Saturday, July 29, 2017

100 Ways to Happiness by Timothy Sharp

What if happiness is something you could practice? You co do certain things and those actions would lead to and support happiness. I’m simplifying, but that is the basic premise of psychologist Timothy J. Sharp in 100 Ways to Happiness.

Practice and doing are the aim of the book, so Sharp does not dwell on theory. Of course, many people want to bring more happiness into the lives they have. Only a few of them want to delve into psychology, and there are plenty of other books they can read.

The book is divided into five main sections. It seems to me that this is intended to help people get to the area where they want to increase happiness most and pick up the others later. You can read this book out of sequence. Each section stands on its own and so do many of the short chapters.

I do not mean to imply that the book is shallow. It is not easy to condense a topic into a few pages; most of the chapters are two pages long. I was impressed that Sharp could provide clear, action-oriented summaries of subjects that other books would take many pages to explain. The point is to do something. Instead of thinking about how to be happy, pick a tip that resonates with you and do it. Work on it until it becomes a habit and then work on another.

Some of Sharps tips that resonated with me are:
-Make time to regularly do something you enjoy.
-Make small changes. When you make a small change stick, you can start another. They add up to big changes.
-Practice gratitude. I’m convinced that a grateful attitude is immensely important for a joyful life.
-Move more and take care of your body. Feeling good, rested and healthy contributes to feeling happy.
-Build good relationships. That means making the best of the intimate relationships you have and making friends with positive people who can encourage you to live a happier life.
-Know your values and take action consistent with them.
-Challenge your thoughts and feelings. Are they true? Are they helpful?
-Use your imagination. Sharp suggest several simple ways you can visualize the life you want.

If you’re interested in this book, you may also be interested in

Sharp, Timothy J. 100 Ways to Happiness: A Guide for Busy People. New York: MJF Books, 2008.