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  • gretchenrubin 16:53:06 on 2017/10/10 Permalink
    Tags: , Gratitude,   

    A Visit to the Hospital Remind Me of How Happy I Am to Be Healthy. 


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    Ancient philosophers and contemporary scientists agree: gratitude is a key ingredient to a happy life.

    Research shows that people who cultivate gratitude get a boost in happiness and optimism, feel more connected to other people, are better-liked and have more friends, and are more likely to help others. They even sleep better and have fewer headaches.

    Nevertheless, I find it…challenging to cultivate a grateful frame of mind.

    I find it all too easy to fail to appreciate all the things I feel grateful for—from pervasive, basic things like electricity and elevators, to  personal aspects of my life such as the fact that I get to collaborate with my sister on our podcast, to little passing joys, like a funny thing my dog did. I get preoccupied with petty grievances and minor annoyances, and forget just how much happiness I already have.

    One thing I forget to be grateful for? My health. For many of us, health -- like money -- contributes to happiness mostly in the negative; the lack of it brings much more unhappiness than possessing it brings happiness. It’s very easy to take money or health for granted -- until it's gone.

    Yesterday my husband had surgery on his knee. Minor surgery, something many people have done, not risky, a very ordinary procedure, didn't take long. But boy, the experience of setting foot in a hospital made me fervently, passionately, explosively grateful for my health.

    Of course, I was also grateful for the good hospital, the insurance, the doctors and nurses, the relief from pain that my husband got, his uncomplicated recovery. So I was also very grateful for all that, too.

    But most of all, I was reminded that I should never to take good health for granted -- my health, or anyone else's. To be able to take a deep breath, to hear, to see, to walk, to eat, to be free from pain...it's so precious.

    Another positive consequence of gratitude? When we're grateful, we tend to want to make sure that other people share in whatever we're feeling we're feeling grateful for. If I'm feeling grateful for the beauty of Central Park, it makes me think about how much I want other people also to be able to experience the beauty of a park.

    Feeling grateful often spurs us to turn outward, to think about the situations of others. The trip to the hospital reminded me of the importance of health -- for me, and for everyone. It made me think about insurance, medical care, availability (and of course habits, just about everything makes me think about habits) and what steps I can take in my own life, to help others have these building blocks of good health.

    In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous story, "The Adventure of Silver Blaze," (which includes the now well-known phrase "the curious incident of the dog in the night-time") Sherlock Holmes perceived a clue in the fact that a dog didn’t bark. I find it hard to be grateful for the problems that aren't there. Today is a day that I don't make a visit to the hospital -- a happy day.

    I'm also reminded of a hilarious scene from one of my favorite movies, The Princess Bride. I've watched this scene a hundred times, and it makes me laugh every time. "If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything." It's a cliche, because it's true.

    A good gratitude reminder.

    Do you find it hard to remember to be grateful? Do you have any strategies to help prompt gratitude? People use gratitude journals, screen-saver reminders, photographs, and giving thanks before meals...what else? I write about my own gratitude exercise in The Happiness Project.

     
  • gretchenrubin 16:00:56 on 2017/09/04 Permalink
    Tags: , B. J. Novak, , Gratitude, , , , ,   

    A Little Happier: Actor B. J. Novak’s Memorable Expression of Gratitude to Two Guys from Grade School. 


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    In discussions of happiness, the subject of gratitude comes up all the time. The feeling of gratitude is one of the key elements to a happy life — but it’s all too easy to forget to feel grateful for the basics of our lives, like electricity, or to overlook who and what we should feel grateful for.

    I’m a huge fan of B. J. Novak. He’s an actor, comedian, screenwriter; he founded a terrific app called “li.st” for sharing lists; and he also played the deliciously awful character of Ryan in my family’s all time-favorite TV show, The Office (American version). As if all that wasn’t enough, he also wrote a terrific book of essays, One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories.

    I always love reading the Acknowledgements section of any book, and in One More Thing, Novak has two pages thanking various people. He concludes with a final paragraph:

    “Josh Funk and Hunter Fraser: we haven’t been in touch in years, but you made me feel like the funniest kid in the world. I would stay up late on school nights to write things to try to make you laugh the next day in class, and you inspired the one piece of advice on writing that I’ve ever felt qualified to give: write for the kid sitting next to you.”

    This beautiful acknowledgement made me think of many things, but in particular, it reminded me that we never know how our actions and our words will affect other people. These two guys! Their enthusiasm may have been a crucial catalyst for Novak’s career.

    And of everyone in his long, successful career that he should thank, he remembered to say thank-you to these two guys from childhood.

    If you were going to write your own Acknowledgments, is there anyone you’d thank, who might be surprised to see himself or herself listed? Is there anyone from way back in childhood? A teacher, a neighbor, a teammate?

     

    It’s strange, and even a little eerie, to think of how we all have so much influence over each other, even when we don’t realize it.

    This mini-episode is brought to you by the Platinum Card from American Express. There’s a world of experiences waiting to open up with the Platinum Card–backed by the services and security of American Express.

    Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

     

     Happier listening!

    The post A Little Happier: Actor B. J. Novak’s Memorable Expression of Gratitude to Two Guys from Grade School. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 14:00:29 on 2017/07/05 Permalink
    Tags: , Gratitude, , , , , ,   

    Podcast 124: Remember Love, Coping with Sad Anniversaries, and Why People Shouldn’t Tell You What You “Should” Be Able to Do. 


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    Happier Podcast 124

    Update: Elizabeth gives a teaser — tomorrow on her other podcast Happier in Hollywood, she and Sarah discuss the highly controversial issue of food in the workplace. Will they discuss the evil donut-bringer? Tune in!

    Try This at Home: Remember love. When someone is bugging us, often we can re-frame the situation by remembering: this person’s annoying behavior is an expression of love.

    Happiness Hack: Use a Ziploc bag instead of a toiletry bag. Cheap, clear, easy to replace, any size, and changes shape to conform to the open space in a suitcase.

    Four Tendencies Tips: Be very wary when someone tells you what you “should be able” to do. That’s often a sign that someone is giving you advice based on their Tendency, which is often not the way that’s right for someone else.

    If you want more information on the Four Tendencies, go here.

    If you want to pre-order my book The Four Tendencies (and it’s a big help to me, if you do), go here.

    Listener Question: Nicole asks about “What’s your advice about dealing with sad anniversaries?” If you have any strategies to suggest, please let us know.

    Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth didn’t “design the summer” for her seven-year-old Jack. I mention the “Strategy of Clarity,” which is very useful to keep in mind.

    Gretchen’s Gold Star: I give a gold star to Dwight Garner’s new New York Times book column, “American Beauties,” where he writes about under-sung American books from the past 75 years. The novel that Elizabeth mentions after the credits is Soleri by Michael Johnston.

    Two Resources:

    1, As I mention, I have a “book club,” where each month I recommend one book about happiness or human nature; one work of children’s literature; and one eccentric pick (a book that I love, but that’s probably not for everyone). To make sure you never miss a month’s selections, sign up here for the free newsletter.

    2. Speaking of books, if you’d like a free, personalized, signed bookplate for you or for some friends, make your request (within reason). Or if have audio-book or e-book, I’ll send you a free, signed, personalized signature card. Alas, U.S. and Canada only.  To request, email me or go here.

    The September book tour for The Four Tendencies is set! I’ll be going to New York City (obviously), Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.  I hope to see you there — please come, bring friends. Info is here.

    If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here. Remember, it really helps us if you do rate or review the podcast — it helps other listeners discover us.

    I do weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    Check out Lyft  — join the ride-sharing company that believes in treating its people better. Go to Lyft.com/happier to get a $500 new-driver bonus. Limited time only.

    Also check out ThirdLove, the lingerie brand that uses real women’s measurements to design better-fitting bras. Try one of their bestselling bras for free, for 30 days, by visiting ThirdLove.com/happier.

    And check out BlueApron.comWish you cooked more? Get all the delicious, fresh ingredients you need to make great meals, delivered to your front door. Check out BlueApron.com/happier to get your first three meals free, with free shipping.

    We love hearing from listeners:

     

    To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

    If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

    Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

    How to Subscribe

    If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

    Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

    Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” Check out these great shows: Side Hustle School and Radical Candor and Happier in Hollywood.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 124: Remember Love, Coping with Sad Anniversaries, and Why People Shouldn’t Tell You What You “Should” Be Able to Do. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 17:19:47 on 2017/02/08 Permalink
    Tags: , Gratitude, , , , , pregnancy, ,   

    Podcast 103: Pick Your Moment, How to Be Happier During a Tough Time, and a Deep Dive into #Happier2017. 


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    It’s time for the next installment of  Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

    We’re coming up on our second anniversary of the show! To celebrate, we want to do an episode of highlights from the previous year. So if you have a favorite try-this-at-home, a great before-and-after story of something you tried, a favorite funny moment, let us know. Email us at podcast@gretchenrubin.com or call 77-HAPPY-336.

    Try This at Home: Pick your moment. When we mindfully choose the moment for a challenging conversation or task, we do better. Easier said than done.

    Happiness Hack: If the traditional Valentine’s day isn’t working for you, celebrate a different relationship in your life — maybe your relationship with yourself, with friends, with siblings.

    Deep Dive: We take a look at the #Happier2017 project on Instagram. We had so much fun with this — we enjoyed posting our own photos, and even more, seeing what other people posted.

    Listener Question: Clare asks, “I’m trying to get pregnant, and it’s hard not to feel a pang when I’m around people who are pregnant or when I see newborn babies. How do I stay happy?”

    Demerit: I get a repeat demerit for not making an appointment to get my hair cut.

    Gold Star: Elizabeth gives her seven-year-old Jack a gold star for being “Star of the Week” at school, and presenting in front of his class.

    If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here. Remember, it really helps us if you do rate or review the podcast — it helps other listeners discover us.

    I do weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    Check out NatureBox. Start snacking healthy, with delicious snacks made with simple, high-quality ingredients. Go to naturebox.com/happier, and get 50% off your first order.

    Also check out Smith and Noble, the solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 20% off window treatments and free in-home or on-phone design consultations and free professional measuring.

    And check out ThirdLove, the lingerie brand that uses real women’s measurements to design better-fitting bras. Try one of their bestselling bras for free, for 30 days, by visiting ThirdLove.com/happier.

    We love hearing from listeners:

     

    To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

    If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

    Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

    How to Subscribe

    If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

    Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

    Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” The first shows are Side Hustle School and Radical Candor. Elizabeth’s show with her writing partner, Sarah Fain, will be Happier in Hollywood, so stay tuned for that.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 103: Pick Your Moment, How to Be Happier During a Tough Time, and a Deep Dive into #Happier2017. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 17:36:17 on 2016/11/08 Permalink
    Tags: , election, , Gratitude, , , , , , voting   

    Something that Makes Me Happy: Voting. 


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    I sometimes get what I think of as my “America feeling.” Usually when I get this feeling, it’s so strong that I actually choke up.

    It hits me at the oddest time.  For instance, I felt it when I got my daughter’s emergency passport, and the officer was giving us our directions. (You can hear me tell the story on episode 31 of the podcast: “If you have an appointment, you’re in line A, for ‘appointment’; if not, you’re in line B, for ‘bad planning.’”)

    I felt it during the musical Hamiltonfor instance, during this part.

    I get the America feeling whenever I vote.  I love to vote. It gives me such a feeling of accomplishment and participation.

    Also, writing Happier at Home made me more attuned to the feeling not only of “home” but also of “neighborhood.” Voting is always a great neighborhood experience for me.

    Today when I signed the voting register, I saw the signatures of my husband and my mother-in-law (we live around the corner from my in-laws, and I mean right around the corner); my father-in-law’s name is on the flip side.

    I had a nice chat with the people on either side of me in line, plus we saw Paul McCartney walk by! It was a very friendly neighborhood experience.

    This has been a tough election cycle. Voting reminded me of how grateful I am. Grateful for my family and my neighborhood and my country. Gratitude for democracy and the ability to vote. These elements of my life are so easy to take for granted, and yet play such an important part of my daily happiness.

    How about you? How do you feel about voting?

    The post Something that Makes Me Happy: Voting. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 08:25:00 on 2016/10/24 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Gratitude, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    A Little Happier: Accept a Gift in the Spirit in Which It’s Offered. (Easier Said Than Done.) 


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    Receive a gift

    In my books The Happiness Project, and on my blog, I’ve written about the fact that my spiritual master is St. Therese of Lisieux, which I learned after reading her spiritual memoir Story of a Soul.

    I’ve always been very struck by St. Therese’s discussion about getting gifts. She emphasizes that we should accept a gift in the spirit in which it’s offered — and also admits why, even for her (a saint!), this is difficult.

    This is the line I especially love: “for the love of God and my Sisters (so charitable toward me) I take care to appear happy and especially to be so.”

    If you’d like to watch a short video of me talking about the happiness resolution of “Imitate your spiritual master,” it’s here:

    Check out Yogi Tea. When it comes to enjoying life, little moments — like drinking a delicious cup of tea — can make a big difference.

    Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

     

    Happier listening!

    The post A Little Happier: Accept a Gift in the Spirit in Which It’s Offered. (Easier Said Than Done.) appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 04:09:14 on 2016/09/06 Permalink
    Tags: , , contentment, Gratitude, , more, , , , satisfaction   

    A Little Happier: Having More Doesn’t Always Make Us Happier. 


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    toycars

    I wrote about this story in my book The Happiness Project; its lesson is just as true for adults as for children.

    I’ve never forgotten about that little boy saying sadly, “I can’t love lots of cars.”

    If you like this story, and would like to hear more wisdom from the teacher who told it to me, you can check out the excellent book that she wrote with her colleague: Practical Wisdom for Parents: Raising Self-Confident Children in the Preschool Years, by Nancy Schulman and Ellen Birnbaum.

    If you want to get the  Moment of Happiness newsletter, where I email you a quote about happiness or human nature every morning, sign up here. I love gathering and sharing quotations.

    Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

     

    Happier listening!

    The post A Little Happier: Having More Doesn’t Always Make Us Happier. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:26:09 on 2016/06/12 Permalink
    Tags: , , Gratitude, gratitutde, , , proverb, , , , ,   

    Why Should the Bee Imitate the Beaver? Because Beavers Play at Their Work. 


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    beaver

    “From beavers, bees should learn to mend their ways.

    A bee works; a beaver works and plays.”

    –American proverb (allegedly–I’ve never heard this proverb before!), Oxford Treasury of Sayings & Quotations

    One of the aspects of my life that makes me happiest is that I do the same thing for work that I do for play. My “job” is exactly what I do with my free time: reading, writing, taking notes, observing people.

    Not one day goes by when I don’t think about it, and feel thankful for it.

    How about you? Do you find ways to play at your work? There are many ways to accomplish this.

    The post Why Should the Bee Imitate the Beaver? Because Beavers Play at Their Work. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:15:52 on 2016/06/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Gratitude, , , plans, , , , , ,   

    Podcast 67: Design Your Summer, a Deep-Dive into the Emotionally Charged Issue of Thank-You Notes, and Mother-in-Law Woes. 


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    happier-podcast-mockup1

    It’s time for the next installment of  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

    Update: Elizabeth says, “Everything Sarah and I have touched in the last six months has turned to ashes.” Hollywood! It’s a tough place to work.

    Remember,  I’m doing weekly live videos on my Facebook Page about the podcast. To join the conversation, tune in Tuesdays at 1:00 pm Eastern.

    Also, for our next Very Special Episode, let us know: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? For work, love, parenting, life…what really made the difference? Email us at podcast @ gretchenrubin .com, comment below, or best of all, call us. We’d love to hear your voice as you tell the story.  (77 HAPPY 336).

    Try This at Home: Design your summer.  I’m so excited about my plans for the summer!

    Deep Dive/Deluge: Back to the emotionally charged issue of…thank-you notes! We talked about this issue in episode 63. (What name do you like better?) If you want to see my stationery watch this Facebook Live video, around minute 3:45, where I show it off.

    Listener Questioner: Anna asks how to deal with a mother-in-law who wants to spend too much time with her and her husband.

    Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth did the dreaded “partial move.” We’ve all done it!1pix

     calendaronfridgeGretchen’s Gold Star: I give myself a gold star for making a count-down calendar for Eliza, as she sprints toward the finish line of her junior year — and Eleanor liked it so much, we made one for her, too.

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    Check out Texture. Get access to all your favorite magazines — including back issues and bonus video content — in one super-convenient place. Try the app Texture for free by going to Texture.com/happier.

    And check out BlueApron.comWish you cooked more? Get all the delicious, fresh ingredients you need to make great meals, delivered to your front door. Check out BlueApron.com/happier to get your first two meals free.

    1pix

    1pix

    1pix

    We love hearing from listeners:

     

    To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

    If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

    Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

    How to Subscribe

    If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

    Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen toHappier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 67: Design Your Summer, a Deep-Dive into the Emotionally Charged Issue of Thank-You Notes, and Mother-in-Law Woes. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 15:57:44 on 2016/05/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Gratitude, , , , , , ,   

    A Little Happier: The Days Are Long, But the Years Are Short. 


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    DaysAreLongYearsAreShort_124845

    Of everything I’ve ever created, I think my one-minute video The Years Are Short is the thing that resonates most with people.

    It’s even more poignant now — my daughter Eliza, the little girl in the story, is seventeen years old! Sunrise, sunset.

    Thanks, as always, to my terrific sponsor: Audible.

    Audible has more than 180,000 audio-books and spoken-word audio products. Get a free 30-day trial at Audible.com/happier.  Your first book is free!

    In fact, for your free book, if you’d like to read more about “the years are short,” you can choose my book The Happiness Project. (Yes, I am the reader for it.)

    Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

     

    Happier listening!

    The post A Little Happier: The Days Are Long, But the Years Are Short. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
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