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  • feedwordpress 09:00:21 on 2018/08/30 Permalink
    Tags: , , Mallika Chopra, , Mindfulness   

    “I Realized I Was Being a Hypocrite: Talking About Being Present, While Being Completely Distracted.” 

    Interview: Mallika Chopra.

    I can't remember when or where I first met Mallika Chopra. At a conference, through a friend? I can't remember anything anymore. It was many years ago, I know that.

    Mallika Chopra is a writer, speaker, and entrepreneur who has a new book for children that's hit the shelves: Just Breathe: Meditation, Mindfulness, Movement, and More.

    I was eager to hear what she had to say about happiness, good habits, and human nature.

    Gretchen: What’s a simple habit or activity that consistently makes you happier, healthier, more productive, or more creative?

    Mallika: I meditate for about 20 minutes a day. My parents taught me to meditate when I was 9 years old and it was the greatest gift that I ever received. [Note: Mallika's father is Deepak Chopra, quite a teacher.] My meditation practice has been irregular over the last 35 years of my life -- I have gone through phases when I do it twice a day and years when I haven’t practiced at all. But, when I am meditating, I feel more calm, am able to focus more, naturally chose habits that make me feel healthier and more energetic, and feel more rested. I am also more creative as I step out of the automatic responses and daily grind of everyday.

    Gretchen: What’s something you know now about building healthy habits or happiness that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?

    Mallika: For many years, particularly when I was in college and then when I first had my kids (in my 30s), I thought I was too busy to take time for myself mentally and physically to be happier and healthier. But, when I meditate, I am a better mom, spouse, and friend. And I feel more connected to who I am, what I want, and how I can serve.

    Gretchen: Which habits are most important to you? (for health, for creativity, for productivity, for leisure, etc.)

    Mallika: My habits include drinking my tea every morning (which anchors me for my day), going for walks outdoors with my friend (to process life), and having dinner with my family (to connect). Recently, my husband and I began yoga twice a week, and I am eager to incorporate yoga into my daily routines, even if it is just a few sun salutations each day. When I am writing, I try to take walks in my neighborhood to give my mind some open space outside of staring at a computer!

    Gretchen: Have you ever managed to gain a challenging healthy habit—or to break an unhealthy habit? If so, how did you do it?

    Mallika: I am a lifelong sugar addict. Over the last few years, I have made a conscious effort to notice how my body feels after I overindulge in sugary sweets. My body has more aches and I feel more on edge. Being more aware of the after effects of a sugar binge, instead of just feeling guilty while I am quickly eating what I am not supposed to be eating, has helped me to more naturally resist that chocolate chip cookie.

    Gretchen: Does anything tend to interfere with your ability to keep your healthy habits or your happiness? (e.g. travel, parties)

    Mallika: It is easy for me to come up with excuses about why I don’t exercise or meditate - most of the time I justify it by being too busy. But, exercise always makes me feel better, and with my meditation, even if I do it for 5 minutes a day, I feel better. So, now I  really try - I've started to meditate while in the carpool line!

    Gretchen: Have you ever been hit by a lightning bolt, where you made a major change very suddenly, as a consequence of reading a book, a conversation with a friend, a milestone birthday, a health scare, etc.?

    Mallika: One day I was speaking to an audience about the benefits of mindfulness and meditation when I realized that I was having a parallel conversation in my head that went like this: “I have to pick up the dry cleaning, buy dog food, and write that note for my investors.” On stage, I realized I was being a hypocrite - talking about the power of being present, while being completely distracted by thinking about other things. This was a turning point for me to return to my meditation practice and mindfulness habits and seek to understand what balance, happiness, and living with purpose truly means for me.

    Gretchen: Is there a particular motto or saying that you’ve found very helpful? (e.g., I remind myself to “Be Gretchen.”) Or a quotation that has struck you as particularly insightful? Or a particular book that has stayed with you?

    Mallika: “Don’t take life too seriously” is the motto that my father, Deepak Chopra, taught my brother and me as young kids. It helped us laugh at ourselves, not hold onto criticism, and to generally seek out joy in our lives.

    Gretchen: You've just come out with a fascinating new book about mindfulness and meditation that's targeted for young people.

    Mallika: Yes, I am so excited to share my new book, Just Breathe: Meditation, Mindfulness, Movement and More. It’s an illustrated guide for kids, ages 8-12 years old, with simple techniques to help them find calm, be more focused, and be happier. Teaching me meditation was a precious gift my parents gave me when I was a child, and I have seen how simple mindfulness and motivational practices have positively impacted my daughters and their friends.

    Just Breathe by Mallika Chopra

     
  • feedwordpress 09:00:01 on 2018/05/03 Permalink
    Tags: , Ben Feder, , Mindfulness,   

    “It’s Not True that We Can’t Change Our Outlook or that We’re Stuck Being Whomever We Think We Are.” 

    Interview: Ben Feder.

    At a time in his life when he was playing leading roles in big business, Ben Feder realized that he was losing touch with everything that had sustained him during his career. He became determined to re-order his priorities and spend time on the people and activities that meant the most to him -- so, with his wife and four kids, Ben Feder set off for Bali on a "sabbatical year" to focus on everything that was most important. This is the kind of adventure that many people fantasize about, but few people actually do.

    He's written a book about his experience, and it's just hitting the shelves: Take Off Your Shoes: One Man's Journey From the Boardroom to Bali and Back.

    Having written The Happiness Project, about my year-long experiment of happiness with myself as guinea pig, I love reading any book of self-experiment, especially one that's in the form of a "year of ___"

    I couldn’t wait to talk to Ben about happiness, habits, and productivity.

    Gretchen: What’s a simple habit or activity that consistently makes you happier?

    Ben: I have three: meditation, yoga, and painting. Meditation centers my mind. Yoga does the same and adds body movement to the dialogue. Painting allows me to express creativity and appreciate beauty. And it brings me unimagined joy.

    Gretchen: Have you ever been hit by a lightning bolt, where you made a major change very suddenly, as a consequence of reading a book, a conversation with a friend, a milestone birthday, a health scare, etc.?

    Ben: One day, a few years ago, I arrived home from work to discover my oldest son, Sam, then in 8th grade, barricaded in his room doing homework. I noted that lately his conversations with me had morphed to monosyllabic grunts as he sequestered himself ever more deeply. Suddenly, I realized that between his going off to a highly competitive high school and my travel schedule (I was CEO of a company with global operations), I was about to miss out on an important relationship. In a flash, I realized that this is where it happens. This is where men turn into the husbands and fathers they never intended to be. If I didn’t make a radical choice, my son would enter high school and then college and the time to connect more deeply would be lost forever. I couldn’t put off any longer what I had long dreamed about; to take an extended time off with my young family. So, I decided to take myself out of the game temporarily in order to explore, renew, and deepen the relationships with the people that mattered most to me. My wife, Victoria, and I pulled our four kids out of school and decamped to Bali, Indonesia, for a sabbatical. It was during this sabbatical that I began to gain a challenging healthy habit—learning to be still. And I learned to break an unhealthy habit—the mindset that I needed to continually notch up another achievement to find happiness. While it is nice to record another success on life’s imaginary scoreboard, I find it doesn’t on its own lead to growth and well-being.

    Gretchen: What’s something you know now about creating happiness that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?

    Ben: It turns out that happiness is a learnable skill. It’s not true that we can’t change our outlook or that we are stuck being whomever we think we are. Scientists have learned that the brain is vastly more plastic than long had been thought. By being mindful of our thoughts and deliberately turning them around to be more positive and optimistic, we can, over time, create new neural pathways so that our overall disposition is happier. In short, happiness is an inside job. Once you realize that happiness is a trainable skill, it becomes obvious that it is also a choice we make to be more happy or less. I definitely wish I knew this when I was 18, but it probably requires a little more self-awareness than most 18-year-olds are wired for.

    Gretchen: Does anything tend to interfere with your ability to keep your healthy habits? (e.g. travel, parties)

    Ben: International travel is necessary to fulfill my ambitions and career goals, and in many ways I enjoy the cultural and commercial adventure that comes with international business travel. That said, if it’s too frequent, it does tend to get in the way of healthy living. With rare exceptions, none of us can live some ideal life. We are all human. We all have obligations and responsibilities, and some of us are deeply ambitious. So, I try to strike a healthy balance.

    Gretchen: Is there a particular motto or saying that you’ve found very helpful? (e.g., I remind myself to “Be Gretchen.”) Or a quotation that has struck you as particularly insightful? Or a particular book that has stayed with you?

    Ben: There is a quote I once heard that was attributed to the Dalai Lama, though I have not been able to find it online. Nonetheless, it’s a good one: “If you are unhappy with your life situation...change your mind.”

     
  • gretchenrubin 12:52:43 on 2017/03/22 Permalink
    Tags: April Fool's, , , , , , Mindfulness, , , , , , , , talking, , , , , weather   

    Podcast 109: Pay Attention to the Light, a Fun April Fool’s Tradition, and a Demerit for Talking Too Much. 

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

    Update: My daughter Eliza turns 18 years old! Unbelievable. If you want to listen to Eliza Starting at 16, it’s here; if you want to watch my one-minute video “The Years Are Short,” it’s here. I know now, even better than when I created that video, how truly short the years are.

    Try This at Home: Pay attention to the light.

    I mention the very interesting book Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation by Alan Burdick; you can read my interview with Alan Burdick here.

    And here’s the beautiful quotation I read: “Light, that first phenomenon of the world, reveals to us the spirit and living soul of the world through colors.” –Johannes Itten

    Happiness Hack: Our listener Kim suggests celebrating April Fool’s Day with a “Junk Dinner” of junk food.

    Know Yourself Better: Do you like seasons, or do you like constant good weather?

    Listener Question: Our listener Trish asks: “what is happiness anyway? How do we measure it?”

    If you want to read more about this question, I discuss it at greater length in The Happiness Project.

    Demerit: In a conversation with a friend going through a difficult time, I talked too much.

    Gold Star: Elizabeth gives a gold star to the notion of changing doctors.

    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 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.

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    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.

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    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 109: Pay Attention to the Light, a Fun April Fool’s Tradition, and a Demerit for Talking Too Much. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 20:57:49 on 2017/03/17 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Mindfulness, self-command, , ,   

    What Healthy Treats Do You Give Yourself? (Note the “Healthy.”) 

    healthy treats

    In my book Better Than Before, I describe the many strategies that we can use to change our habits. We all have our favorite strategies — but I think most of us would agree that the Strategy of Treats is the most fun strategy.

    “Treats” may sound like a self-indulgent, frivolous strategy, but it’s not. Because forming good habits can be draining, treats can play an important role.

    When we give ourselves treats, we feel energized, cared for, and contented, which boosts our self-command—and self-command helps us maintain our healthy habits.

    Studies show that people who got a little treat, in the form of receiving a surprise gift or watching a funny video, gained in self-control. It’s a Secret of Adulthood: If I give more to myself, I can ask more from myself. Self-regard isn’t selfish.

    If I give more to myself, I can ask more from myself. Self-regard isn’t selfish.

    Click to tweet

    When we don’t get any treats, we begin to feel burned-out, depleted, and resentful.  We start to feel deprived — and feeling deprived is a very bad frame of mind for good habits.

    When we feel deprived, we feel entitled to put ourselves back in balance. We say, “I’ve earned this,” “I need this,” “I deserve this” and feel entitled to break our good habits.

    So we need treats.

    But it’s crucial to give ourselves healthy treats, because unhealthy treats are often bad for us. We don’t want to give ourselves something to feel better that just makes us ending up feeling worse. Like a costly splurge, an extra glass of wine, a big brownie.

    All of us should have a long list of potential healthy treats. That way, when we think, “I need a treat,” we have ideas.

    For something to be a treat, we have to think of it as a treat; we make something a treat by calling it a “treat.” When we notice our pleasure, and relish it, the experience becomes much more of a treat. Even something as humble as herbal tea or a box of freshly sharpened pencils can qualify as a treat.

    For instance, once I realized how much I love beautiful smells, a whole new world of treats opened up to me. If I need a treat, I visit my “collection of smells” in my apartment or I stop by a perfume counter.

    At the same time, it’s important not to call something a “treat” if it’s not really a treat. It may be good for you, and it may even feel good, but it’s not a treat if you don’t look forward to it with pleasure. So a yoga class could be a treat for someone, but it’s not a treat for me. I do it, and I’m glad I do it, but I don’t think, “Oh, yay, time for yoga!”

    Sometimes, treats don’t look like treats. For example, to my surprise, many people consider ironing a “treat.”

    Here are some other treats I’ve heard about:

    • crossword puzzles
    • looking at art books
    • shopping at a very expensive store (no possibility of buying, so just enjoy looking)
    • translating Latin
    • breaking codes
    • manicure (I never get manicures and dread them; the opposite of a treat for me)
    • visiting camping stores
    • online shopping (I heard from many people who enjoy online shopping with no plan to buy–they have fun filling their cart, then abandon it)
    • choosing plants and seed for the garden
    • video games and phone games
    • getting a massage
    • taking a bath, especially if with special bath salts
    • buying yourself flowers
    • visiting a special place (a park, sculpture, or museum)

     

    If you want to hear me and Elizabeth talk about why you should treat yourself, listen to this episode of the Happier podcast.

    And if you want to hear Donna and Tom of Parks and Recreation talk about their annual Treat Yo’ Self day, watch the hilarious clip here.

    What healthy treats are on your list?

    The post What Healthy Treats Do You Give Yourself? (Note the “Healthy.”) appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 10:00:08 on 2017/03/16 Permalink
    Tags: Abigail Pogrebin, , , , Judaism, , Mindfulness, , , ,   

    For Habits, “Adopting a Sabbath Pause Has Been Revelatory.” 

    Abigail Pogrebin

    Interview: Abigail Pogrebin.

    I met Abby Pogrebin because our daughters, now seniors, have been in school together since kindergarten, and she also lives right around the corner from me.

    I’m a huge fan — of the many and various things that Abby’s involved in. She wrote a fascinating book about her experience as an identical twin, and about the twin phenomenon generally, in One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I’ve Learned About Everyone’s Struggle to Be Singular. (If you want to hear me recount what I found to be one of the most striking observations from this book, you can watch that that two-minute video here.)

    She was recently featured in the fascinating documentary Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened, about the making of the Stephen Sondheim/Hal Prince musical Merrily We Roll Along, which opened with enormous fanfare in 1981 and closed after sixteen performance. The show starred teenagers and young 20-somethings, and Abby was the youngest member of that cast. Yes, she was in a Broadway musical at age 16. You can read her account of the experience in her Kindle Single, Showstopper.

    And now Abby has a new fascinating, candid, funny, heavily researched book: My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew. Although she grew up with some basic holiday rituals, Abby realized that she didn’t know much about the history, purpose, or current relevance of the Jewish calendar. To reconnect with her Jewish roots and spirituality, she decided to immerse herself for a year — to research, write, and observe eighteen important holidays on the Jewish calendar.

    I love this kind of year-long-experiment book — like my own book The Happiness Project (my year-long experiment in how to be happier), A. J. Jacobs’s hilarious The Year of Living Biblically, and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love. (Foreshadowing: I’m not sure, but it’s possible that after The Four Tendencies comes out, I’ll write another book that takes the form of year-long experiment. Stay tuned.)

    Abby has so many interesting things to say — I couldn’t wait to hear her answers.

    Gretchen: What’s a simple habit that consistently makes you happier?

    Abby: Having a cappuccino in bed reading the New York Times on my iPad every morning.

    What’s something you know now about forming healthy habits that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?

    It’s very hard to do any healthy thing consistently if I didn’t get in the habit of doing it when I was in my teens or twenties. To that end, I would not, at this stage, be able to give up sugar or butter unless I absolutely had to.  But I did manage to start weekly yoga in my thirties and that added enormously to my ever-elusive sense of equilibrium, which– truthfully– remains elusive.

    Do you have any habits that continually get in the way of your happiness?  

    Yes. I hate my habit of being unable to get off email at night, when all I want to do is read a book.  I also hate my habit of waking up each morning thinking about the one thing I’m worried about, instead of the ten things I’m grateful for.

    Which habits are most important to you? (for health, for creativity, for productivity, for leisure, etc.)

            • Having Sunday breakfast with my family – at a nearby diner or our own kitchen table.
            • Going to synagogue services every Friday night.
            • Always being in the middle of an interesting book.
            • Volunteering to serve breakfast to the homeless once every few weeks.
            • Exercising in some form five times a week.
            • Connecting with my twin sister daily.
            • Reading the New York Times daily.
            • Being mindful of my carbs.
            • Enjoying a great almond croissant when I find one.

     

    Have you ever managed to gain a challenging healthy habit—or to break an unhealthy habit? If so, how did you do it?

    The healthy habit I adopted is to make sure I forcibly slow down at least three times a week – whether that means doing a yoga by myself (admittedly, often in front of CNN, which quickens my pulse counter-productively), meditating for 10 minutes (the recommended 20 minutes is still too much for this rookie), or not looking at email on the Sabbath – from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.  Adopting a Sabbath pause has been revelatory.  It’s untethering and freeing.  The unhealthy habit that all of these address is my addiction to constantly crossing off the to-do list or thinking of what I’ve forgotten to accomplish – an exercise which is obviously bottomless. Maria Popova of the always-fascinating Brainpickings.com site which I read every Sunday once quoted author Jonathan Fields saying that, “busy is a decision.” I am trying to make a different decision than “busy” – at least part of every week; to decide to be unscheduled and inefficient.

    Would you describe yourself as an Upholder, a Questioner, a Rebel, or an Obliger?  

    Definitely, unequivocally, and a little pathetically, an Upholder. Everything you describe fits the bill.

    Does anything tend to interfere with your ability to keep your healthy habits? (e.g. travel, parties)

    Calls and coffee dates.  I often look at my calendar and see that there are too many coffee dates scheduled with people and too many work calls — with little space remaining for reading, working, walking, or exercise.  I am currently President of Central Synagogue, so these coffees and calls are important – and admittedly always interesting, even enriching.  But there can be too many in a day and leave me craving the chance to shut my mouth for a couple hours.

    Have you ever been hit by a lightning bolt, where you changed a major habit very suddenly, as a consequence of reading a book, a conversation with a friend, a milestone birthday, a health scare, etc.?

    I started slow-weight lifting for 30 minutes every week (lifting very heavy weights for very few reps, to the point of muscle failure), after taking a walk with Gretchen Rubin and hearing her report that this regimen made her feel stronger.  I’ve continued that habit for a decade now.  [Yes! I converted Abby to Inform Fitness, the gym that trains Super Slow method that I “love.”]  But I have been unsuccessful when it comes to jettisoning my daily one-Diet-Coke-at-lunchtime habit.  I stopped for a while, after a nutritionist said it was potentially bloating and dehydrating.  But then I started again because my husband likes it and he pours the soda over ice, which makes it look good.

    Do you embrace habits or resist them? 

    Embrace them.  I like routine because it’s reassuring and I’m not someone who feels the need to shake up – or even vary that much –my exercise, eating or sleeping habits.  Maybe that makes me dull and predictable, but there is plenty of other unpredictability in my life; habits give me a sense of stability, having a home base.

    Has another person ever had a big influence on your habits? 

    My identical twin sister.  When she tries something and likes it, I often follow suit.  That has happened with yoga, meditation, and eating Grape Nuts for dinner every once in a while.

    The post For Habits, “Adopting a Sabbath Pause Has Been Revelatory.” appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 17:08:31 on 2017/03/14 Permalink
    Tags: , , , looking, Mindfulness, perception, seeing,   

    Want to View the World with Fresh Eyes? 13 Tips to See More Clearly. 

    I’ve recently developed an obsession with color — what a gorgeous, fascinating topic! It makes me so happy to learn about color.

    One reason I love studying color is that it helps me notice the world. I tend to walk around very absent-mindedly; I hardly see anything around me. For me to be present in the moment, and to connect with the world, I need a hook.

    Looking at colors is one great hook, and there are many others, too:

    1. Notice colors — I push myself to notice the color of the sky; the contrast between the orange cone and the gray sidewalk.
    2. Look in a mirror — things look different in a mirror.
    3. Look at a picture of an object. Jamaica Kincaid wrote “Why is a picture of something real eventually more exciting than the thing itself?” A question that haunts me. Related…
    4. Look at an object alongside a picture of it. I heard about this strategy as a way of appreciating art more. Buy a postcard of an artwork, then study the artwork while you hold up the postcard. I’m dying to try this.
    5. Pretend to be a journalist — journalists notice things in a different way. Similarly…
    6. Pretend to be a tourist. Look at the shop windows! How people line up for the bus! What are people wearing?
    7. Draw — this one doesn’t appeal to me, but many people swear by it.
    8. Go someplace new — I’ve lived in my New York City neighborhood for more than a decade, and still I sometimes stumble onto a street I swear I’ve never walked before.
    9. Return to a familiar place after a long time away — go back to your old school; stop into the grocery store where you shopped when you lived in your old house. Fascinating.
    10. Imagine that you have guests coming to stay for the weekend — a great way to see your home in a new way. Along the same lines…
    11. Imagine that you will sell your house — you see it through the eyes of a judgmental stranger
    12. Notice contrasts, when two worlds are juxtaposed –school-children on a sidewalk in front of a business;  a horse-and-buggy clopping down the highway
    13. Look with a child — it’s such a sentimental cliche to say it, but children really do see the world with fresh eyes.

    What hooks do you use to help yourself see the world more vividly?

    The post Want to View the World with Fresh Eyes? 13 Tips to See More Clearly. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 11:43:18 on 2017/03/12 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , Mindfulness, , , , ,   

    “My Highest Ambition Is To Be What I Already Am.” 

    “Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself–and if I accept myself fully in the right way I will already have surpassed myself.

    –Thomas Merton, Journal, October 2, 1958

    I love this quotation so much that the first line of this passage is the epigraph for my forthcoming book The Four Tendencies. (Choosing the epigraph is probably my favorite part of writing a book. How I love quotations!)

    I’ve spent a lot of time studying Merton, because as a Trappist monk and definite Rebel, he was a fascinating case study. He kept voluminous journals, as well as writing essays and memoirs, so it was possible for me to have true insight into his thinking.

    When I first started studying the Four Tendencies, I was puzzled by the not-infrequent pattern of Rebels being attracted to areas of high regulation, like the clergy, the military, and big corporations. Now it makes sense to me. It’s a whole section in my book.

    If you’re intrigued by the book The Four Tendencies, you can pre-order it here (pre-orders really help me, so if you’re inclined to buy the book, I very much appreciate a pre-order).

    If you don’t know which of the Four Tendencies describes you — whether you’re an  Upholder (like me), Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel (like Merton), you can take the quiz here.

    I also love the way writer Flannery O’Connor put it: “Accepting oneself does not preclude an attempt to become better.”

    These quotations remind me of one of the paradoxes of my happiness project: I want to accept myself, but also expect more from myself.

    This tension between “accepting myself’ and “surpassing myself” — how we must accept ourselves in order to surpass ourselves — is something I think about often. What is self-acceptance, really? Or self-knowledge? A mystery.

    How do you think about self-acceptance and self-knowledge?

    The post “My Highest Ambition Is To Be What I Already Am.” appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 11:42:15 on 2017/03/07 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , mind, Mindfulness, , , ,   

    “How Does One Bring One’s Mind and Body Back Together? The Best Means Is ___” 

    In The Awakened Eye, Ross Parmenter writes, “How does one bring one’s mind and body back together? The best means is a vacation.”

    Hmmmm…I think there are many ways a person could answer the question, “How does one bring one’s mind and body back together?”

    I think some people would say “Meditation.” As I write about in Better Than Before, meditation wasn’t helpful for me, but many people do find it useful.

    For me, I’ve found, I can bring my body and mind together by mindfully enjoying the experience of my body. Which is delightful.

    For instance, I take a moment to enjoy my sense of smell. We can enjoy beautiful scents without any time, energy, or money; a scent ties us to the present moment, because we can’t bookmark it, or save it for later, or even continue to experience it for very long. In my book Happier at Home, I write about the power of the sense of smell, and all I did to try to get more good smells into my life (and also get rid of bad smells, very helpful!)

    I also deliberately notice the colors around me. I’ve become obsessed with color. So many beautiful colors, so many fascinating aspects of seeing color.

    Do you agree that a vacation is a good way to bring your mind and body back together?

    How would you fill in the blank?

    The post “How Does One Bring One’s Mind and Body Back Together? The Best Means Is ___” appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:35:54 on 2017/02/22 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , low-carb, Mindfulness, moment, , , wonder   

    Podcast 105: Leave on High Note, Childlike Wonder vs. Adultlike Wonder–and What I Eat Every Day. 

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

    Update: In response to our discussion in episode 102, listeners told us the different “missing puzzle pieces” they’d managed to find.

    Try This at Home: Leave on a high note.

    Happiness Hack: The Metropolitan Museum has introduced an extraordinary new resource: for artworks that are in the public domain, the Met makes them freely available for unrestricted use (including commercial use). Learn more and browse here!

    Happiness Stumbling Block: What appeals to you more: childlike wonder, or adultlike wonder?

    Listener Questioner: Fiona asks, “Gretchen, what do you eat every day?’

    I talk about the fact that I’m an “Abstainer” — are you an Abstainer or a Moderator?

    As I write about in Better Than Before, I was inspired to quit sugar after reading Gary Taubes’s Why We Get Fat. If you’d like to read my interview with Gary Taubes about his new book, The Case Against Sugar, request it here.

    Demerit: I hate the theme of unjust accusation in books, movies, plays, and TV shows — but I unjustly accused my family of ignoring the groceries.

    Gold Star: Elizabeth went to two doctors’ appointments in one day.

    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 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.

    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.

    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 105: Leave on High Note, Childlike Wonder vs. Adultlike Wonder–and What I Eat Every Day. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

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

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

    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.

     
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