In The Happiness Project, both a best-selling book and popular blog, author Gretchen Rubin takes a whole year to explore various techniques for adding joy to and removing stress from her life. She identifies several aspects of life such as marriage, friendships, parenting, work, money, play, and passion, creating resolutions for each area and then chronicling her experiences as she works through them monthly.
The book and blog have some really interesting and concrete suggestions of even small steps you can take to feel happier, more organized, and more grateful. Here are just a few of Rubin’s experiments: going to bed earlier (and how she accomplishes this!), giving “proofs of love” to her husband, taking time to be silly, starting a gratitude journal. Readers are also encouraged to come up with their own happiness projects.
Rubin’s September task is to “pursue a passion.” What’s so important about pursing a passion? Rubin remarks, “happiness research predicts that making time for a passion and treating it as a real priority instead of an ‘extra’ to be fitted into a free moment (which many people practically never have) will bring a tremendous happiness boost” (p. 223).
For the author, this resolution is simple; she knows what her passion is: she loves books – reading, writing, and even making them. Identifying a passion is not easy for everyone. In fact, Rubin learns from her blog readers that the question “what’s your passion” can “seem so large and unanswerable that [people] feel paralyzed” (p. 223). Rubin says,
If so, a useful clue to finding a passion to pursue, whether for work or play, is to ‘Do what you do.’ What you enjoyed doing as a ten-year-old, or choose to do on a free Saturday afternoon, is a strong indication of your passion… ‘Do what you do’ is helpful because it points you to examining your behavior rather than your self-conception and therefore may be a clearer guide to your preferences (p. 223).
Have you discovered your passion and taken steps to make it a priority in your life? We’d love to hear about your experience. Not sure what your passion is? Check out Psychology Today‘s five steps to finding it.
Photo by Flickr user CHEZ ANDRE 1 (via Creative Commons)