WE’RE GIVING ALL OUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY THIS GIFT
written by ALYSSA CLOUGH
Remember when we told you about that cool, new journal filled with weekly list-making prompts that encourage self-love and discovery? Well, Moorea Seal, author of the original 52 Lists Project (and all-around #GirlBoss), is t it again with the second journal in the series, 52 Lists for Happiness. The new journal, which officially launched September 20, is focused on helping everyone find—and keep—positivity, joy, and happiness. Keep reading to learn all about the inspiration behind this life-changing journal and join the movement!
HOW DOES THIS JOURNAL COMPARE TO THE LAST?
My first journal, The 52 Lists Project lays the groundwork for all of my future lists to come. My goal in writing the 52 Lists Project was to inspire self care and the love of oneself. I actually started it as a blog series in 2013 on my blog Moorea-Seal.com and it went kind of viral across the web which showed me how desperately we all want to learn to love and respect ourselves well. Like I said, I have struggled with depression and anxiety and ADD my whole life so in writing the first journal, not only was I seeking to help others gain more confidence in themselves through list making but I was writing it for myself too. I come from a family of a lot of teachers and leaders, and one of the greatest things I learned from my family is that one of the greatest ways to learn is to teach! That understanding of how helping others helps you combined with Ru Paul’s (one of my personal heroes) greatest quote, “If you can’t love yourself then how the hell are you going to love somebody else?” Are what strike a balance in me and guide me in my intentions with writing these books. Helping yourself is one with helping others, and helping others reminds me to help myself.
52 Lists for Happiness is much more focused on bringing joy into your everyday and creating balance amidst the chaos of life. The pursuit of happiness is one of the foundations of American culture for hundreds and hundreds of years back. But it doesn’t have to come at a cost of hurting others while you pursue personal happiness at an aggressive pace. Happiness can be attained slowly an intentionally, and 52 Lists for Happiness gives you that guide to infuse positivity and celebration into your life one list at a time. I honestly can say that while writing this book, I was the happiest I have ever been in my life because I was meditating on happiness everyday, writing and listing along the way, discovering what I needed to build within myself and practice daily to experience more joy and balance. It worked, and I’m so excited to continue filling out my own copy of the book alongside everyone else who will be using it in their weekly self care practices!
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO FOCUS THIS JOURNAL ON HAPPINESS?
Being that I have had depression, anxiety and ADD my whole life, I have always thought that happiness was just a fleeting, unattainable thing that I could maybe experience every so often but never consistently have. But after spending a long time researching happiness, having grown up in one religion and then leaving it, exploring others in my twenties, and simply contemplating the true experience of fulfillment, joy, contentment, and pure happiness, I came to the conclusion that happiness is simply a practice that we can all maintain within our lives just like gratefulness or strength. So many people, myself in the past included, think of happiness as this final treat or task they are allowed to have and focus on once they have completed all their other goals, from cleaning to building a dream career. But as life’s tasks stack up, it can often feel like happiness is farther and farther in the distance. I don’t believe it has to be that way. Happiness can be present in your everyday life if you just reframe your thinking, trusting that happiness can be an easy and light thing, not always powerful or crazy.
CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT FUTURE JOURNALS WILL BE THEMED?!Well I already have a new book in the works! And this time next year, I won’t be releasing just one book but, fingers crossed if I can manage it all, I’ll be releasing two! I have another 52 Lists journal in the works but I can’t say just yet. I want it to be a surprise for later down the road. But my debut into the world of home books comes out next fall and I’m so excited to share a little bit more about it. It’s all about how to invest in your home while investing in yourself. I am someone who, if my home doesn’t feel stable or like a visual reflection of myself, I feel unstable and unlike myself. And I think a lot of women feel really similar. The book is a larger coffee table style book and is packed full of helpful tips, deeper stories about my personal life, peeks into my home, visits with women I am inspired by, and lots more. It’s packed with inspiration, beautiful photography, and words to empower and inspire readers in themselves and in their investment in the spaces they call home.
“IF YOU ARE WILLING TO INVEST SO MUCH TIME INTO YOUR CAREER OR CARING FOR CHILDREN OR FOR YOUR HOME, IMAGINE WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU INVESTED THAT SORT OF CARE INTO YOUR MENTAL HEALTH!”
WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND ARE THE BENEFITS OF KEEPING A JOURNAL?
I used to journal in a more traditional way a lot when I was a teen but I fell off the wagon once I hit college, feeling like journaling wasn’t cool. Well, that along with the fact that I didn’t feel like I had time or the mental space to get all of my thoughts on paper. But later in college I started a blog and became a devoted list maker. And it was through list making that I realized I could channel the benefits of journaling but in a more efficient way. I process a lot of my thoughts through contemplation but simply contemplating alone with yourself sometimes can feel really isolating and can often lead to cycles of self doubt and regret. By releasing my contemplative spirit into a focused topical list, I get my thoughts out on paper and feel inspired to write more positively about my thoughts. Whatever I write down, I know I will reflect on it later. And in that forward thinking process, I feel inspired to think more deeply before I write, think with more optimism, and because of that I discover new insight and come to more positive conclusions within myself. That in turn truly transforms my life one step at a time and helps me to trust my intuition and voice with more respect and peace in all aspects of life.
HOW DID YOU DEVELOP THE DIFFERENT SEASONAL FOCUSES? HOW DO YOU THINK THOSE THEMES DIRECTLY RELATE TO HAPPINESS?
I absolutely think these things directly relate to happiness and truly any sort of emotional growth that you seek. I’m a huge advocate for therapy and I myself go to therapy weekly. If it were up to me, I’d say everyone in the world should be lucky enough to have a mentor or therapist who engages with them weekly to help them harness their inner wisdom and positivity. So in a way, I created these journals to do just that, and 52 Lists for Happiness specifically. What I have learned in my own personal growth through therapy throughout the years is that creating positive change in your life takes time, it takes baby steps, practice and pursuit just like it takes all those things to grow in your career. If you are willing to invest so much time into your career or caring for children or for your home, imagine what would happen if you invested that sort of care into your mental health! It would be mind blowing! The seasonal sections of 52 Lists for Happiness are my steps to emotional well being and true inner joy. Think of this book as your friendly and approachable friend who helps you remember what you love and who you are.
(WINTER) REFLECT: Start by reflecting on what has brought you happiness in your inner and outer life.
(SPRING) ACKNOWLEDGE: Allow yourself to see what might be missing in your present life that could bring you greater happiness and peace.
(SUMMER) INVEST: Take your insight and invest in yourself because just like investing in your work or friends or family, it takes effort and practice to change things for the better.
(FALL) TRANSFORM: Once your efforts have become a part of routine and a pursuit you enjoy and celebrate, revel in that happiness and centered living that has now become a groundwork for the person that you are.
This journal is all about building that solid and positive bond within all that you are that will keep you thinking optimistically through anything life throws your way.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE OR THE MOST REWARDING PART OF CREATING THIS AMAZING SERIES OF JOURNALS?First of all, it has been absolutely amazing hearing from so many incredible people across social media, all ages and genders, cultural backgrounds, and languages, all sharing how much my first journal The 52 Lists Project has helped them get to know themselves better and develop self respect, admiration and appreciation of who they are, what they want and where they have been. Above all that I do, I just want to help people recognize their inner strength and trust that they have so much insight inside of themselves that is waiting to be discovered because of their unique perspective and experiences. It means so much to know that something I fully threw my heart into has affected so many people across the world in a positive way. Secondly, these journals are some of the few things in my entire like that I feel like fully reflect my intent and are exactly what I had envisioned from concept to creation. As an artist, I have my degree in Studio Art with an Illustration emphasis, it is so rare that I feel fully satisfied with something I’ve created. Most things usually fit about 80% of my vision and goal but there’s always about 20% that feels unsettled or just not up to my high standards, be it in content, design, style, or some other mysterious element. These journals fulfill ALL of my dreams, the lists are all thought up with massive intention and research. Sometimes it’s the most seemingly easy and approachable things that are actually the hardest to create, and I feel like through all my hard work, the 52 Lists journal series fulfilled all my wildest dreams, even down to the burgundy velvet ribbon inside of 52 Lists for Happiness!
FINALLY, DID YOU STYLE THE COVER? IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL!!Yes! I actually have a mockup photoshopped version of the book cover that I dreamed of at the beginning of writing the book that looks just like the final result! My photographer Julia Manchik definitely helped a lot in styling everything for the book, and the dream team at my publishing house Sasquatch Books are angels and have fully trusted my creative vision for each book so far. It’s a dream team situation. We actually shot both photos of both 52 lists for Happiness and The 52 List Project on the front table at my storefront here in Seattle! And we used props from around my store itself.