Why I’m Feeling Particularly Happy.

I’ve been working on my happiness project for years, and it makes me very happy that my book, The Happiness Project, or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun, is about to hit the shelves.

It’s an account of the year I spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture. I describe everything that I tried during that year – and what I learned about how to be happier.

The big day is just twenty-one days away!

One of the key things I’ve learned about happiness was the importance of an “atmosphere of growth” to happiness. People are happier when they feel that there is growth in their lives.

Undertaking a big project – whether writing a book, raising a child, tending a garden, renovating a kitchen, learning a language, or mastering a new software program – is a tremendous engine of happiness. Feeling that we’re learning, growing, changing for the better, being useful in the world, mastering challenges, meeting new people, helping others, having new experiences…all these boost happiness.

It’s hard to believe that my book will finally be out in the world. I’ve been working on it, in one form or another, for years. I had an idea to do something big, and I did it. And that is a very happy feeling.

What do you think? Have you been made happier by an “atmosphere of growth” in some aspect of your life?

The days are long, but the years are short.

Gretchen Rubin is the author of the forthcoming book, The Happiness Project.