Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Happy Women Live Better by Valorie Burton

 Happy Women Live Better by Valorie Burton

Women have more education, more money, and more choices than ever before. Yet, research shows we are less happy than women 40 years ago. Today, we can "have it all." So why is happiness declining?

In Happy Women Live Better, bestselling author Valorie Burton unlocks the secret to your personal happiness. She reveals 13 happiness triggers-choices that can boost your joy right now, even in the midst of deadlines, children, marriage, dating, and squeezing in a workout or girls' night out. Through these happiness triggers, you will learn to

bounce back from stress and adversity faster. enjoy deeper satisfaction in your marriage and friendships. maximize career opportunities and increase your income. fight off depression, colds and other illnesses live longer!
Valorie talks about the cultural shifts and modern challenges that threaten women's happiness, such as increased stress from increased demands, earning more money than men, constant comparisons brought on by social media and reality television, and many more. Learn to navigate these issues and join thousands of women in a modern movement that empowers you to take control of your happiness.

Valorie Burton gets to the crux of why women aren't as happy as we could be. The book delves into the question of why women forty years ago scored statistically higher on measured happiness charts. The answer she puts forth, after interviewing ladies from all walks of life, is revealing and very touching. It's simply the feminist 'happy' myth that we can have it all.

She quotes statistics which show that feminine happiness has been declining since the early 1970s, which is about the last time in history it was socially acceptable to focus solely on either your family or career without experiencing guilt or shame from society. Most women, no matter what their life choices, gave similar responses to her questions. 'I feel I should be doing more... This isn't what I thought I was signing up for... I feel like I've missed something and put myself behind... Yet I'm exhausted'

It seems to me, reading this, that we're like frogs in a pot of water that gradually gets boiled. The changes in expectations about the role of women has increased our stress load without our conscious awareness. Although early feminists did our gender a favour by getting us out of one type of prison, the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction, making us prisoners again without even knowing it. Seeing my own experiences and attitudes written down made me a bit emotional. Family and career are two separate wells, and of course focusing intently on one must draw deeply from the other.

Having established this, Valorie outlines 13 simple happiness triggers, along with a questionnaire to determine which are our strongest and weakest. None of them are really new and some are simpler than others. For example, smiling, keeping a gratitude list, getting adequate rest and moving our bodies don't seem too profound, but reading her take on them was fun. I definitely appreciate her advice to set up simple little treats, to give us something to keep looking forward to.

I appreciate this book mostly for helping me recognise that a lot of unhappiness we suffer isn't our fault, and for giving us skills to deal with it.

I received this book as a free ARC from NetGalley.

3.5 stars
  Happy Women Live Better Available at Amazon

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