Am I the last person to read Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project? Maybe. But, I tend to watch as the bandwagon marches by my door.
As a blogger focused on hope and mental health promotion, I've been meaning to read The Happiness Project for a while. Rubin took a year of her life to test-drive various strategies for improving happiness. Each chapter chronicles a month of the year. I'm now in chapter 8, the month of August, during which Rubin focused on spirituality.
In it, Rubin analyzes the three strategies she tried as ways to connect with her spiritual side: reading memoirs of catastrophe, keeping a gratitude notebook, and imitating a spiritual master.
I read memoirs of catastrophe all the time. I'm very drawn to catastrophe - crime dramas, ill-fated family sagas, tragic diagnoses. I think all of my friends and family would agree that I'm already using this strategy to advance my happiness. I am, in fact, the girl who brings up catastrophe at a dinner party because I really, really want to talk about it. No matter that talking about subjects like death makes other people uncomfortable.
For someone like me, who is so comfortable contemplating death, loss, or tragedy, Rubin's second strategy - keeping a gratitude notebook - is more of a challenge. Because I'm naturally drawn to, well, negative things, it's harder for me to notice the positive. Sure, part of what I get out of reading about other people's struggles is an appreciation for my good fortune. But, I also have a hard time staying focused on the positive when there is so much negative around me.