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My Happiness Project – March & April

Today the internet seems to be flooded with happiness, thanks to the fact that many bloggers have chosen the word Happiness for the letter ‘H’ on  Day 8 of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.

I am merely continuing my happiness project reports that I started in January. I missed writing one for March, so I’m combining the two months today.

my happiness project

I didn’t actually launch a blog (that was Gretchen’s plan). Instead I took a hard look at this blog and re-evaluated what was working and what was not. I tweaked a lot things to make sure there was an improvement in loading time and Alexa ranking. And yes, I did reach out and ask for help when I needed it.  But the best thing I did in March was to ‘enjoy now’.  Our week long holiday at Mahabaleshwar consisted of sleeping, eating and reading and taking short trips around that beautiful place. The perfect recipe for happiness – add to that my choice of ‘disconnecting’ from blogging and social media and it was blissful.

Then the madness of preparing for the  A to Z challenge took over and before I knew it we were in April.

myhappinessproject_april2014

Now this is a tough one. As you know I’m not a parent to begin with. But I can think of a few things I can certainly do – starting with, parenting myself. I need to focus a little lot more on my health and spend more time offline. If I were to take the A-Z as a project, then I’m doing that – but I don’t have the joy I had when we did it last year.  I definitely need more time for introspection and writing.

I am also struck by this ‘acknowledge the reality of people’s feelings’. Often, I think I know exactly how another person feels – I guess and respond based on that. Not a very good thing to do at all. I can see some amount of self-protection rearing its head in my interactions with others and this not ‘me’. I need to get back to being the way I was with people – more spontaneous, more open – but minus the naivete of my past.

Whoever said that happiness was easy, huh? Seems to be a lot of hard work! You’ll find an interesting perspective on the ‘skills of happiness’ in a book I recently reviewed – Happiness: The Art of Living With Peace Joy And Confidence. Vidya Sury says that Happiness is a habit. I agree.

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It seems like I’m in heaven –   I get  free books and blog about them. Another cause for happiness, no?

Today I’m doing a review of a book based on my belief that nothing brings happiness like having a good belly laugh. This one I received from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

So here is Laugh Your Way to Happiness: The Science of Laughter for Total Well-Being by Leslie Lyle.

Synopsis – Lesley Lyle presents the surprising scientific evidence that reveals the importance of laughter for our mental and physical health, our prosperity, our relationships, our careers – in fact, every aspect of our lives. Drawing inspiration from Laughter Yoga, a movement founded in India by Dr Madan Kataria that uses laughter and breathing exercises to bring about changes in the health and well-being of thousands of individuals, Lesley reveals:

The scientific evidence of laughter’s beneficial effects on our health, including lowering blood pressure and improving concentration

The emotional aspects of laughter and how it can alleviate anxiety, stress and depression

The spiritual aspects of laughter and how it can help provide a sense of connection and wholeness

My views – While I’m all for laughter and fun, I take issue to laughing for the sake of laughing – especially the type that is doled out by the Laughter Yoga Movement of Dr Kataria. I’ve attended a couple of sessions of this at Jindals and just couldn’t get myself to laugh when I’m told to. Anyone who knows me, will tell you that I’ll laugh till I’m red in the face at the silliest of things – however, something in me just refuses to do these exercises!

So as nice as this book might be, I don’t buy the concept. What made it worse for me was Lesley including emails from Dr Kataria, that ended with “Ha ha ho ho ha ha”. I think that was carrying the joke too far! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ll be honest and tell you I skimmed through this book. Don’t get me wrong the whole concept might appeal to someone else and the writing and presentation of the of book are fine. Only I was the wrong person to read it.

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To completely contradict what I said about happiness being hard work (I was not serious about that), let me remind you that happiness is all about the simple pleasures – enjoying and learning to draw happiness and contentment from them.

wisdom from a flower

A Zen roshi is dying. All of the monks gather-and eagerness restrained-around the deathbed, hoping to be chosen as the next teacher. The roshi asks slowly, Where is the gardener?”
“The gardener,” the monks wonder aloud. “He is just a simple man who tends the plants, and he is not even ordained.”
“Yes,” the roshi replies. “But he is the only one awake.
He will be the next teacher.”

Happiness is learning to ‘stay awake’ – to be aware of all that’s wonderful around and within us. Life is good, and happiness can be simple!

What does happiness mean to you?

This post is written for the letter ‘H’ for the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014. Jose and I are doing the challenge on our From 7Eight too.

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55 Comments

  1. Carol Cassara Carol Cassara April 12, 2014

    Laughter IS the best medicine and is contagious–a great way to make the world a happier place.

  2. Sulekha Sulekha April 11, 2014

    Happiness for me is knowing all my loved ones are happy. I wake up and say a prayer for all my near and dear ones, they mean the world to me and if all is well with them, I am the happiest person in the world ๐Ÿ™‚
    Happiness is also writing and sharing my honest thoughts, without editing but not many can take it so I am not truly happy sometimes when I am cautious while writing.
    I too cannot laugh when told to, I might laugh at them instead of with them ๐Ÿ™‚ Great post, Corinne.

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 11, 2014

      Thanks for sharing, Sulekha. I can totally identify what you are saying.

  3. Psych Babbler Psych Babbler April 11, 2014

    Loved this line: “Happiness is learning to โ€˜stay awakeโ€™ โ€“ to be aware of all thatโ€™s wonderful around and within us. Life is good, and happiness can be simple!” I completely agree…if we increase our awareness and notice things in life as well as within, happiness will come! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 11, 2014

      Yes, I think awareness is so important in every aspect of our life.

  4. Eli Eli April 11, 2014

    Its so necessary to be in charge of own happiness. To own it, and not blame others if you’re not happy and not allow others to take your happiness away:-) And yes, the little things.. the everyday happiness .. Enjoy this moment:-) This was one of the most beautiful posts on happiness I read today Corinne – it made me happy and smile:-)

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 11, 2014

      Thank you so much, Eli. You make me happy! I have a lot to learn from you and I mean that sincerely.

  5. Proactive Indian Proactive Indian April 11, 2014

    Happiness can be found in the smallest of things, sometimes in the unlikeliest places. One has only to look for it.

    While I agree that laughter is good for us, it has to be genuine, not contrived or forced.

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 11, 2014

      Yes, the good news is that we can find happiness – it’s all up to us!

  6. Betsy/Zen Mama Betsy/Zen Mama April 11, 2014

    Corrine,
    Your blog made me happy today!! Thanks for the smile!!

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 11, 2014

      Thank you so much, Zen. Your blog always makes people happy. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Kathy Combs ( Kathy Combs ( April 11, 2014

    Sometimes the tiniest things can make you happy. Sometimes writing can make you happy, and sometimes getting far away from it can make you even happier. I love that you are doing what you need to do to be happy. Life is entirely too short to not be happy! Laughter is the best medicine for everything but sometimes people try to hard to be funny…and that just isn’t a bit funny…LOL.

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 11, 2014

      Well said, Kathy. We must find what makes us happy and follow that.

  8. Stepheny Houghtlin Stepheny Houghtlin April 11, 2014

    Visiting on the 10th day of the #atozchallenge. Learning interesting new things on this blog hop day. Congratulations on your blog/theme. If you have time or interest, I am writing about gardening and related topics this month. Come and visit.

  9. Vanessa Vanessa April 11, 2014

    Stay happy and good luck with NaBloPoMo ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Martha Orlando Martha Orlando April 11, 2014

    Laughter is healing, indeed, but I agree that it can’t be forced. It needs to come from deep within as genuine and real. And, happiness? It is found in the little things in life; I’ll have a post later this month focusing on that very thing.
    Blessings, Corinne!

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 11, 2014

      Actually the Laughter Yoga is quite funny when you’re not a part of it, Martha! ๐Ÿ˜‰
      Looking forward to your post.

  11. Caroline Caroline April 10, 2014

    You are so right. Happiness is all about the simple pleasures in life. There is always so much to be happy about. I also like your parenting yourself by taking care of your health and being offline more. Those are great goals. I need to work on the later as I have an online business and am one with my computer. If you need help or inspiration with taking care of your health, I invite you to check out my FB page called XLvita.

  12. Krithika Rangarajan Krithika Rangarajan April 10, 2014

    Hey Corinne

    I stumbled onto your wondrous article from the Facebook Blog Challenge Group Page.

    This is a classic example of a *straight from the heart* post, brimming with insights and wisdom that are doled out with a dollop of humor and loads of love! Muaaah

    “Happiness is learning to โ€˜stay awakeโ€™ โ€“ to be aware of all thatโ€™s wonderful around and within us. Life is good, and happiness can be simple!”

    Oh darling – this is the MOST PROFOUND definition of happiness I have ever come across. Yeah, why do adults complicate the heck out of everything. #hehe

    KISS – Keep It Sweet and Simple – works every time ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I always say, “laugh without inhibitions, love without boundaries and live every second like it’s your last” – in other words, be a baby at heart ๐Ÿ˜€

    LOVEd this post and – dare I say – LOVE YOU too! #HUGSSSSS

    Thank you so much
    Kitto

    PS: Can I Friend you on Facebook?! I trust my instincts when it comes to online relationships, and I am already sure that you are a fabulous person! And I give the BEST HUGS! hehehehe #ShamelessKit

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 11, 2014

      Thanks for your very warm and friendly comment, Krithika. So glad this resonated with you.

  13. Ananya Kiran Ananya Kiran April 10, 2014

    Thanks Corinne for this beautiful HAPPY post !
    Yes ultimately whats the point of living a life which had no joy.
    I wish and pray that you stay healthy and Happy ๐Ÿ™‚ and continue to spread happiness as easily as you do now !

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 11, 2014

      Thank you, Ananya. I wish you everything wonderful too.

  14. Cristina Cristina April 10, 2014

    For me, happiness is more about an inner peace, or joy. My view on happiness is that it is fleeting, or connected to an external event that causes the happiness, whereas joy comes from a trust (for me) in God and knowing that He won’t leave me in the lurch!

    As far as laughing, that my medicine for everything. If it wasn’t I’d be a mess of memories and clumps of hurt on the floor.

    ๐Ÿ™‚ ha ha ha ho ho ho ho hee hee hee (just kidding – I know you weren’t thrilled with that, but maybe my exaggeration made you laugh!)

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 11, 2014

      Ha ha ha…Cristina. ๐Ÿ˜‰
      You know you absolutely radiate that joy and I’m so glad I ‘found’ you. โ™ฅ

  15. My Inner Chick My Inner Chick April 10, 2014

    **Happiness is learning to โ€˜stay awakeโ€™ โ€“ to be aware of all thatโ€™s wonderful around and within us. Life is good, and happiness can be simple!**

    beautiful sentence, Corinne. xx

  16. Loni Townsend Loni Townsend April 10, 2014

    Wonderful post, Corinne. I relate to your statement about being unable to laugh just for laughter’s sake. In some ways, that seems inauthentic, almost cheapening the true joy you get when you find something humorous.

    As a parent, I’ve come to hoard my online time, because once I’m home for the day or off on the weekends, computer time is almost nonexistent. But I suppose that forced offline-ness does help keep me sane (and happy).

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 11, 2014

      Thanks, Loni. I perfectly understand what you are saying. We need to exchange lives for a few days, no? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. Aditi Aditi April 10, 2014

    Love this post Corinne!! Happiness indeed is a habit, a state of mind! The Zen story – superb! ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Michelle Liew Michelle Liew April 10, 2014

    Happiness is indeed a lot of hard work and takes conscious choice!

  19. simple girl simple girl April 10, 2014

    Cannot say what happiness means to me exactly.. I am as of now trying to grasp the fact that happiness is a choice and trying to incorporate it in my life.. It is however great to read such inspiring post..

  20. Shilpa Garg Shilpa Garg April 10, 2014

    Happiness is definitely an inside job. It starts and ends with the way we think about and respect, ourselves and others. Love your Happiness Project and how you are striving to bring about changes. Learnt a new thing again about Parenting self. I think it is the bestest thing we can gift to ourselves but we rarely do it!

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 10, 2014

      Thanks, Shilpa. I’m wondering if you started on the book yet? ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Shailaja V Shailaja V April 10, 2014

    Corinne, I love that statement that you make about ‘parenting’ yourself. How often we forget to do that, me especially! I just sit around, wishing my mom were there to take care of me ๐Ÿ™‚

    And yes, I cannot laugh on command. There is a laughter club here in our apartment and Gy and I giggle every morning, when we pass them on our way to the bus stop. Maybe it works for them, but not me, sorry.

    Good luck with the project, Corinne. Sounds lovely!

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 10, 2014

      Glad you liked this, Shailaja. I’m imagining you and Gy giggling at the Laughter Club – maybe they’ve succeeded? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  22. Beloo Mehra Beloo Mehra April 10, 2014

    Lovely, lovely, and lovely! The part you wrote for your April project touched me deeply. There is a very honest quality to your writing there, I felt. I loved reading that passage. And the last part about confusing forced laughter with happiness is also very interesting. And that Zen story – aah, absolutely great! Happiness, to me, is also about something like a quietness inside, more of a joy that is more serene. I can never ever relate to the kind of humor/laughter/happiness being promoted by the comedy channels or most of what goes by the name of stand-up comedy. No offense to anyone who likes that kind of entertainment, but I personally don’t find casual entertainment as a source of much happiness. I find happiness in finding my new plant doing well in the garden, in discovering that the turquoise blue color I decided for that rattan bench in my courtyard actually did come out nice, etc. etc…. But yes sometimes laughing out loud on silly things does give me a good release too ๐Ÿ™‚ Really enjoyed this introspective post, Corinne!

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 10, 2014

      Thank you, Beloo. I do try to be authentic about what I share – especially with regard to myself and my journey. I’m glad you spotted that.
      And yes, our joy does come from the littlest things – thanks for sharing yours. Turquoise blue rattan bench? Would love to see that! ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. nabanita nabanita April 10, 2014

    I need to make a happiness project too…Too many things happening not really to my liking…Maybe I just need this!

  24. Monica Deshpande Monica Deshpande April 10, 2014

    Corinne, you’ve inspired me to think about monthly projects and break up my long wish list into smaller and fun chunks. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks a bunch.

    I love that thought about parenting yourself. With an energetic toddler around, it’s easy to forget.

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 10, 2014

      Thanks, Monica. I have a feeling you’ll love Gretchen Rubin’s book which inspired me to do this. You can find more information here: http://www.gretchenrubin.com/

      Oh yes, when you have kids I’m sure it’s difficult to remember to take care of yourself – but you must. Hugs.

      • Monica Deshpande Monica Deshpande April 11, 2014

        Thanks, Corinne. It sounds right up my street. I’ve subscribed to the mailing list and will find the book. Many thanks!
        Hope your feet are behaving themselves. Hugs back to you!

        • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 11, 2014

          Glad you liked it, Monica. And I’m better – thanks for asking!

  25. Meena Menon Meena Menon April 10, 2014

    For now happiness to me is digging into tht pork chops which is marinated n ready …… SLURP!

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 10, 2014

      Mmmm…I hope they turn out well! I need pictures to go with that recipe, please. ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Vidya Sury Vidya Sury April 10, 2014

    I love this post on many levels, but primarily because it is about finding happiness in simple things – and so I’d say, yes – it is easy because happiness is a choice, after all.

    I take exception to being ordered to laugh. In fact, i realized I don’t have to be, since I am laughing most of the time even at things that don’t warrant laughter.

    When I downloaded the book, i was excited about the cover. But was a wee bit disappointed with it. And funny you should mention the ha ha ho ho sign off. Ugh.

    Loved the post, Corinne. And I especially love the parenting self. Something we’d all do well to remember.

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 10, 2014

      Thanks, Vidya. And yes, happiness is a choice, and one that we need to make almost on daily basis.
      Glad you felt the same way about the book! We don’t need anyone to make us laugh, do we?

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