US Catholic Faith in Real Life

If you're happy and you know it...

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Clap your hands, but if you’re not happy, do something about it.  Gretchen Rubin has tested out all the advice she can find about being happy—religious, scientific, philosophical—and she reveals what works and doesn’t (at least for her) in a blog and forthcoming book called The Happiness Project. Just like with faith, it turns out it’s easier to hold yourself to happiness if you have a community.  I recently found out about the Happiness Project from Renee Schafer Horton, a Catholic who writes "God blogging" for the Tucson Citizen and has started her own virtual support group. She and others have followed Rubin’s lead in setting commandments and resolutions and discussing them on “Happiness Wednesday.”  Today she's discussing how we sometimes avoid happiness, but she also just posts fun things on Wednesday, such as Stuff Christians Like. The project reminds me of Michael J. Fox’s Adventures of an Incurable Optimist, which aired a few months ago on ABC. The video is no longer available, but you can read his inspirational message in his book as well.  I also personally recommend Finding Happiness to try to become as happy as monks.  As a former volunteer, I was happy to learn while writing about full-time Catholic volunteers that 54 percent of former Jesuit Volunteer Corp members were “very happy” versus 36 percent of the general population.    It goes to show that being happy isn’t just about yourself—as Renee shows with her commandment to “be kind”—but about how you treat others.