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Check It Out: Readers, come on, get happy

June 06, 2013|By Andrea Jason

Happiness — it's a quality we are all looking to find and keep. Although no one is happy all the time, some people appear to feel more fulfilled than others. Being happy with yourself isn't so much about pursuing it, but finding things that you can do to help you recognize your happiness.

Gretchen Rubin, author of "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," described in her 2009 book how she spent a year reaching for measurable goals in different areas of her life, such as work and parenting, to achieve greater happiness.

She outlined her steps--organizing herself, exercising more, going to bed earlier--to help her get there, and the book went on to spend more than two years on bestseller lists. A follow-up title, "Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life," again contemplated the nature of happiness along with simple ways to implement changes to make a house truly a home.

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UC Riverside professor of psychology Sonja Lyubomirsky has written "The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy, But Doesn't, What Shouldn't Make You Happy, But Does" as a follow-up to a previous book on the same subject. In it, the author explains how our assumptions about what will and will not bring us happiness are often wrong. She goes on to explain how "nearly all of us buy into what I call the myths of happiness — beliefs that certain adult achievements (marriage, kids, jobs, wealth) will make us forever happy and that certain adult failures or adversities (health problems, not having a life partner, having little money) will make us forever unhappy."

Covering 10 adult crisis points such as work and money, the author goes on to point out that these can be used as opportunities for renewal, growth and change: "How we respond to crisis moments … may have cascading effects across our lives. In these moments, we choose the future."

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