Friday, November 11, 2011

happiness interview . . . with myself

happiness project style
i'm not shy about my love for the happiness project: the book, the blog, and the ideas behind both. one of my favorite elements on the blog are the weekly happiness interviews, where gretchen rubin will choose a writer/artist/mover-and-shaker and publish their answers to a series of happiness-themed questions. for whatever reason, i always find it fascinating to hear what makes other people happy -- from the simple to the sublime.

today, as i read the interview, i thought about how i would answer the questions. since i'm pretty sure i'm not high on gretchen's interview invite list, i figured -- why not just answer them?

so, here goes . . .

What’s a simple activity that consistently makes you happier?
there are so many! but on a regular basis, i would have to say running. on some morning runs, i even get a little bit euphoric -- particularly when the sun is sparkling and i'm out in nature and just feeling good. the endorphin buzz lasts, too -- often throughout much of the workday. one thing i've learned in recent times is that it doesn't take a long distance to have this effect; just 30 minutes can make a huge difference in my mindset, outlook, and level of calm.

What’s something you know now about happiness that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?
at 18, i was so concerned with what others thought about me that i rarely stopped to think about what i truly wanted for myself. i didn't know it was possible to enjoy a day completely alone [once in a while, anyway]. while i still struggle with this at times, i have become so much more comfortable with myself, and that alone has made me a great deal happier.

Is there anything you find yourself doing repeatedly that gets in the way of your happiness?
obsessing about things in the future -- often things that i have little control over. i am happier when i remember to stop and just enjoy today.

Is there a happiness quotation that has struck you as particularly insightful? Or a particular book that has stayed with you?
That it will never come again
Is what makes life so sweet.
~Emily Dickinson

so simple, but this quote reminds me that life is finite and short, and that alone makes it precious.

If you’re feeling blue, how do you give yourself a happiness boost? Or, like a “comfort food,” do you have a comfort activity?
i have a few things i tend to gravitate towards. oddly enough, sometimes making a list helps if i'm really just feeling overwhelmed. sometimes writing a spill-it-all-out blog post makes me feel better. crying can feel therapeutic, too! my mindless comfort activity is lying on the couch and reading blogs and watching trash tv. it's an escape [and sometimes that's necessary], but doesn't really work.

Is there anything that you see people around you doing or saying that adds a lot to their happiness, or detracts a lot from their happiness?
yes. rushing around/overcommitting/playing the 'i'm busier than you' game. but i admit i feel judgmental saying that!

Have you always felt about the same level of happiness, or have you been through a period when you felt exceptionally happy or unhappy – if so, why? If you were unhappy, how did you become happier?
i think my personal happiness-meter has always been set somewhere towards the higher end, but i became much happier when at the beginning of medical school when i met josh! there have also been times when fairly external circumstances made me quite unhappy. crashing my car. 30-hour shifts in the PICU. but as you know, it was TTC that sent me into what i can now see was quite a depressed state. what can i say? i'm definitely not immune to outside influences on my happiness level. maybe someday . . .

Do you work on being happier? If so, how?
yes, and i'm not ashamed to admit it! this is something i have thought about a lot over the past couple of years especially [in part inspired by gretchen rubin's book]. i like to examine my daily routines -- the things i do every day -- to see what works to make me happier, and what does not. i also think that blogging causes me to analyze my actions/life in a way that i probably wouldn't take the time to otherwise, and it helps me to identify patterns that lead to happiness [or take away from it!].

that was fun! you should all play, too: how do you give yourself a happiness boost? do you work on being happier? the questions are fun to think through and i'd love to hear some other perspectives.

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11.10.11

workout: lovely 3-miler, 10:03/mi.

clean eating's chicken tikka masala
i love clean eating mag for its pretty layouts and interesting ideas. but -- i'm gong to be completely honest here -- for the most part, i don't think that their recipes are as well-written as those in cooking light.

chicken marinated in a spiced yogurt + grilled, plus a tomato-based curry sauce

this worked well enough, but the finished product lacked a certain pizazz for me.

espanol: check

endo: finally finished the ambiguous genitalia chapter -- that monster was nearly 40 pages. i'm a bit behind schedule, but the schedule was randomly imposed by . . . me, so i think that's ok.