On my bedside table, you’ll find a copy of The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. In short, the book is an account of the year Gretchen spent test driving studies and theories on how to be happier. From cleaning closets to finalizing wills to waking her girls in the morning with a song, Gretchen offers the reader dozens of insights into happiness and several suggestions on how to feel happier.
Of these suggestions, perhaps my favorite is: keep a one-sentence journal. As a busy mom of two with a household to run and more or less a full-time job as a writer, Gretchen admits while the idea of a journal is appealing to her, she struggles to actually execute a traditional “paragraphs and pages” journal, even as a writer. So Gretchen, in her infinite wisdom, simply started writing one sentence a day. Perhaps it was the memory of her youngest daughter going up and down a few stairs while on a boat ride, or maybe it was her oldest daughter requesting “pajamas” (toddler-speak for parmesan) on her spaghetti. Regardless, Gretchen’s one-sentence journal is now filled with the “sweets of her day,” it requires only a fraction of her time, and it will be a cherished memento for her family.
I of course couldn’t wait to start my own. I relish any activity that gives me permission to set the dishes aside for two minutes to write, and taking a moment to reflect on my day, recognize the “sweets,” and put pen to paper makes me feel…yes Gretchen, you got it – happy! And another factor in this little happiness equation? The actual journal in which I write. Every year for my birthday, I receive a beautiful Smythson of Bond Street diary from an English girlfriend (a tradition steeped in generosity and thoughtfulness). I tuck a few of my favorite pictures of my children under the cover, and sometimes when I’m not too sure what I’m going to write, just a quick glance at their toothy (and in some instances toothless) grins is all it takes for me to shake hands with inspiration.
Create a one-sentence journal of your own and see whether it makes a difference in your day. Let me know how it goes, and feel free to share some of your entries! Mine for today:
I picked the girls up at aftercare and noticed Little Bear’s handwriting on the chalkboard. Messages as follows:
“I love my sisters.”
“I am a very good drawer.”
“I hope mommy makes homemade pancakes for dinner.”
Oh how tempting to hide the erasers!
Technically more than one sentence, but one perfect sentiment on which to end my day.