenings from 6:00-7:30 p.m.

1 comment:

  1. You made that wonderfully simple and concise. Thx for the reminder that we can be proactive about our mood!!