The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project describes Gretchen Rubin’s one year journey of resolutions that she kept each month to make herself happier. It’s a very personal memoir documenting her journey, mixed with research findings about happiness. Here are some parts that I resonated with me:

  • Chicken & egg nature of happiness
    • Happy people find it easier to get and stay married than unhappy people do, because happy people make better dates and easier spouses. But marriage itself also brings happiness, because it provides the support and companionship that everyone needs.
    • Being happy energizes you, and at the same time, having more energy makes it easier for you to engage in activities – like socializing and exercise – that boost happiness.
    • Happy outperform the less happy. They work more hours each week, they tend to be more cooperative, less self-centered and more willing to help other people. They work better with others, because people prefer to be around happier people.
    • One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.
  • Marriage
    • Happiness has a particularly strong influence in marriage because spouses pick up each other’s moods so easily.
    • we hugged for at least six seconds, which, I happened to know from my research, is the minimum time necessary to promote the flow of oxytocin and serotonin
    • in marriage, it’s less important to have many pleasant experiences than it is to have fewer unpleasant experiences, because people have a “negativity bias”. It takes at least five good acts to repair the damage of one destructive act.
    • marital satisfaction drops substantially after the first child arrives.
  • Friendship
    • Having strong social bonds is the most meaningful contributor to happiness.
    • Help people think big, words of enthusiasm and confidence from a friend goes a long way
    • You tend to like people who you think like you
    • It’s easier to befriend someone who is already a friend of a friend.
    • Show a vulnerable side and laugh at yourself
    • People are more apt to feel close to a family member who often expresses affection than to one who rarely does
  • Work
    • Enthusiasm is more important to mastery than innate ability, it turns out, because the single most important element in developing an expertise is your willingness to practice.

Overall, it was a quick and interesting read about happiness.

December 5, 2018



sarp centel

Sarp is a software developer. He writes about technology, books and software.
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