When I started The Happiness Project blog, something worried me: I feared that people who faced major happiness challenges – like a serious illness, job loss, chronic pain, divorce, addiction, depression — would be put off by this site. Would they think: Who was I to talk about happiness, when everything in my life was fine? How helpful could my views be, unless I faced circumstances that made it very difficult to be happy?
I realized, however, that one of my main goals for my happiness project was to prepare for adversity — to develop the self-discipline and the habits to deal with a bad thing when it happened. Because that wheel was going to turn. The time to start exercising, stop nagging, and work on photo albums, I decided, is when everything was going smoothly; I didn’t want to wait for a crisis to re-make my life.
Since March 2006, when this blog launched, I’ve been very gratified to hear from many readers who wrote to let me know that the strategies I talk about here did help them during particularly hard times. I’d be very interested to hear people’s views on this topic. Are you more likely to think about happiness – and to take action to try to build happiness – when everything in your life is going well, or when you’re facing a catastrophe?
If you’re facing a catastrophe, does it help to think about taking little, ordinary steps to build happiness (having lunch with a friend, making your bed in the morning, going outside for a quick walk)? Or are activities like that dwarfed by the magnitude of what you’re facing?
My hope is that the Happiness Project (blog and book) can help people trying to be happier within their ordinary life, and also help people trying to be happier in the context of a major happiness challenge.
If some particular resolution or approach has helped you deal with a big happiness challenge, I’m sure it would be helpful for everyone to hear about what worked for you – if it’s not too private.
Lots of interesting material at My Simpler Life.
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