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The Happiness Project: June is Faith Month

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

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The Happiness Project: June Is Faith Month | Faith Permeating Life

Thanks for bearing with me while I took a short hiatus! My stress level has gone down somewhat and I feel like things are under control for the moment. I had a very busy and stressful work week last week despite working only three days, but then it was over and we had a fantastic time with Mike's friends this past weekend.

I missed June 1, so here's a belated update on my happiness project for this month:
  • January: I am still doing Wii Fit twice a week, taking my vitamins, and flossing. After this ridiculous saga trying to get reimbursed for my vitamins, I have a new doctor's letter in hand and will have to sit down and get my paperwork together again.
  • February: I'm still keeping my gratitude and anticipation journal. Still want to develop a better format.
  • March: Forcing myself to double-check that I have everything I'll need each day has helped alleviate some stress, although I still have days where I'm too rushed and forget things.
  • April: Even though I rarely succeed in paying a compliment, much less striking up a conversation with a stranger, keeping this resolution on my chart continues to push me to talk to others. Also, I'm still ensuring I always have an e-mail draft to a friend, but I need to work on finishing the e-mails sooner.
  • May: My goal of reading funny books was kind of hit-or-miss; my sense of humor must be pretty unique. However, I found that having this focus on laughter in general was good for me. I indulged the desire to click on links to funny videos and articles from friends on Facebook, and when I found myself laughing at something I placed a great value on that moment rather than trying to steer myself back to more serious matters. We've been playing a lot of board games with friends and family the last few weeks, which generally leads to a lot of laughter, and I consider that time to be incredibly important, especially as we don't often get to spend time with a group of friends or family.

My goal for June is to focus on my faith. This may seem paradoxical for me, since I believe in faith "permeating life" rather than being its own separate category, but I think it could be really valuable for me to intentionally focus on my faith for a month, as this can be a great source of happiness for me. I have two main goals:
  • Pray with Mike every night. This is something we used to do and just got away from. It's difficult because we don't go to bed at the same time, but I want to make it a priority because it's a tangible reminder for us that God is the center of our relationship. It's also just a nice way for us to recap our day, cultivate gratitude, and share our thoughts and concerns with one another.
  • Read Bible-based books. I decided not to make my goal "Read the Bible" both because I'm less likely to follow through with it and because I feel I get more out of engaging with someone else's thoughts on the Bible. Without having easy access to a Bible study group right now, I think this is a good option. And it brings me back to something I used to love when I was younger, which Gretchen often cites as a way to pinpoint sources of happiness. I used to head straight for the Christian or Religion section whenever I'd go to a bookstore. I found that section of our library and discovered this gem: The Year of Living Biblically. I figured it was a good one to start with since it's Bible-based (literally), supposed to be very funny (in keeping with May's resolution), and it's a "yearlong project" book, in line with the whole Happiness Project thing.

At the end of June I am going to revisit my whole list of resolutions to figure out which resolutions I want to carry forward into the second half of the year. Then I'll develop my resolution charts for July through December. I have ideas for four more areas to focus on, so I'll need to figure out two more by then. Suggestions welcome!

If you can think of additional simple ways I can focus on increasing happiness through faith this month, please share in the comments!

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