Jump!

How to be happier.
Dec. 18 2009 6:40 AM

Jump!

I’m working on my Happiness Project, and you could have one, too ! Everyone’s project will look different, but it’s the rare person who can’t benefit. Join in—no need to catch up, just jump in right now. Each Friday’s post will help you think about your own happiness project.

My feet rarely leave the ground. For exercise, I use the stationery bike, the Stairmaster, yoga, and weight-training. I walk everywhere. I almost never run up the stairs or hop over puddles.

/blogs/happinessproject/2009/12/18/jump/jcr:content/body/slate_image
Advertisement

I think I need more jumping in my life.

A friend told me that she started doing five jumping-jacks each morning, to jar herself awake, and I’ve resolved to add that as a New Year’s resolution – just before I sit down at my computer each morning. That will be a good way to get a few jumps in before my day starts.

Jumping seems energetic, healthy, cheerful, fun. As I waited outside the door of my daughter’s nursery school class the other day, I saw one mother give a little skip as she walked down the hallway -- and I was struck by the exuberant charm of that little unconscious gesture.

Philippe Halsman , a photographer responsible for more than a hundred Life covers, was famous for his "jump pictures." He asked people like Richard Nixon, John Steinbeck, and the Duchess of Windsor to jump for their portraits. It is exhilarating to look at these photographs; they radiate energy.

One of the most important things I’ve learned from my happiness project is my Third Commandment, to Act the way I want to feel . If I’m jumping and skipping, I’m going to feel more energetic and light-hearted.

Have you found any easy ways to make yourself a lift? I'm very curious to see if jumping is an effective strategy. Now that I think about it, jumping-jacks may be a little bit too...calisthenics-ish. Maybe I should just jump.

* There's a lot of helpful information, delivered in a light, fun way, on Get Rich Slowly , "personal finance that makes cents."

* A thoughtful reader wrote to encourage me to check out the "Difference Engine" at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View when I'm out there for my book tour. Reading this fascinating

made me even more eager to see the exhibit. (I love that poetic name: Difference Engine.)

* Free bonus materials : Pre-orders give a big boost to a book, so to thank readers for pre-ordering, I've put together some bonus materials. After you pre-order, just email me at gretchenrubin1[at]gmail.com and write "I've pre-ordered," and I'll send them to you. Honor system. Materials include:
-- The Happiness Project Manifesto : a quick summary of some of the most important observations about happiness
-- Top Tips : tips that people have found particularly helpful
-- Resolutions Chart : my own personal Resolutions Chart, for your consideration, with a template to use for your happiness project.
Not sure you want to read the book? Check out the sample chapters . Or read Bob Sutton's review or Adam Gilbert's review !

  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Dec. 17 2014 12:27 PM Listen to Our Ultimate Holiday Playlist Holiday tracks for the season, exclusively for Slate Plus members.