Happy Friday to all!
We've all read the research showing that happier people live longer, have a better quality of life, are more successful, etc. So, why not improve our lives with a Happiness Project?? What is a Happiness Project , you may ask??
Thanks to Gretchen Rubin, a lawyer and best-selling author in NYC, I am finding out!
As an aside to studying for my Internal Medicine Board exam, I just started reading Rubin's book, “The Happiness Project” and am feeling quite inspired! In the book, Rubin discusses the need to improve our lives by setting goals that help us achieve happiness. While thoroughly researching the topic, she discovered that happiness is a long sought-after, yet attainable value. She quotes Aristotle and Socrates during their pursuits of happiness and bases her project on Benjamin Franklin’s own version of the same during which he sought to improve his life in multiple areas, including servitude, temperance, solitude, etc. He even made a calendar with checkmarks and goals to help him achieve this! Pretty modern thinking Mr. Franklin!. The experts (including Mr. Franklin) argue that goals are more attainable when written down and posted in front of you.
In Rubin’s project, she created a list of specific areas in which she would like to improve her life (ie, family, friends, mind, body, finances, etc) and set about creating goals that worked to improve them (ie, spend more time with husband, organize bills and financial papers, etc). Using her analytical skills from law school, Rubin systematically broke down the areas into concrete, attainable monthly goals. Each month she would work towards completing that month’s goals and ultimately end up a happier person by the end of the year. (Disclaimer: I have no idea if the plan actually worked as I’ve just begun the book, but I can take an educated guess that she wouldn’t be writing about it if it didn’t...?)
So, here is an attempt at my own Happiness Project and I’d like for you all to join me. I aim to meditate for 5-15 minutes every day, no matter the circumstances (unless I’m traveling). By meditation, I mean focusing on breathing in a quiet room without interruptions. I know that meditation makes me feel good; it decreases my stress and anxiety levels, issues I have struggled with my entire life, by relaxing my often pathologically tight muscles and allowing me to center my focus on my breathing. In taking these five minutes a day to “breathe”, I hope to achieve a better outlook on life and more energy to help others. We all know the world could use more happiness!
Here's a link to Gretchen's website - http://www.happiness-project.com/
This is my first goal. What’s yours?
"Happiness is neither a virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing." -- William Butler Yeats, poet, playwright and Nobel Laureate
Dr. Maltz earned a Medical Degree and Master in Public Health from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, TX. She completed a combined Internal and Preventive Medicine Residency at UTMB in June, 2011. She then completed a 2-year Integrative Medicine Fellowship at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, CT, during which she simultaneously underwent an intensive 1000-hour curriculum created by The University of Arizona Integrative Medicine Program founded by Dr. Andrew Weil.