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  • feedwordpress 13:30:27 on 2018/04/19 Permalink
    Tags: , , Joanna Coles, , Relationships   

    “Love Is the Food of Life. And We All Deserve to Eat and Love Well.” 

    Interview: Joanna Coles.

    Joanna Coles has had a very interesting career. Before her current position as the first Chief Content Office for Hearst Magazines, she was editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire. Plus, in addition to her significant positions in the magazine world, she's also very involved in the world of TV, in shows like So Cosmo, The Bold Type (a scripted series based on her life), Running in Heels, and Project Runway.

    As if that's not enough, she's just published a book: Love Rules: How to Find a Real Relationship in a Digital World. (I love the double meaning of this title.) It's all about how to find meaningful love in a world full of meaningless encounters. She gives fifteen rules or "love hacks" -- I always love a hack or a true rule! She uses the metaphor of the diet, of eating more healthfully, as a way to look at finding the right sweetheart.

    I couldn’t wait to talk to Joanna about happiness, habits, and relationships.

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

    Joanna: Whenever I take the subway or a cab in New York City, I try not to go on my phone and instead look around. I find it helps me notice things which leads to ideas. And sometimes when you are thinking about nothing in particular and you let your mind wander it's exciting where it will end up. And if I see someone standing alone at a party or looking awkward on their own, I will try and go up and say "Hi" because walking into a room on your own can feel terrifying, and it makes you feel good to make someone else feel welcome.

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

    Joanna: That friends and partners should always be treated with respect, even when you least feel like it! And that its always better to have a conversation about whatever is going wrong with them, than to ignore it or pretend you don’t care. Good communication is the key to everything. It’s hard but it’s almost always worth it. At work, at home, at play.

    Gretchen: You’ve done fascinating research. What has surprised or intrigued you – or your readers -- most?

    Joanna: Harvard began a longitudinal study in 1938, during the Great Depression, that tracked 268 sophomores to study what made people happy. Now 80 years later, what they found is that good relationships were essential. Robert Waldinger, the director of the study, said in a recent press release, "The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health. Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too." This is why finding finding someone to love who loves you back is so vitally important—your health and happiness depend on it.

    The other research I found fascinating, and grim, is the negative impact of binge drinking on women, and how closely it is tied to sexual assault in this country. Getting drunk is an accepted part of our culture today, for women and men, but the ramifications of getting black out drunk are so costly for women. It is the one area where women should not want equality—our bodies have more fat which means we process alcohol more quickly then men. The National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA) defines binge drinking for women as four drinks in two hours, where for men it is five. And yet, binge drinking has risen 17% for women between 2005 and 2012 versus 4.9% for men. The other stat that ties in to this, also by the NIAA is that half of all sexual assaults involve alcohol. This is why Rule #8 is, Know Your Limits.

    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?

    Joanna: I end Love Rules with a snippet from a story Ian McEwan wrote for The Guardian following 9-11. It still brings me to tears. In the piece, McEwan writes about about a husband who misses the last panicked call from his wife who is in the Twin Towers that day. She was calling to say goodbye. He wrote, "There was really only one thing for her to say. Those three words that all the terrible art, the worst pop songs and movies, the most seductive lies, can somehow never cheapen. I love you. She said it over and over again before the line went dead."

    Love is the food of life. And we all deserve to eat and love well. That is why I wrote Love Rules--I felt there was no guide book out there as to how to find it. It nourishes and feeds us, it is the key to happiness. It makes us feel we are alive and without it, little else matters.

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

    Joanna: I have a scalding hot bath every night. I still have the apartment’s original porcelain bath from 1908, it’s very deep and very long and I sink up to my neck and exhale. I love Epsom salts, oils, bubbles, and I lie there in silence and inhale the steam and think through the day. Heaven.

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

    Joanna: Of course! Late nights with friends mean I cancel too many early morning yoga lessons, always set up with the best intentions and promise that this time I won’t cancel. But as much as I love yoga, nothing is better for your long-term health -- not even a restorative headstand -- than a good evening with family and friends.

     
  • feedwordpress 10:30:47 on 2018/02/15 Permalink
    Tags: , , melissa Dahl, Relationships   

    “I Love Running More for the Mental Clarity It Provides Than Anything Else.” 

    Interview: Melissa Dahl.

    Melissa is a senior editor at New York Magazine, and I got to know her work because I've been a long-time fan of Science of Us, a site that has now joined The Cut. The sites cover mental health, human behavior, personality, relationships, work, health, wellness -- all subjects that I love to read about.

    Melissa is also the author of new book about a fairly unconventional topic: Cringeworthy: A Theory of Awkwardness. She looks at the situations that make us feel awkward, and argues that such moments -- although, well, awkward -- have great value. Fascinating!

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

    Gretchen: You’ve done fascinating research. What has surprised or intrigued you – or your readers -- most?

    Melissa: 
It’s funny — when I would tell my friends and colleagues what I was writing about, a lot of them had the same reaction: “You don’t strike me as particularly awkward!” Which, first of all, thank you, I will take the compliment.

    But that response kind of encapsulates what ended up interesting me (and surprising me) about this subject. I became somewhat obsessed with the idea of understanding awkwardness as an emotion, not a personality trait. I mean, it can be both of those things — there are certainly “awkward people” out there. But to me, it’s also a feeling. I may not seem “awkward” from the outside, but I feel it almost constantly! I’m always sure I’m saying or doing the wrong thing; I’m always convinced that people are staring or talking about me after I’ve said or done the wrong thing.

    Another thing that surprised me as I was studying this odd little emotion: I have a few first drafts of chapters floating around in my Google docs somewhere, which are all about how to totally ward yourself off from this feeling — with science! This book was initially going to be about how to “overcome awkwardness”; I actually just the other day looked at my book contract with Penguin, and that’s the description of the book that’s in there! But I didn’t end up writing about that at all. In the end, it became more about accepting awkwardness, and even appreciating it. It became a way of finding joy in the absolute absurdity of the human experience.

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


    Melissa: TWITTER! Oh my god!

    I mean, on the one hand, it’s great. I’ve connected with so many cool people through Twitter — it has brought genuinely good things to my life. I’ve made offline, IRL friends through idle chitchat on the site, and I’ve met editors and writers in my field who I’ve ended up working with. Sometimes it helps spark story ideas, or alerts me to some new psychology research that I’m able to cover before anyone else does. Actually, now that I think about it, I practically owe this book to Twitter: Years ago, I started chatting about running with another writer, who eventually connected me with her literary agent, who eventually sold Cringeworthy to Penguin!

    But on the other hand! Oh, the other, terrible hand. I waste so much time on the site, first of all. I know I need to download one of those apps that limits the time you spend on time-waster websites, but I think part of me doesn’t want to give it up. (Also, I tried doing this years ago, and just found ways to get around the blocks I set up for myself — I downloaded the app to Chrome, so after a while, I just started to go to Firefox to get on Twitter. Gah!) It’s also starting to feel almost unethical to stay on the site — I read something somewhere once (maybe on The Awl? RIP!) that compared it to eating meat: It’s something most of us ethically, logically, know we mayyyyybe should give up, or at least limit, but we just … don’t … want to.

    Can you quit a habit that part of you doesn’t really want to quit? I don’t know. But I do know this is getting ridiculous; I checked Twitter twice while writing this answer.

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


    Melissa: When I was in the final stages of writing Cringeworthy, a lot of my healthy habits disappeared as I desperately tried to finish this, the biggest project I’ve ever attempted. The last few days were particularly ridiculous: me shunning my perfectly functional desk for an Ikea Poang chair, surrounded by half-drunk cans of energy drinks and various open bags of chips and cookies. (All the greats are said to have had their idiosyncratic writing rituals; I was sad to discover that this, apparently, is mine.)

    It really wasn’t that hard to clean my diet back up, but during this time, I’d also totally fallen out of the habit of running, something I’ve done most days of the week for the past 10 years or so. There are obvious physical benefits to running, or cardio in general, but I’ve always loved the activity more for the mental clarity it provides than anything else. I always have some new race on the horizon, which usually helps keep me motivated. But for some reason, I just couldn’t get back into it! I would sign up for races and then fail to train adequately, so I would end up skipping them. I was even supposed to run the NYC Marathon this fall, but had to skip that, too, because — again — I hadn’t kept up with the training.

    So I tried something new: a run streak. The rules are simple. You run every single day, for at least one mile. And … it worked! I’ve run every day for the last seventy days, even in the rain, even in the snow. (Okay, sometimes I take it indoors, but still. It counts!) I know you’ve written, Gretchen, on how the small things we do every day sometimes matter more than the big things we do once in a while, and that feels so true to me in this experience.

    I don’t know how long I’ll keep it up. One hundred days seems like a nice goal. Only 30 days away at this point! But at the same time, I’ve sort of decided I’m free to abandon it whenever I feel like it. The point of this whole thing was to get back into the habit of running, and that’s certainly happened.

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


    Melissa: Honestly, I sometimes struggle with feeling like a total pain, or a killjoy! I want to eat healthy, but if everyone else is ordering fries, I feel like I’m letting them down, somehow, if I order a salad. People comment on it, you know? Or if I’m on vacation, and I get up to go running, people comment on that too. It’s those little comments that bug me more than they should. Sometimes I brush them off, but sometimes even anticipating them is enough to make me drop my habit for the duration of the dinner out, or the group vacation, or whatever.

    I’m getting better at sticking to my healthy habits, anyway, though. Maybe it’s just a matter of growing up a bit, and feeling more comfortable in my own dorky Upholder skin.

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

    Melissa: As I mentioned earlier, I lean Upholder, for sure. It’s usually not difficult for me to keep outer and inner expectations — well, with the exception of Twitter, I guess? Ha. But, yeah — I run marathons for fun, I wrote this book on top of having a full-time job. I floss.

    What I’ve really appreciated from your writing about the Four Tendencies is something that you’ve said yourself, Gretchen — correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to remember you saying that people have asked you things about the changes you made while writing books like The Happiness Project like, “How did you get yourself to do that?” And your response was something like, “I just … did it?” That’s mostly how I operate, too. I decide to make a change, and it doesn’t take a whole lot of inner or outer cajoling to make it happen. (I guess with the run streak and the Twitter debacle I’ve described my exceptions to this rule! But generally, when I decide to do something, I do just … do it.) I grew up going to church, and my favorite verse even when I was a little kid encapsulates this tendency of mine. I like the old-timey King James Version: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”

    Anyway! What I’ve really appreciated about this notion of “tendencies” is the grace it’s reminded me to give other people. Not everyone functions the way I do — and that’s fine! It’s helped me so much at work and in my personal life, as a gentle little reminder that different people are different, and not everyone sees and responds to the world in the same way I do.

    Gretchen: I would also, of course, shine a spotlight on anything that you’d particularly like to bring to readers’ attention.

    Melissa: This sort of builds on that last question, of reminding yourself that your way of seeing the world is not the only way of seeing the world. It gets at what I’ve started to call Cringe Theory.

    I think that the moments that make you cringe are the moments when you realize that there is a difference between the way you perceive yourself and the way that others perceive you. Something that really helped me understand the feeling, actually, was a piece I wrote a couple years ago for Science of Us, about why so many of us cringe at the sound of our own voices. Briefly, here’s an explanation for why our voices sound so different to us when we hear them played back: When you speak, you hear your own voice through your ears, but you’re also sort of hearing it through the bones of your skull. Bone conduction transmits lower frequencies than air conduction; if you’ve ever heard a recording of your own voice and been surprised at how much higher-pitched you sound, this is why.

    So, okay, that helps explain why your recorded voice sounds so different. But why does that make you cringe?

    This turns out to be a pretty perfect metaphor for my understanding of cringe theory. I think we cringe — so, we feel awkward, in other words — when the version of ourselves we think we’re presenting to the world meets the version of ourselves the world is actually seeing. We like to pretend those two are one and the same, and that the way you perceive yourself is the way others are perceiving you, too. Sometimes that’s true. But when it isn’t — when you see the way your self-concept isn’t measuring up to others’ concept of you — I think that’s when we cringe at ourselves.

    It’s when we cringe at others, too — when we can see the self that someone else is trying to present to the world, and we can also see that they’re not quite succeeding.

    So, looked at in this way, awkward or embarrassing moments are moments that force you out of your own perspective and into someone else’s. They remind you that your way of looking at the world is not the only way. I’ve come to genuinely love them for that. It’s nice to get a break every once in a while from your own point of view.

     
  • feedwordpress 15:05:14 on 2018/02/13 Permalink
    Tags: , , Relationships, spouse, sweetheart, valentines   

    Self-knowledge Can Help You Strengthen Your Romantic Relationships 

    Valentine’s Day is almost here – and if you’ve been thinking about the relationships in your life, you may be thinking about some questions that I often get: "How do people’s Tendencies play out in romantic relationships? Are any pairings particularly strong – or particularly troubled? Can The Four Tendencies help me improve my relationship?"

    If you don’t know anything about the Four Tendencies – whether you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel – you can take the free quiz here (more than 1.3 million people have taken it).

    When we first meet someone, we’re often attracted to the very qualities that, over time, will drive us nuts. An Upholder might initially be intrigued by a Rebel’s refusal to play by the rules, and the Rebel may be drawn to the Upholder’s ability to get things done—but five years into the marriage, those qualities look much less attractive.

    For instance, I’m an Upholder, and realizing that my husband Jamie is a Questioner dramatically improved our dealings. One common (ironic, annoying) aspect of the Questioner Tendency is that Questioners often hate to answer questions. Now that I know that fact, I don’t take it personally when Jamie refuses to answer a question. Also, I know I’m more likely to get an answer from him if I explain why I’m asking. "What time are we leaving? Because I’m wondering if I have time to go to the gym."

    So if you know your Tendency and the Tendency of your sweetheart, that knowledge can help you strengthen your relationship, by alleviating resentment, boosting understanding, figuring out how to get things done more efficiently, and minimizing anger.

    So what are some things to keep in mind about the Four Tendencies, in relationships?

    Upholders:

    • They’re self-directed; they get things done on their own and keep to their promises
    • They embrace routine and may struggle to adjust to sudden scheduling changes
    • They can be very committed to meeting inner expectations, even when it’s inconvenient for you—"I know we have guests this weekend, but I need to go for my twelve-mile run." This can make them seem cold
    • They may be judgmental of those who won’t or don’t meet expectations easily
    • They can seem uptight or rigid

    Questioners:

    • They put a high value on reason, research, information, and efficiency
    • They follow an "authority" only if they trust his or her expertise and may reject "expert" opinion in favor of their own conclusions
    • Spouses may become frustrated by Questioners’ persistent questioning
    • Questioners often dislike being questioned themselves
    • They resist anything arbitrary—like "We have to clean the basement this weekend"
    • They can suffer "analysis-paralysis" when they can’t make a decision or move forward because they want more, more, more information
    • When making a request of a Questioner, spouses should include plenty of explanation—"We have to get the car inspected or risk a big fine," not "Because I say so" or "That’s the rule"

    Obligers:

    • They put a high value on meeting commitments to others, however...
    • Obligers readily meet outer expectations but they struggle to meet inner expectations, and while sweethearts sometimes count as "outer," they often count as "inner"—in which case Obligers don’t meet a spouse’s expectation
    • They require supervision, deadlines, monitoring, and other forms of accountability
    • They may have trouble saying "no" or setting limits on others’ demands
    • They may have trouble delegating, because they feel that an expectations attaches to them personally—"I can’t hire someone to mow the lawn; I have to do it myself"
    • Spouses should ensure that the desires and needs of their Obliger spouses get articulated and met, or face the risk of Obliger-rebellion if Obligers feel that they’ve been exploited, neglected, or unheard for too long

    Rebels:

    • They put a high value on freedom, choice, and self-expression; they can do anything they want to do
    • If someone asks or tells them to do something, they’re likely to resist – something like "doctor’s orders" annoy them
    • Rebels can often be manipulated to act out of resistance: "I’ll show you," "Watch me"
    • They may choose to act out of love for you
    • They resist routines, schedules, and repetitive tasks; they like to act spontaneously—"It’s midnight, and now I feel like fixing that door"
    • They resist supervision, advice, nagging, or reminders; when you remind Rebels to do a task, you’re very likely making it less likely that they will do it
    • They’re may resist settling down in a particular house, city, or job
    • To inspire a Rebel to act, it’s most effective to appeal to their identity, or to use information-consequence-choice

    Another common question is "How do the Tendencies pair up? Any particularly good combos or bad combos?"

    Your Tendency is just one narrow slice of your nature. So many elements go into people’s attraction for each other, and the success of a relationship, it’s hard to make too many generalizations. But here are a few:

    • Obligers are "type O" – they pair up the most easily with the other Tendencies.
    • If your sweetheart is a Rebel, you’re probably an Obliger. Rebels almost always pair up with Obligers, whether in romance or at work.
    • The most difficult pairing is Upholder + Rebel. It’s not unheard of, but it’s unusual, and often includes special circumstances. The two types are just very opposite from each other.

    Has understanding the Four Tendencies framework helped make your relationship stronger or more loving? I’d be very interested to hear how it played out in your situation if you feel like adding your comment. If you want to learn more about how to understand yourself and your sweetheart, order a copy of The Four Tendencies.

     
  • feedwordpress 10:00:12 on 2018/02/10 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Relationships,   

    My 5 Favorite Novels About Relationships 

    Given that Valentine’s Day is approaching, if you’d like to read a novel about relationships, here are some of my favorites.

    Never fear, each one stands on its own, and is well worth reading even if you’re not particularly interested in the subject. If you’re looking for a compelling, page-turning novel, choose any one of these:

    1. Crossing to Safety, Wallace Stegner – A beautiful account of love as it unfolds over the years. Fun fact: Justice O’Connor told me this is her favorite book.
    2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen – of course! One of the most purely enjoyable novels of all time, with a great hero and heroine.
    3. Happy All the Time, Laurie Colwin – a happy story of new love, with all its delights and anxieties.
    4. The Enchanted April, Elizabeth von Arnim – four very different women, strangers to each other, rent a castle in Italy for a month, which has unexpected consequences in their lives.
    5. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson – love comes to a minister, very late in his life. One of my favorite novels, ever.

    What’s your favorite book about relationships?

     
  • gretchenrubin 17:51:14 on 2017/11/16 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Relationships,   

    A Happiness Paradox for Thanksgiving: Happiness Doesn’t Always Make Us Feel Happy. 

    In my study of happiness and human nature, I'm always striving to identify fundamental principles.

    For instance, I identified the Eight Splendid Truths of Happiness.

    The First Splendid Truth is: To be happier, we have to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.

    The First Splendid Truth accounts for a paradox I noticed within happiness: sometimes, happiness doesn't make us feel happy. (This is the kind of statement that a scientist couldn't say, but I can.)

    I was reminded of this paradox this morning, during a conversation with a friend.

    "Are you going to your mother's house for Thanksgiving?" I asked. "Looking forward to it?"

    "Yes, I am," he said, "but I'm not looking forward to it. I'll be doing all the work, because no one else can be relied on to do anything, and I don't really like spending time with most of my family."

    "So why do you go?"

    "It's important to my mother, she wants us to have these times together," he said with a shrug. "So I do it, even though it means passing up invitations to spend the holiday with my friends, which would be much more fun."

    Right. Because sometimes happiness means living up to our values, even when it makes us "feel bad" to do so, or doing things to promote other people's happiness, even when it doesn't make us "feel good."

    My friend is willing to "feel bad" by being bored, annoyed, overworked, and unappreciated with his family, and to give up the opportunity to "feel good" by having fun with his friends, in order to "feel right" about his relationship to his mother and family.

    We're happy when we know when we're living up to our values for ourselves. Even if that happiness doesn't make us feel happy.

    Can you think of examples from your own life when happiness didn't make you feel happy?

     
  • gretchenrubin 14:00:04 on 2017/08/23 Permalink
    Tags: , , Relationships,   

    Podcast 131: Do 10 Jumping Jacks, an Easy Way to Stay Off Your Device–and Life Is High School. 

    Happier with Gretchen Rubin

    Update: I’m excited because my new book, The Four Tendencies, hits the shelves in just 19 days.

    I’m looking forward to heading to Los Angeles, and many other cities, on my book tour. Info here if you’d like to come to an event.

    To thank readers who pre-order, I worked with a terrific production team to create a series of videos about the Four Tendencies. After the book goes on sale, I’ll charge for these videos, but until then, you can get access to them for free if you pre-order. Find all the info here. There’s an overview video, then subject videos on using the Four Tendencies at work, with spouses and sweethearts, with children and students, and in health-care settings.

    It was great to hear everyone’s suggestions for anti-perfectionism mantras. Wonderful.

    If you want to check out Chris Guillebeau’s brilliant podcastSide Hustle School,” for ideas about how to start your own side hustle, learn more here.

    Try This at Home: Do ten jumping jacks. It will boost your mood and increase your energy.

    If you want to listen to the Happier 911 playlist on Spotify, it’s here. Such a terrific collection of songs.

    Happiness Hack: As a way to cut down device addiction, Eric suggests that by forcing yourself to type in a long password to open your phone–rather than using a 6-digit password or fingerprint–you make it more inconvenient to open your phone and therefore easier to stay off it.

    I talk about this strategy, the Strategy of Inconvenience, in Better Than Before.

    Happiness Stumbling Block: When you feel like you’re in high school, all over again. The thing is, life is high school.

    1pixHappier with Gretchen RubinListener Question: Bethleen asks, “What should I do with my dead mother’s wedding dress?” As promised, I include a photo of Kristen in her vintage wedding dress.

    Gretchen’s Demerit: I gave myself a prospective demerit, as a way to do a “pre-mortem” to anticipate reasons for failure. Doing a pre-mortem helps identify ways to help a project to succeed. This is an exercise that really works!

    To learn more about doing a pre-mortem, read Gary Klein’s piece “Peforming a Project Premortem” in the Harvard Business Review.

    I did a pre-mortem by thinking, “My book fizzled. What did I do wrong?” and got very fired up to promote my book more. For instance, here’s the link to the pre-order bonus videos.

    Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth gave a gold star to her friend Jessica who entered — and won! — a Beverly Hills Pie-Baking Contest.


    Free Resources:

    1. Want to join my group of Super-Fans? From time to time, I’ll offer you a little bonus, or ask for a small favor (nothing onerous, I promise). Sign up here. Super-Fans, I so appreciate your support and enthusiasm.
    2. To get the pre-order bonus, you can find info here, or at happiercast.com/4tbonus. You’ll get the overview video as well as subject videos on using the Four Tendencies at work, with spouses and sweethearts, with children and students, and in health-care settings.  Free now; after the book comes out, there will be a charge for the video series.

    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.

    As I mentioned above, 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.

    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.

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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.

    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 Happier in Hollywood.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 131: Do 10 Jumping Jacks, an Easy Way to Stay Off Your Device–and Life Is High School. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 14:08:03 on 2017/08/14 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Relationships   

    A Little Happier: Don’t Sleep Through the Beautiful Moments. 

    This moment happened many, many years ago, when I was first married to my husband Jamie. It was over in five minutes, and I was back asleep in bed, but I learned a crucial lesson (which, sadly, I often forget to apply).

    Have you ever slept through a beautiful moment?

    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: Don’t Sleep Through the Beautiful Moments. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 12:08:19 on 2017/08/02 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Relationships, ,   

    Podcast 128: Connect with TV, Conquering the Snooze Alarm–and Is It Possible to be a Mix of the Four Tendencies? 

    Update: Elizabeth is excited because tomorrow on the “Happier in Hollywood” podcast, she and Sarah talk about a very common happiness stumbling block: self-criticism. When is it helpful, and when is it toxic?

    I’m excited because my new book, The Four Tendencies, hits the shelves in just 41 days. So close, and yet so far!

    Pre-orders give a big boost to a book, so to thank readers who pre-order, I worked with a terrific production team to create a series of videos about the Four Tendencies. After the book goes on sale, I’ll charge for these videos, but until then, you can get access to them for free if you pre-order. Find all the info here. There’s an overview video, then subject videos on using the Four Tendencies at work, with spouses and sweethearts, with children and students, and in health-care settings.

    Try This at Home:  Connect through television. On episode 9 of “Happier in Hollywood,” the weekly “Hollywood Hack” was to “watch the TV shows your boss watches” to create an easy way to connect.

    But TV is a great way to connect not only with a boss, but also with co-workers, teenagers, grandparents…many relationships. Have you ever used TV to strengthen an important relationship?

    I quote from Tyler Cowen’s Discover You Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Your Motivate Your Dentist.

    Happiness Hack: Put your alarm device across the room, so you have to get out of bed in order to turn off the noise.

    1pix

    Four Tendencies Tip: If you want to take the Quiz, to see whether you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel, it’s here.

    People often suggest that they think they’re a mix of Tendencies, but I argue that just about every one of us does fall into one core Tendency.

    That said, the Tendencies do overlap, and it’s possible to “tip” to a Tendency that overlaps with your core Tendency. For instance, I’m an UPHOLDER/Questioner, and Elizabeth is an OBLIGER/Questioner.

    Listener Question: Debbie asks how to figure out if she truly finds it fun to pursue the outdoor activities that her husband loves.

    Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth has started playing a new app game, Two Dots.

    Gretchen’s Gold Star: I managed to stay (reasonably) calm while Eliza and I were shopping for some things she needs for college.


    Three Resources:

    1. To get the pre-order bonus, you can find info here, or at happiercast.com/4tbonus. You’ll get the overview video as well as subject videos on using the Four Tendencies at work, with spouses and sweethearts, with children and students, and in health-care settings.  Free now; after the book comes out, there will be a charge for the video series.
    2.  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.

    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.

    As I mentioned above, 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.

    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.

     

    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 128: Connect with TV, Conquering the Snooze Alarm–and Is It Possible to be a Mix of the Four Tendencies? appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • Crystal Ellefsen 10:00:12 on 2017/08/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , Relationships,   

    A Mother’s Brilliant Strategy for Dealing with Rebel Pre-schooler 

    Rebel preschooler help

    In Very Special Episode 120 of the “Happier” podcast, Elizabeth and I discussed listeners’ question about the Four Tendencies. This was a real treat for me, because I love talking about this subject so much.

    Starting at about minute 10:38, we discussed a question from Dawn, an Upholder who wanted tips for dealing more effectively with her daughter, a Rebel pre-schooler.

    We talked about focusing on identity and on the information-consequences-choice sequence, which are the two main strategies of dealing more effectively with Rebels. A useful third option? Just doing nothing at all! Which is often the best solution.

    After the episode aired, I was fascinated to get this follow-up email from Dawn, about how she changed her way of engaging with daughter, with great success.


    Hi Gretchen,

     

    Thank you SO much for addressing my question about my Rebel preschool daughter in episode 120 on the podcast! I was so delighted to hear my question made it in. (A friend actually texted me before I had a chance to listen to ask if I had sent in a question b/c it sound so much like my situation)

     

    I wanted to send a quick update to let you know how much your advice has helped. I really have tried to embrace the idea that I CAN’T make her do anything. I can’t! She knows it, I know it, and it’s changed a lot of how I talk to her about things.  I make such an effort to make everything her choice. She can do it if she wants to, and if she doesn’t well then here’s what will happen. Very matter of fact, very calm, not punitive, just the facts.

     

    Here’s an example of how I’ve changed my language.  She was looking at books on the couch and my parents were about to arrive for dinner. She had to wash up for dinner and I thought she should get it over with now, before the get here, to not miss the fun hellos. If I were speaking to my older daughter (tendency TBD but definitely not rebel) I would have said:

     

    “You need wash up before dinner. Please go do it now so you won’t have to do it when Nanny and Poppy are here.”

     

    I now know I would NEVER say that to the rebel. NEED to do something! HA! She would say. I don’t NEED to do anything.  I really thought for a minute and picked my words carefully.

     

    “I’m going to ask you to wash up before dinner. Nanny and Poppy will be here soon. You can choose. You can go now and then you won’t have to do it when they’re here, or you can do it right before dinner, but then you’ll have to leave them to do it. Whatever you choose is fine with me. It’s your choice.” (I did in fact say choice that many times)

     

    A minute after I left her I heard her little footsteps walking over to the sink. She was done right before they walked in the door and was THRILLED that she could say hello and chat and walk right over to the table.

     

    I’ve also appealed to her sense of identity. She was hyper when we were visiting my frail old grandparents and I was truly afraid she was going knock one of them over. Telling her she HAS to stop running and calm down would have failed. I told her Grammie just got out of the hospital b/c she fell and she’s not sturdy on her feet yet and she needs her protectors. She needs the kids to be careful around her and protect her and make sure she doesn’t fall again. Success!  Or when she was sharing a room with her little cousin on vacation. Instead of you HAVE to be quite while he’s falling asleep I said, he’s younger than you and he’s so tired and needs to sleep. Will you be his helper? Will you help him go to sleep by ignoring him and letting him rest? She jumped at the chance.

     

    Overall I would say part of the success has come from me changing my language and how I talk to her, but part of the success has also come from me changing my perspective and fully embracing that I can’t make her do things.

     

    As an Upholder it’s also been freeing to let her help me break the rules a little. Like so what if we’re late? It was a self-imposed timetable, no one is counting on us. I’ve embraced her rebel-ness and this has allowed me see things differently. You’re so right. We’re free-er than we think!!!

     

    Thank you so, so much.

    Dawn


    I have to say, I’m constantly astonished by the subtlety and imagination people use in applying the Four Tendencies. Dawn asking her daughter if she’d like to be her great-grandmother’s “protector!” Her young cousin’s “helper!” Brilliant.

    If Rebels are pushed to show you that “you’re not the boss of me, you can’t tell me what to,” they may seem wild, inconsiderate, irresponsible, unmanageable, in their desire to demonstrate their freedom. If they’re given the choice to act with consideration, love, protectiveness, self-interest, they may well choose to do so.

    It’s also interesting to me to read that Dawn feels that she’s learned, as an Upholder, from the example of her Rebel daughter. As an Upholder myself, I’ve certainly gained tremendously from studying the Rebel perspective. We’re more free than we think.

    I love hearing stories and examples of how people have put the Four Tendencies to work in their own lives. Henry James himself couldn’t invent such rich, creative examples of character in action. Keep them coming!

    Don’t forget, if you’ve pre-ordered The Four Tendencies, you can get access to a very special pre-order bonus. This 5-part video series will help you to start harnessing the power of the Four Tendencies immediately. I explain how to harness the strengths—and manage the weaknesses—of each Tendency, whether at work, in relationships, as a parent or teacher, or as a health-care provider.

     

    The post A Mother’s Brilliant Strategy for Dealing with Rebel Pre-schooler appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 17:37:20 on 2017/07/21 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Relationships, , ,   

    Do You Face These Common Problems in Happiness and Habits? Here’s Your Answer! 

    For years, I’ve been reading, writing, and talking to people about their happiness and good habits. My preoccupation is: how can we make our lives happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative?

    The Happiness Project, Happier at Home, Better Than Before, and now The Four Tendencies — all, in their own way, address this fundamental question.

    And as I’ve talked to people, certain challenges keep coming up, over and over.

    For years, I was so puzzled by them, I couldn’t stop thinking about them and trying to figure out the answers. Perhaps some sound familiar to you:

    • People can rely on me, so why can’t I rely on myself?
    • Why do people tell me that I ask too many questions?
    • How do I work with someone who refuses to do what I ask?
    • Why do people just do whatever they’re told to do, like lemmings, without demanding good reasons?
    • Why can’t I make myself do anything?
    • Why won’t you change what you’re doing, after I’ve explained the serious consequences of failing to change?
    • Why do people keep telling me I’m uptight?
    • Why do I have writer’s block?
    • How can I deal with someone who keeps telling me what to do?
    • How can I stop my teenager from dropping out of school?
    • How can my team become more effective, with less wasted time and conflict?
    • Why is everything an argument with my child?
    • I’m deeply committed to doing this thing (working on a novel, exercising regularly), so why can’t I do it?
    • Why can’t other people just get their own s!$* done?
    • Why can’t I convince my patients to take their prescriptions?
    • Why does my mother keep emailing me articles?
    • My child is so smart and does well on tests, so why does he refuse to do his homework?
    • How can I help my spouse to lose weight? To exercise?
    • Why can’t I start my side hustle?
    • Why am I always the one asked to pick up the extra work around here?
    • Why is it taking me so long to make this decision?
    • Why can’t my sweetheart be more spontaneous?
    • Why does this person refuse to answer my questions?
    • Why do my co-workers refuse to act with common courtesy — how hard is it to put your mug in the office dishwasher?
    • Why can’t I keep my promises to myself?
    • Why does this employee keep challenging every decision I make?
    • My spouse will do anything to help a client, so why can’t I get any help?

    Why You Act, Why You Don’t

    Perhaps it seems unlikely, but it’s true — the Four Tendencies framework sheds light on all these questions.

    With every single one of these questions, I have an answer that I think can help, using the Four Tendencies.

    To take just one example, I received this email about a teacher who used her knowledge of the Four Tendencies to change her way of working with a Rebel — in a way that allowed that Rebel to succeed:

    I’m a teacher at our local county jail, mostly GED and high school diploma courses. Recently I had a student who was getting in her own way—arguing with the guards and not completing assignments. I believed her when she said that she really wanted to get her GED—yet she wasn’t making progress.

    It dawned on me that she is a Rebel. I shared your theory with her, and it really helped her see herself in a new, more positive way. I stopped asking her to do homework and let her decide each day how she wanted to study: computer software, group lesson, independently, or not at all. As I write this, she has passed five of the five tests, and thus completed her high school equivalency.

    When you know if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel, you understand yourself much better — why you act, why you don’t act, why you feel the way you do.

    And as the example above demonstrates, when you understand other people’s Tendencies, you gain great perspective on why they act, why they don’t act, and why they feel the way they do.

    To a degree that astonishes me, simple tweaks in language and circumstances can allow people to do a much better job in dealing with themselves and others.

    I certainly use the Tendencies myself. I’m married to a Questioner, and I’ve learned that I always need to explain the reason if I want him to do something. Even just yesterday. I was filling out a tiresome form that asked for his work address. I called him and asked, “What’s your work address?” He answered, “Why ?”

    Now, if he’d asked me a similar question, I would’ve just answered. I wouldn’t ask why. But my husband wasn’t going to meet even the smallest expectation — tell me your work address — without knowing why.

    That used to bug me. Why wouldn’t he just do what I asked? Why did he slow down the process? Now I don’t get annoyed with him, because I understand his nature.

    Managing yourself, and others, is much easier when you know what to do — and why.

     

    Want to find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel? Take the quick Quiz here.

    Want to learn more about the framework? Order my book The Four Tendencies. All is revealed!

    Want to talk about the Four Tendencies with other people? Join the discussion on my free Better app.

     

    The post Do You Face These Common Problems in Happiness and Habits? Here’s Your Answer! appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
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