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The Happiness Paradox

The Happiness Paradox

No matter how hard you try, putting a smile on your face can feel like a bit of an impossible feat. Your job has got you down, life has thrown in a few wrenches and all you want is a darn burrito but your favorite joint is closed.

Gretchen Rubin at "The Happiness Project," says being happier is a process full of perfect contradictions.

For example, Rubin subscribes to the idea that you should learn to stop taking yourself so seriously, but also take yourself seriously. At first, you might be saying, "Umm … huh?" Think about it. Perhaps it is possible to find a happy medium between being a Serious Sally and a Reckless Reba. Discover it and you will find happiness, or at least that's what Rubin says.

Here are a few others:

1. Get organized, but also keep that junk drawer. Cleanliness really is next to happiness, but sometimes a little organized chaos can take some of the stress out of always being orderly.

2. Be efficient, but take time to laugh, play and relax. That's because efficiency is key to getting things done, but if that's all you are ever doing, then you will miss out on opportunities to enjoy life which leads to happiness. Duh!

3. Think about yourself, so you can forget about yourself. If you don't take a little time to focus on you, then all of those feeling will just keep nagging at you.

It might seem like a far-fetched notion, but these small changes can make some of the big problems in your life seem a lot more manageable. Rubin also says that you should "Accept yourself, but expect more of yourself" in order to constantly find new happiness.

What little changes do you make when you need to get happy?

Posted: 11/4/08

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I love to play some great music. The right tunes can always get me in a good mood!


I find that I generally just need a full, solid night's sleep to get me back in the right frame of mind. In the morning, I can start with a fresh day and a fresh perspective. I really like the little quote of “accept yourself, but expect more from yourself.” What it really boils down to is “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” Anyone know who said that quote?


Rubin is right-the key to happiness (at least in my experience) is finding balance. I am happy when I'm working hard and accomplishing a lot...but I've also learned to be happy just walking around the city with no destination, putting off laundry to go to a movie, etc. Life is give and take. We need to give ourselves permission to do a little less and live a little more sometimes!

  • By kristen
  • on 11/4/08 3:26 PM EST