Last year, I was feeling a bit down in the dumps. My life seemed a bit out of alignment with what I truly wanted for myself, my career and my relationships felt unsatisfying and I was feeling depressed. I was having a happiness slump. One day, I was taking my usual afternoon walk and came across a second-hand bookstore. Something inside me whispered that I should go in. I did and, while perusing the shelves, I stumbled upon a mysterious book called the The Happiness Makeover, how to teach yourself to be happy and enjoy every day by M.J. Ryan. It had to come home with me. I quickly dove in, and, after a few chapters, I knew I had to share this awesome find with my readers. Here’s a short review of this little gem.
The book is divided into 53 short chapters, each one laying out an actionable advice on the topic of happiness. M.J. Ryan talks about neuroscience, money, optimism, relationships, purpose, each chapters a few pages long and loaded with insights and wisdom. The book is very short with less than 200 pages and is a joy to read.
A few takeways
Here are a few takeaways that I would like to retain from The Happiness Makeover.
- Your happiness is your own responsibility. You are not responsible for others’ happiness, and others are not responsible for your own happiness. When you take full ownership of your wellbeing, you get more involved and realize that you have the power to change your circumstances and live the life you truly want. How empowering is that!
- Happiness is not a selfish act, it benefits everyone around us. When we are truly happy, we are more open to others, more generous of your love, time and money and you contribute more to those around you. Happiness is contagious. Being around you when you are happy gives a smile and a positive vibe to your loved ones.
- Appreciate the simple pleasures in life. According to Edward Diener, researcher at the University of Illinois, “happiness is how frequently you’re happy, not how intensely.” If you get to enjoy simple things on a day to day basis, a nice warm bath, a cup of tea curled up with a good book, a glass of wine with a nice meal, taking a walk with your spouse, you get to enjoy a little bit of happiness each day, and will feel happier over time.
- Flow state is a potent way to experience happiness. According to Leo Babauta, author of Zen Habits, flow state is “a state of mind you achieve when you are fully immersed in a task, forgetting about the outside world.” I often experience flow state when I write, or read a fascinating book, or when I create a work of art. Look for the things that give you that feeling of immersion and incorporate more of these activities in your daily life.
- We are not meant to be happy all the time. Life is made of ups and downs, so be grateful for the pleasant moments in your life, and when things get rough, remember that everything is temporary. It can’t rain all the time!
- Practice gratitude. Being grateful for the good in our life allows us to put things into perspective when we feel down. Keep a gratitude journal and write down a thing each day for which you are grateful. When you feel depressed, look at your gratitude list and remember all that’s good in your life. There’s more than you think!
- Be generous. Helping others and giving makes us more happy than focusing on our own happiness. Look for opportunities to give your time, your attention or share something you like with a friend or family member. Not only will you feel happier, but your relationships will also grow closer.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill
The Happiness Makeover concludes with a list of 22 instant happiness boosters that you can implement in a few simple steps. I really enjoy this nice touch at the end of the book and I will come back to this list when I need a little pick-me-up.
The Happiness Makeover is great for its practical, down to earth advice. I dove right in this short read and collected many of the quotations included at the beginning of each chapter. Get your copy and see how it will improve your level of satisfaction and empowerment towards your happiness.
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s article! If you have any book recommendations on the topic of happiness, share them in the comments below! You can get a list of the 10 personal development books that had a profound impact on my happiness by signing up here. As always, you can follow me on Facebook and Instagram to be informed of the new articles coming out! Until next Tuesday, take your happiness in hand!
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