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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Finding happiness in its simplest form

People often forget to appreciate what is right in front of them, including the people they surround themselves with.  When Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project,” realized she did not appreciate her wonderful life, she set out to change her attitude.

Rubin started her “Happiness Project” when she realized that she was about to waste her life away when she stopped appreciating the good things in her life.  She decided to become responsible for her own happiness and was able to make little changes in her life that improved her quality of life.  Rubin drew on philosophers and other religions that have studied what they believed were the origins of happiness.  Using this research, as well as statistics on happiness and well-being, Rubin discoverd simple ways to increase happiness.

Most people cannot abandon everyday obligations to go on a soul search around the world to find joy, as Elizabeth Gilbert did in “Eat, Pray, Love.”  Rubin’s book provides simple things possible for happiness and goals that can be set to achieve a happier state.  Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” first started out as a blog for her experiment to find new ways to be happy.  She has now turned that experience into a best-selling book.  Rubin made the decision to spend one year consciously pursuing happiness.  Every month, she tackled one specific aspect of her life – marriage, attitude, parenting – and attempted to [some related] resolutions that she hoped would make her happier.

Through her warm and engaging style, Rubin provides lots of information and statistics from her research into achieving happiness and well-being.  Neatly woven into her account of her progress toward happiness, she presents this research in casual prose that makes readers think and encourages them to find happiness.  For example, exercising every day helps prevent dementia and allows people to feel better in the morning.  Along with her research, Rubin also includes anecdotes from her life, the comments and opinions of her blog readers and the people she meets.  These stories help add color to the topics she covers while also showing her journey to happiness.

With all her research, Rubin challenges the belief that money cannot buy happiness.   She proves this through the idea of growth. Growth makes people happy, so if a person were to have more money than he or she did last year, they would be happier. Money becomes the source of that happiness.  Even the joy of giving a gift to someone can stem from money as it almost becomes akin to buying joy.

This book provides some of the many ways people have to try and be happier.  By just changing something like an attitude to how people can approach specific situations, it can have a positive effect on an entire community.  Rubin reminds her readers that the days are long, but the years are short.  Rather than complaining about the long days, people should have a positive attitude, and these individual years will be much more enjoyable.

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