I’ve spent the last year reading books of the motivational and self-help variety in an attempt to figure out what I want to shape myself into now that I’ve given myself the freedom to do so (i.e. ex-Mormonism).
The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k
Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage
Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time
You Are a Badass
Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha
The Energy Bus
The Obstacle is the Way
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
The How of Happiness
That last book is just what I’ve been searching for.
The Living Happy Experiment
My current happiness level based on the Subjective Happiness Scale: 3.25. By the end of the year I want that level to be at least a 5.5. That’s why I’m launching the Living Happy Experiment – A year-long experiment in testing out scientifically-based methods aimed at improving average happiness levels, based on the book The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomisky.
I would love to have you join me! Each participant will rate their current happiness level using the Subjective Happiness Scale, and then take the Person-Activity Fit Diagnostic to determine which happiness-inducing-activities will be the best fit based on preferences, values, and individual situations. I highly recommend that each participant read/listen to The How of Happiness as well, but that step is not mandatory due to the support that will be provided through the group of participants as a whole.
Together we’ll conquer the following, one activity & one month at a time starting with Committing To Your Goals and personalizing the order based on the results of the Person-Activity Fit Diagnostic:
Avoiding Overthinking and Social Comparison
Practicing Acts of Kindness
Nurturing Social Relationships
Developing Strategies for coping
Learning to Forgive
Increasing Flow Experiences
Savoring Life’s Joys
Committing to Your Goals
Practicing Religion and Spirituality
Taking Care of Your Body
State objective. Post in Facebook group sharing what you’ll be doing for weeks 2-3. Find your category buddies.
Test Method 1
Continue Method 1 OR test Method 2
Continue method(s) if it’s working for you. Post in Facebook group sharing what you learned throughout the month, what you’ll keep or discard in your life, and give a shoutout to another member of the group who helped you in some way.
Have you heard the theory that each individual has a “set point” for their weight? I have embraced this idea for myself, and it explains why I have consistently weighed between 155-165 lbs for the last eight years no matter if I’m exercising or testing out one diet or another (excepting pregnancy, an experience that seems to have a set point weight of its own!). I’m happier now that I have accepted that my weight isn’t solely determined by how much I restrict and abstain.
Sonja Lyumbomirksy introduced me to the idea that happiness can be thought of in much the same way. In The How of Happiness she argues that 50% of our happiness is determined by this genetic set point, 10% is determined by our life circumstances (wealth, health, relationship status, etc), and the remaining 40% is up to each of us to determine through our behavior. The activities and thought patterns we engage in on a regular basis can shift our happiness levels to where we’d like them to be.
My average happiness level has been rising since my postpartum days, but it still feels lower than my childhood and college range, and I experience erratic and sharp dips on a regular basis. I’m approaching life with a reactionary mindset and this yearlong endeavor is an attempt to reshape my behaviors, thought patterns, and reactions to help me maintain the happiness range I desire (and believe that I’m capable of).
Will you join me? If we team up and plow through together we’re much more likely to make it all the way to the end of this year of happiness exploration. When the year is over we’ll each have a personalized toolbox of methods we can reach for whenever we feel our happiness level dropping.
The How of Happiness.
Lyubomirsky, S., Sheldon, K.M., and Sckkade, D. (2005). Pursuing happiness: The architecture of sustainable change. Review of General Psychology. 9:111-31.
How to Join
1. Join the Living Happy Facebook group
2. Follow Living Absolutely on Instagram (Instagram stories is where I’ll be sharing updates and doing Live broadcasts!)
3. Sign up below for the monthly Living Happy Newsletter (intended jumpstart involvement in case you forget about the challenge when life gets busy)
4. Read/Listen to the How of Happiness book (semi-optional)
5. Determine your score on the Subjective Happiness Scale
6. Take the Person-Activity Fit Diagnostic (set aside at least 30-45 minutes for this step)
7. Determine your personal approach to the 12 Months of Happiness Activities
Any questions will be answered in the Living Happy FB group. Cheers to a happier New Year!