Book Review: The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

In this lively and compelling account, Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Among other things, she found that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference.

-Goodreads

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On disordered eating:

I don’t have an eating disorder, my bad eating habits haven’t ever reached that level, but I have balanced dangerously on that line.

In our current culture it’s almost normal to have disordered eating habits. Our diet culture and super processed food has made it a hard thing to avoid, especially as a young woman. Hell, when I was on Tumblr in high school there were thousand of thinspo accounts, now they just mask themselves on instagram as health accounts that focus far to much on the goal body shape than the health.

Our dieting world has shifted so much that we coined a new eating disorder based on super restrictive diets that are in the fad now. If I hear one more world about keto or the whole 30 I might scream.

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Start your resolutions now:

Hello December, its nice to see you again!

In the middle of all the holiday cheer you might find the idea of starting your resolutions now unsavory. Cutting down sweets during Christmas? Well why not, you don’t have to get rid of them, just practice a little more self control than you would if you were starting next month.

We like to hang on the idea of starting tomorrow or starting Monday. We misbehave more with bad habits when we know we want to start a good one “soon”. We also are more likely to push them off another day or another week, so starting now can really cut these factors off at the knee.

Also starting now means you’ll be a month ahead of were you would be if you started next month. You can have already started that new hobby or cleaning out that house or being kinder to yourself. Put yourself ahead of the curve, beat the rush at the gym, find a therapist before everyone else starts looking.

Another thing about starting early is you can give yourself permission to start slower. You can do a trial run, start slow, give yourself permission to make more mistakes, than really buckle down with the new year. It’ll go better than starting cold!

So make that resolution list and start early!

This too shall pass.

We get very locked into our bad times, they swallow us whole and seem to threaten never spitting us out. When your in middle of a bad spell, whether it be situational or emotional, you feel like it’ll go on forever, even if you believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel you feel like it is a million miles away. It’s terrible and it’s normal- but I still find that the best thing you can say during these times is that they will pass.

We can’t fix everything and if you have solutions then great! Share them! But it’s true that a lot of darkness just isn’t easily fought off, that we have to simply just get through it. Sometimes that’s really annoying to hear in the middle of the darkness, but it’s true. Surviving is the strategy. Surviving depression till you find the right medication or therapy. Surviving your bad job till you can financially quit or find a new one. Surviving until the timing just lines up.

It’s not glamourous and it’s hard to advise yourself to just get through, there is a reason why suicidal thoughts are common, but waiting while you work is the key to make it through. Try to make your situation better, even when it seems hopeless there is normally small things you can do to make it better, put that work in, but know that in the end it will get better. Life will move pass this and you should be there when it does.

The knowledge is said often but it’s not fully comprehended till you’ve seen it unfold and come to pass multiple times. Sometimes even then it can seem hard to swallow, but there is always a way out of the mess you are in and that way is not death or giving up.

Hang in there, love.

Announcing Oliver Scott:

He’s about two months old now, so it seems fitting to finally announce him here. If you noticed that my posts seemed to disappear for a while this little guy is the reason! I’m still going to be hanging around, though I can’t promise that I’ll be posting every week. Things are different with a baby.

Oliver Scott was born on September 30th at 12:19 via scheduled c-section. He was a c-section baby because he was happily breech with no interest in spinning around. We had a brief scare where he inhaled amniotic fluid, but after top notch care both him and I were healthy and doing well!

These first few months have been beautiful. I honestly love motherhood and am so happy with everything. I was at a much higher risk of post-partum depression because of my bipolar disorder, but luckily I got to skip that, most likely because I was allowed to stay on my medications during pregnancy and continue them as normal after. I’m so glad I was sent to specialized doctors who weighed the risk and benefits and helped me come up with a plan that was safe for both me and Oliver.

Oliver is perfect. He looks like both me and his father and we are so over the moon in love with him. As we get closer to two months he has started smiling at us and he is constantly reaching and grabbing at things though he hasn’t mastered it just yet.

He makes everyday brighter and has made my entire outlook on life shift a little.

Everything from here on out is for him and our family, and that, is wonderful.

The single bad habit slippery slope:

We all have a list of bad habits that is longer than we would like, and honestly, if you say you don’t I not only don’t believe you but I think you might need to check your pride.

I currently have a daily check list on my phone of habits- it has good daily habits that I’d like to pick up and a series of bad habits to cross off when I don’t do them. It’s been the only system I’ve found that helps, though of course it isn’t a magic solution and I still fall short of checking all my boxes a lot of time.

There are arguments about how many habits you should try to pick up and drop at the same time, and this post isn’t really about that. I don’t have an answer to how much you can personally take on at a time, I think a lot of it has to do with how linked your habits are. What this post is about is doing one bad habit can lead to a day of all your bad habits coming out.

I think a lot of us have an all or nothing mindset, in some ways that might be a good thing, if you’re checking off good habits to do today it certainly is! But it also applies to your bad habits, and once we’ve fallen short we tend to think the day is lost and spiral.

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False moods and false thoughts – battling mental health

Before I say anything else I know that someone will disagree with my use of “false” all moods are real and all thoughts come to our head are thoughts, I know that, what I’m talking about is the moods and thoughts that are controlled more by our mental illness or imbalances than they are by us. They are false answers to questions we could normally answer correctly.

Those moods and thoughts are a lot of time out of our control, but how we acknowledge them and how we act on them is completely our choice. Once we know they are “false” or from our imbalances it is easier to choose to not act on them or to do so properly, the problem is a lot of these moods and thoughts feel just as real and rational as our other thoughts and learning to tell the difference between them is insanely hard.

It might be easier to know where our thoughts are coming from if we ran every one by a group of trusted peers, but even leaking some of them toxic thoughts can hurt people and it can hurt us having other people tell us what is “real” and what isn’t. So how do you go about trying to figure it out?

Sometimes thinking about what a trusted peer would say to it can help a lot. It can give you insight. Sometimes thinking about what you would say when you were more stable can give you insight. Would you have reacted this way when you were in a happier mindset? No? Why not? Would your calm and collected friend widen her eyes at your thoughts in response to something?

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My Four Favorite Pregnancy Books:

I promised I wouldn’t become a motherhood blog, but I stated that I would share bits and pieces of this journey with you all, because this blog is focused on my thoughts and on mental health, both which have been tied to motherhood lately.

It’s also been a while since I posted a book review (but don’t be fooled- I’ve read over 80 this year) so I thought I would tackle a question I was asked recently by a friend.

What pregnancy books have a truly loved?

I know at least two of these titles are popular ones, but the other two I’m not so sure about, the fact is that almost all my books this year have been based on what my local library has available on e-book. In total I have read eleven books on motherhood this year, from pregnancy to baby books. What can I say, I like to be as prepared as I can. But here are my top four!

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