The Happiness Formula

If you’ve ever found yourself rifling through the self-help aisle at a bookstore, or sat through a few sessions on, you know there is a shit-ton of advice out there on how to be happy.  There’s even a Happiness Project movement, based on the book by Gretchen Rubin that you can start up with friends and follow. 

And quite honestly, all that information is pretty freakin’ confusing and contradictory.

happiness formula.jpg

For instance, here’s what I’ve gleaned are just some of the things I should be doing on a daily basis to help foster a warm and fuzzy feeling of happiness:

  • Get enough sleep,
  • But get up early to mediate for 20 minutes a day before everyone else wakes up.
  • Take time for myself,
  • But be sure to give my kids and husband my undivided, smart phone-free attention.
  • Work out or be active every day,
  • But don’t overschedule myself.
  • Be optimistic and less negative.  In other words, stop being such a fucking jerk,
  • But don’t be so hard on myself.
  • Have an organized home so that the clutter doesn’t interfere with my chi, and clean my sink daily,
  • But don’t stress out about squeezing in mundane tasks like cleaning and laundry so that I can spend more quality time with my family.

And don’t you know, my curmudgeony self has tried to cram all of this in to any given day in an effort to put more smiles on my face and hopefully piss off the members of my household less.

The only thing I felt at the end of the day was that I was harboring a multiple personality disorder and a filthy kitchen.

Seriously, how can one person fit all of this crap in to any given day?  And still be able to get to bed early enough to wake at the ass crack of dawn to center themselves?

It just seems nearly impossible.  Because by my calculations, there just isn’t enough time in my day.

The formula for happiness is pretty subjective.  What makes me happy may not make my husband happy, or my neighbor happy, or Jason Bateman happy.  Though, maybe Jason Bateman might make my neighbor happy.  How do I know?

But in my search for happiness, I’ve learned that it may or may not be achieved by cramming in an hour of meditation, or sweating my ass off on the treadmill while I eat kale in to what seems to be an already packed schedule.  But instead, sometimes the key to happiness isn’t doing more, but doing less.

Less holding on to the idea that my house needs to be spotless, and that everyone residing in it needs to have the same standards.  Less letting moods fester.  Less letting that little voice in my head feed me with insecurity, anxiety and ammunition.  Less Flappy Birds.

But, don’t get me wrong.  More sweet kisses from the ones I love and pints of Graeter’s Black Raspberry Chip ice cream wouldn’t hurt, either.


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  1. I am completely on board with everything you said about the info out there being contradictory. I’ve decided to follow my own rhythm there and instead of trying to start off with a bang, I’m squeaking in quietly. I’m making a list of things that would help me live more comfortably and should therefore, improve my overall well-being. I have learned that there are fundamental things that make most people feel happier overall and it is in taking care of oneself to whatever extent that might be, having a hobby and being with people that make them laugh and value them. If you could work on anything, these three things would probably be a good place to start. 🙂
    Jen recently posted…Live Well Link-Up: April ChallengeMy Profile

    • I do like you’re “marathon, not a spring” approach to your happiness journey, Jen! I do know that making myself a priority would help my overall mood, but it’s also thing one thing that’s easiest to give up when things get busy and stressful. Great 3 things to start with!

  2. Oh I know what you mean you read so much about what will make you happy but it doesn’t always apply to “you”. That’s one of the things about happiness that what makes one person happy doesn’t make other people happy. Each month I’ve been focusing on different areas of my life and I find that as I move from month to month I can’t seem to continue to do what I did the month before. Like in January I focused on clutter but by mid February things were a mess again but I was doing great with my focus on my February goals. I think that you just have to find the formula that works for you.
    Julia recently posted…April Happiness Project : Live Happy Link UpMy Profile

    • I think maintaining all of that work as you progress from month to month is one of the hardest things! You’d think that once you’ve got something figured out, you’d be able to just build upon it, but in general, I find I can’t remain consistent over time. Baby steps, I guess.