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  • gretchenrubin 17:02:43 on 2017/12/05 Permalink
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    From London: Some Thoughts About Happiness, and a Few Travel Hacks. 

    Hello from London! I'm here after a whirlwind stops in Dublin and Belfast -- I want to go back to both places for a longer visit.

    It's often noted how travel expands the mind and our sense of possibilities, and how it shakes us out of routine and familiarity. And like many cliched ideas, it's very true.

    When I travel, I try to pay a lot of attention to the differences around me. Little things, like the sound a phone makes while ringing, the sound of a siren (though I think that London has changed its siren tone so that it sounds more familiar), the feeling that I don't know how to cross the street safely, or where to look to find the name of the street.

    There are differences in vocabulary too. I accidentally got a big laugh when I gave a talk a few nights ago. I was discussing how Questioners can help themselves to do something that's inefficient or unjustified, by thinking of their second order of justification. As an example, I said, "I talked to a Questioner who said, 'My grandmother doesn't like for me to wear pants. Even though I prefer to wear pants, and think her rule is silly, I don't wear pants when I'm with her, because it makes her happy, and that's important to me.'" Turns out that in the U.K., "pants" means "underwear." Yikes. I meant "trousers!"

    Visiting London always gives me new appreciation for New York City's grid system of streets. Those straight, predictable lines are less interesting and charming, but easier to manage. Whenever I go someplace in London by taxi, I feel that I'm being driven by someone who's trying to escape pursuers -- the route is so circuitous, it feels like we're trying to throw off the people tailing us.

    When I travel, my new favorite activity is to visit a grocery store. Even though I'm not buying any groceries, it's so interesting to see the differences in what people eat, how food is packaged, and how groceries are displayed. Side note: Heathrow Airport has a grocery store at the Arrivals Area; I've never seen an airport grocery store before. Last night, I went into a Whole Foods grocery store, to see how a U.S. brand was adapted; the store felt familiar, but little things were different. Like the salad bar offered "chicken thigh."

    I always love to visit bookstores when I travel. I'm especially interested when familiar books have different cover in other countries -- I like seeing the different interpretations. As it happens, The Four Tendencies has the same cover art in the U.S. and the U.K.

    I had a big stroke of luck right before I left New York. I took an overnight flight to Dublin in the morning, so I landed in the morning, and my hotel room wasn't ready. I felt cranky and exhausted and just wanted to crawl into bed, but I managed to pull myself together. I had a big cup of strong coffee, checked my bag at the hotel, and set off to explore the city. I always enjoy walking around more when I have some kind of mission or destination in mind (do you feel the same way?), and fortunately, right before I left, a friend told me, "If you only manage to do one thing in Dublin, you must see the Book of Kells." So as I was gulping that coffee, I looked up the Book of Kells, and there it was, a nice walk from my hotel. I had a lovely walk there, had a fascinating viewing of the Book of Kells, walked back by a different route -- and then my room was ready.

    I'm also always looking for new ways to make traveling easier.

    On the "Happier" podcast, I've talked many times about my (perhaps excessive) love for light canvas tote bags, and I have a new favorite way to use them. Because we're only allowed two carry-on bags on an airplane, I was often juggling a lot of stuff in my arms, in addition to my two bags. My book, some magazines and newspapers, a container of cinnamon Ice Breakers, my shawl that I always take on an airplane because I'm always freezing, etc.

    Now I put everything in a canvas tote to make it easy to carry it around. Then, right before I board, I take it all out and carry it in my arms. You can carry as much loose stuff as you want onto an airplane -- you just can't have more than two bags.

    One of my favorite Secrets of Adulthood is: Always leave some room in the suitcase. This is both literally and metaphorically true.

    However, because I wanted to avoid having to check a bag for this trip, I crammed my carry-on bag full. That was the right decision for this trip, but boy, I really dislike the feeling of being packed to the brim.

    My other Secret of Adulthood for travel: Always bring snacks! This is especially true when I experience a big time change; I've arrived in places where it was hard to eat, because my body clock was so contrary to the normal eating patterns of the place where I'd arrived.

    Do you have any great travel hacks, or suggestions for ways to make travel more interesting, broadening, or easy?

  • gretchenrubin 23:44:24 on 2017/04/12 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , hacks, , , , , , , studying, , ,   

    Podcast 112: Pick a Uniform, Time Yourself, and a Deep Dive into a Conflict with a Boss. 

    Update: There’s an official launch date of May 18 for Happier in Hollywood, the fantastic new podcast that Elizabeth is doing with her longtime writing partner and friend, Sarah Fain. Of course I’m biased, but it’s so good.

    Try This at Home: Pick a uniform.

    Here are the two articles I mention about wearing a uniform: “Why I wear the same thing to work everyday” by Matilda Kahl, and the follow-up article, “Saatch & Saatchi has a Dress Like Matilda day.” So fun to see this uniform in action! (The photo above shows people at the “Dress Like Matilda” day.)

    We talked about Kim Scott, co-host of the podcast Radical Candor and author of the bestselling book Radical Candor, who wears a uniform of an orange sweater and jeans.


    I also mention the article “Obama’s Way,” the interview by Michael Lewis where President Obama talks about paring down his decisions about choosing suits.

    Happiness Hack: Clare in Seattle suggests timing yourself to see how long a task actually takes.

    Deep Dive: We return to Cindy’s listener question, which we discussed in episode 108: “My boss quit smoking, and now wants to join me in my precious solo lunchtime walks.” Listeners raised so many excellent points.

    If you want to take the Four Tendencies quiz, it’s here–find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel.

    Speaking of Kim Scott, because so many listeners suggested using “radical candor,” we actually called her to ask  how to use radical candor in this context. For more info on Radical Candor, check out the podcast. And here’s a photo of the “Flintstone House.” It’s pretty kooky.









    Listener Question: Tara asked for study tips, because she’s a mother, working full-time, and studying for online course.

    Demerit: Elizabeth’s glasses were scratched and hard to see through — for years. But now she has new glasses! Demerit becomes gold star.

    Gold Star: I give a gold star to Eleanor, who used a cute video of baby sloths to calm herself while getting a shot.

    New feature: I’m starting a new feature; each week, at the end of the podcast, I’ll list “Two Resources for You.”

    1. Check out Elizabeth’s terrific young-adult novel, Flower.
    2. The Better app, which is all about the Four Tendencies, is now free! It used to cost $9.99/month, but I decided to make it free.

    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 Stamps.com. Want to avoid trips to the post office, and buy and print official U.S. postage for any letter or package, right from your own computer and printer? Visit Stamps.com to sign up for a 4-week trial,  including postage and a digital scale — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

    Also check out Little Passports. Check out “Science Expeditions” — the new educational subscription with a science theme that kids and parents will love. To save 40% on your first month’s subscription, enter the coupon code HAPPY.

    Visit Framebridge.com — a terrific way to get your art and photos framed, in a super easy and affordable way. Use the code HAPPIER at checkout to get 15% off your first Framebridge order. Shipping is free.

    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 112: Pick a Uniform, Time Yourself, and a Deep Dive into a Conflict with a Boss. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

  • feedwordpress 18:30:51 on 2016/12/05 Permalink
    Tags: , , , hacks, , , , , ,   

    A Little Happier: During the Holidays, Say “Yes” If We Can. 


    A Little Happier: During busy holiday time, it’s tempting to say “no” to try to make life easier, but in the end, we’re usually happier if we say “yes”—to the office party, the school show, or the holiday gathering.

    So the hack is: say “yes”if you can. Don’t do anything contrary to your nature or your values, but if you can, say “yes.” In the end, showing up strengthens relationships and boosts happiness.

    Here’s the video that I mention: The days are long, but the years are short. Of everything I’ve ever written or created, I think this one-minute video is the thing that has resonated most with people.

    Have you learned any great hacks for figuring out how to make the holidays happier?

    Check out LOFT.com — it’s a great go-to spot to pull together modern,  feminine outfits for all your holiday adventures.

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


    Happier listening!

    The post A Little Happier: During the Holidays, Say “Yes” If We Can. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

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