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Here’s an article written by Gretchen Rubin (of The Happiness Project fame) that I recently revisited. It is entitled Emergency Tool Kit for Happiness: Take a few measures now and you’ll save yourself stress later. I like it because it is simple and helpful:

When we are stressed out, we tend to become even more stressed out. Why? Because when we are rushing around putting out fires, we don’t take the time to do the little things that can end up saving enormous amounts of time and trouble.
Here’s a list of preventive measures to save yourself stress later. These tasks don’t seem particularly important, and they’re  easy to skip when you’re rushed, but if neglected, they can snowball into major stress. Remember: A little effort now means a lot less stress later.
  • Keep stamps in the house.
  • Keep extra cash in the house.
  • Have a good book to read.
  • Bring a hat and an umbrella.
  • Don’t wear tight pants or uncomfortable shoes.
  • Don’t let yourself get too hungry.
  • Make a list.
  • Always keep your passport in the same place.
  • Always put your keys away in the same place―and keep an extra set of keys.
  • Keep a Band-Aid and a small bottle of pain reliever in your purse.
  • Make your bed.
  • Never let your car’s gas level fall into the ”empty” zone.
  • Have at least one friend who lives in your neighborhood.
  • Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual.
  • Get up 20 minutes earlier than usual.
  • Laugh at yourself.

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Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and who blogs at The Happiness Project blog, has a list of “secrets” of adulthood that she shares in a post. Here are some of them:

Secrets of Adulthood

  • Outer order contributes to inner calm.
  • You manage what you measure.
  • By doing a little bit each day, you can get a lot accomplished.
  • People don’t notice your mistakes and flaws as much as you think.
  • It’s nice to have plenty of money.
  • Most decisions don’t require extensive research.
  • Try not to let yourself get too hungry.
  • If you can’t find something, clean up.
  • Turning the computer on and off a few times often fixes a glitch.
  • It’s okay to ask for help.
  • You can choose what you do; you can’t choose what you LIKE to do.
  • Happiness doesn’t always make you feel happy.
  • What you do EVERY DAY matters more than what you do ONCE IN A WHILE.
  • You don’t have to be good at everything..
  • It’s important to be nice to EVERYONE.
  • You know as much as most people.
  • Eat better, eat less, exercise more.
  • What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you–and vice versa.
  • If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.

Check out the rest here.

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At the Healthy Highway blog, in a post that was adapted from Michelle Schoffro Cook’s The Life Force Diet discusses seven reasons that pomegranates are so great for you:

1.  They are anti-cancer powerhouses.  Studies show protection again breast and lung cancers and a slowing of prostate cancer progression.

2.  They protect your DNA.  Compounds in pomegranates also appear to interact with the body’s genetic material for protection.

3.  They reduce the effects of aging.  Pomegranates are packed with the antioxidant vitamin C—antioxidants help counter free radicals linked to aging and disease.

4.  Pomegranates also contain the healing phytonutrients polyphenols and ellagic acid.

5.  Pomegranate has been shown to be beneficial for osteoarthritis.

6.  Pomegranate may help protect against heart disease by preventing plaque build-up.  Pomegranate also lowers LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and raises HDL cholesterol (the good one).  In people with high blood pressure, research shows that drinking only 1.7 ounces of pomegranate juice per day lowered systolic blood pressure by 5%.

7.  It may prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. In one study, mice that were bred to develop Alzheimer’s disease accumulated significantly less amyloid plaque and performed better on mental tasks than control mice.

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In The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin outlines Four Splendid Truths about life and happiness. The third of these truths is “The days are long but the years are short.”

Courtesy of Photos8.com

This is so true. A friend of mine talked about a similar concept in relation to parenthood. She told me “never wish for the next phase.” A relative of mine used to do this. When his daughter was a little baby, he wished she were older and more able to move around because then she would be more fun. When she was a toddler, her wished she were a little older so that she could carry on a conversation because then she would be more interesting. This attitude continued, until now when his daughter is sixteen, he finally realizes that he has missed a lot of the fun and she is no longer interested because he never found her interesting.

We need to relish each stage of life, even the miserable ones, because they all pass, which also means time is passing.

You can see a short one-minute movie by Gretchen Rubin about her third Splendid Truth by clicking here.

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As you already know, I just finished reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, and I loved it. Now I’ve been visiting her blog, also The Happiness Project, and have found more intriguing information to share with you.

She periodically conducts happiness interviews. One of my favorites is of Bob Sutton, author of The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t and Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best… and Learn from the Worst. He also has a blog at Work Matters.

As Gretchen Rubin says in her introduction to the interview, work and happiness are closely related. Because I find this to be very true, I thought we could all benefit from Bob Sutton’s interview.

My favorite part of the interview is where he encourages being yourself, but to “keep your inner jerk in check.” This quote reminds me of the joke by Bill Cosby. Someone once told him that “cocaine enhances my personality.” His response? “Yeah, but what if you’re an a-hole?!”

I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did, and that you remember to be yourself — your BEST self. 🙂

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The Happiness Project

So I just read The Happiness Project, a great book by Gretchen Rubin. Over the course of a year, she focused on different aspects of her life to improve her happiness. Like many of us, she was inspired by people like Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, and wanted to improve her life in the same way. But unlike Elizabeth Gilbert, Gretchen Rubin has a husband and two young daughters and couldn’t just move to India or Italy or Indonesia to find her happiness and rejuvenate her life. Instead, she decided to make all her improvements as part of her daily life.

This is something with which many of us can identify. Moving to Italy for a year sounds like a great idea – and indeed I’m sure it it. (Though I’d move to France, if I could!) But how many of us can actually make that happen in our lives right now. Thus, The Happiness Project!

Gretchen focused on things like being more patient with her family, overcoming her need to always “get a gold star” when she did something well, and writing a novel. She tried to remember to take the time to have fun and to de-clutter her apartment. Most importantly, her underlying mantra was “Be Gretchen”; not the Gretchen she thought she should be, but the authentic person that she actually is. And all while still being a great mom and wife, daughter and sister, and friend and author.

If you think you might be interested in starting your own “happiness project,” Gretchen has a toolkit with accompanying website where can develop your project and, hopefully, grow your happiness. Or you can start with the book.

Now that I’ve read the book, I think I might start with the toolkit to improve my own happiness.

If you are thinking about doing a happiness project, what would your top three “action items” be?

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I believe that part of feeling good is reducing clutter in your environment. Clutter makes us feel crowded and “heavy.” Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project (more about that great book at a later time), agrees with me. One of the things she has used to reduce clutter and get organized is Lulu.com. So I decided to visit the website.

How exciting it is! You can publish your own books, CDs, DVDs, calendars, and other things. So, for example, if you have piles of your kids’ drawings laying around the house in various places, you can scan them and make a book to keep forever. Or maybe you have recipes in numerous boxes and books throughout your kitchen. You could save all your favorites into one book and reduce the clutter. Or perhaps you need to do something with all those digital photos.

Check out the site. It looks easy and fun! I think I might write an e-book there myself. Or make a wedding picture book. Or maybe a honeymoon picture book. Or maybe….

What will you do?

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