09/16/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Happiness Project: How To Enjoy The Process

AirportlineI'm working on my Happiness Project, and you should 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. The Happiness Project is more than a book or a blog -- it's a way of life.

One of my favorite of my Twelve Commandments is "Enjoy the process." I got this commandment from my father, because he's reminded me to "Enjoy the process" so many times during my life. (His other main admonition: "Patience.")

On our family trip to Denmark, I found a new application for this commandment. As we headed off to the airport, I announced to everyone, particularly myself, "Our trip starts NOW. Every part of this trip is part of the fun. We don't need to fuss about spending a lot of time in the airport before we get on board, or traveling by car once we get to Denmark. The airport is part of the fun, and the car ride will be part of the fun. The time spent waiting in line to go on the canal tour is just as important as the canal tour itself."

And actually, this really helped. By re-framing these marginal, disfavored parts of the trip, so that they were no longer inconveniences, but actually part of the action, I prevented myself from getting aggravated. Treating the Newark airport like a tourist attraction was surprisingly easy.

Now, would I have been able to keep up this attitude if our flight had been delayed for five hours? Or if the Big Girl started throwing up on the airplane, as she once memorably did? I doubt it. But during the normal course of events, it worked to make the usual wait times much nicer.

How about you? Have you found any good ways to change the way you think about daily aggravations?

If you'd like to read more about happiness, check out Gretchen's daily blog, The Happiness Project, or sign up for her monthly newsletter.