Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Ritual And Happiness

According to my Book List 2012, I was reading Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project in February of 2012 and I was quoting it that same month. I really liked the book and have since passed it on to friends to read. Teri liked it. K had a very adverse reaction to it and in fact couldn't finish reading it. I do agree with many of K's points but I still found the suggestions insightful.

I just started another 'self-help' style book by Rubin, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. I love rituals and routines (I don't like to think of them as habits, though they are) so it has been an enjoyable read so far.

My love of rituals drew me to the title of a recent Time magazine article: 4 Rituals That Will Make You Happy, According to Neuroscience. As detailed in the article, these rituals are:
- Feeling gratitude
- Labeling negative emotions
- Making decisions 
- Touching 

I am pretty good at the middle two on that list. I am very decisive, which eliminates a lot of the worry, anxiety, and stress that I see in less decisive people. Years of therapy, with various practitioners, has helped me identity things I am feeling and I try to acknowledge them aloud. I don't really like 'touching' and am not a fan of hugging. Luckily, I think Jason fills enough of that component to keep my happy.

The thing that I really really need to work on is the first point of the article - gratitude. It shows up everywhere as an important factor in happiness!! Scientist prove it all the time that it helps with depression and anxiety. It isn't that I take things for granted (though I do) it is just that the idea of gratitude doesn't have a permanent place in my life. Actually, with less and less people practicing religion, rarely does anyone take time to be grateful for the things in their lives. "Things I am grateful for" seems like a boring journal or blog to keep but is scientifically proven as beneficial to do. I need to work on it somehow.

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