A Happiness Booster: Flying Through the Air in a Bamboo Grove (by the Magic of Photography) – Happiness Article

Earlier this year, my sister Elizabeth (also co-host of the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast) and I went for a visit to the Golden Door spa in California, and we had a wonderful sisterly time there. So when the Golden Door suggested that I participate in an advertising spread they were planning, I was intrigued—especially when I learned that the photographer was Alexi Lubomirski. Lubomirski is a very well-known photographer who’s perhaps best known for taking the official photographs of…

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“Distraction Starts from Within; It is Our Never-ending Search for an Escape from Psychological Discomfort.” – Personal Development Article

Interview: Nir Eyal I’ve know Nir for years now. How do we know each other? I don’t even remember! I’m a huge fan of his first book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, which I found very useful when I was working on my book Better Than Before, all about habit change. I also attended his first conference, Habit Summit, which is where I met the brilliant folks at Aperio Insights who designed my quiz for the Four Tendencies framework.…

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What I Read This Month: September 2019 – Happiness Article

For more than two years now, every Monday morning, I’ve posted a photo on my Facebook Page of the books I finished during the week, with the tag #GretchenRubinReads.  I get a big kick out of this weekly habit—it’s a way to shine a spotlight on all the terrific books that I’ve read. As I write about in my book Better Than Before, for most of my life, my habit was to finish any book that I started. Finally, I realized that…

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“Why is it Easy to Make That Initial Decision to Change, and Even to Start, But Difficult to Persist?” – Self Improvement Article

Interview: Wendy Wood. From my time researching and writing Better Than Before, my book about habit change, I know the fascinating work of Wendy Wood. Wendy Wood is a social psychologist whose research addresses the ways that habits guide behavior—and why they are so difficult to break—as well as evolutionary accounts of gender differences in behavior. She is Provost Professor of Psychology and Business at the University of Southern California, where she also served as Vice Dean of Social Sciences.…

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“Mood and Energy and Self-Care Are a Huge and Under-Appreciated Part of Creativity.” – Happiness Article

Interview: Chase Jarvis. Chase Jarvis is an award-winning artist, entrepreneur, and one of the most influential photographers of the past decade. He has created campaigns for Apple, Nike, Red Bull and others, was a contributor to the Pulitzer-winning New York Times story “Snowfall,” and earned an Emmy nomination for his documentary Portrait of a City. He also created “Best Camera”—the first photo app to share images to social networks, and is the founder of CreativeLive, where more than 10 million…

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“The Animal Version of Happy Boils Down to Two Things: Safety and Discovery.” – Personal Development Article

Interview: Kathryn Bowers I got to know Kathryn because we’re both in a writers’ group, the Invisible Institute. I love this group because although we’re all non-fiction writers, we cover an extremely wide range of subjects. When else would I hang out in a professional group with someone like Kathryn—who’s an applied animal behaviorist and science writer? Her first book, Zoobiquity: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health, was a New York Times bestseller and was recently featured at…

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“Ever Since I Nearly Died, I’ve Lived with a Sense that I’m in ‘Overtime’ and Every Second Counts.” – Self Improvement Article

Interview: David Fajgenbaum. Dr. David Fajgenbaum has undergone an extraordinary medical experience. During medical school, he had his last rites read in 2010 and nearly died four more times as he battled a rare and incurable illness. Thanks to a drug that he discovered in his lab—and began testing on himself—he’s now in his longest longest remission ever (5.5 years). He leads the effort to cure his disease—idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease—as a physician-scientist at Penn and co-founder of the Castleman…

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“Happiness Is Not Something You Can Measure Against Others.” – Happiness Article

Interview: Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, Founders of theSkimm Co-Founders and Co-CEOs of theSkimm, Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg launched theSkimm from their couch in 2012 and have built a brand with more than 7 million daily subscribers. The company started with the Daily Skimm, the fastest growing email newsletter on the market (sign up here), and has expanded to include theSkimm app, Skimm Studies, Skimm Reads, Skimm Picks and Skimm Notes, Skimm This. Not only that, there’s a production…

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How to Use Quick, Easy Habits to Create and Maintain Outer Order. – Self Improvement Article

In my study of happiness, I’ve realized that for most of us, outer order contributes to inner calm. Easy, quick, regular habits make it possible to manage possessions before they accumulate into clutter. My new book Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter and Organize to Make More Room for Happiness offers tips and strategies for tackling clutter. One simple concept from the book that seems to really resonate with people is this: it’s far easier to keep up than to catch up,…

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“When We Fail in Some Way or Another, We Can Simply Begin Again.” – Personal Development Article

Interview: Jerry Colonna Jerry Colonna has had a very interesting career. He is a well-regarded venture capitalist, and as an executive coach, he’s helped many people do their best work. He’s the cofounder and CEO of Reboot.io, an executive coaching and leadership development firm. If you listen to the terrific podcast Start Up, in Season 4, Episode 3, you may remember hearing from Jerry Colonna. Gimlet co-founders Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber talked to him to help them work through…

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FAQ: What if My Result from the Four Tendencies Quiz Doesn’t Seem Right? – Happiness Article

I’ve developed a personality framework that divides people into four categories, the “Four Tendencies“: Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, and Rebel. To find out your “Tendency,” take the quick free quiz here. More than two million people have taken this quiz! From time to time, people ask me, “But what if I feel like I’m all four of the Tendencies?” or “I got a certain answer on the quiz, but I think I’m actually a combo of two Tendencies, is that possible?”…

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“Creativity Begins with Noticing What Everyone Else Overlooked.” – Self Improvement Article

Interview: Rob Walker Rob Walker is a journalist who writes about design, technology, business, and the arts, among other things. He’s been a columnist for the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine and Lifehacker, and has written several books, and has several fascinating side projects. I’m interested in many of the things that he’s interested in—most recently, the subject of his latest book, The Art of Noticing: 131 Ways to Spark Creativity, Find Inspiration, and Discover Joy in…

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What I Read This Month: June 2019 – Happiness Article

For more than two years now, every Monday morning, I’ve posted a photo on my Facebook Page of the books I finished during the week, with the tag #GretchenRubinReads.  I get a big kick out of this weekly habit—it’s a way to shine a spotlight on all the terrific books that I’ve read. As I write about in my book Better Than Before, for most of my life, my habit was to finish any book that I started. Finally, I realized that…

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“[I Love] the Challenge of Doing Stuff that Scares Me Because that Relief and Happiness You Feel on the Other Side Makes It Worth It.” – Self Improvement Article

Interview: Amanda Little Amanda Little is a professor of journalism and science writing at Vanderbilt University. Her reporting on energy, technology, and the environment has appeared in publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Wired, Rolling Stone, and Bloomberg Businessweek. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and children. She has just published a new book: The Fate of Food: What We’ll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World. In a nutshell: “Amanda Little tells the defining story of the…

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“The Stories We Tell Ourselves Are What Make Our Dreams Come True.” – Self Improvement Article

Interview: Sheri Salata Sheri Salata has had a remarkable career. She served as co-president of Oprah Winfrey Network and president of Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions. In various roles, she worked with Oprah for twenty-one years. Then she decided to go out on her own, and reinvent her career and her life. Along with her longtime best friend Nancy Hala, she has launched The Pillar Life as a way to create more happiness, success, and abundance. The eight “Pillars” they explore…

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“When I Feel Anxious, I Make Lists: ‘What’s Going Well Right Now?’ and “What Bothers Me?’” – Self Improvement Article

Interview: Chris Guillebeau Chris Guillebeau and I have been friends and colleagues for a long time—so long that I don’t remember how or when we met. I’ve attended his terrific conference, World Domination Summit; we’ve done book events together; and his excellent daily podcast Side Hustle School is part of the Onward Project, the family of podcasts headed up by me, all about making your life better (along with Do the Thing with Whole30’s Melissa Hartwig Urban, Happier in Hollywood,…

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What I Read This Month: May 2019 – Self Improvement Article

For more than two years now, every Monday morning, I’ve posted a photo on my Facebook Page of the books I finished during the week, with the tag #GretchenRubinReads.  I get a big kick out of this weekly habit—it’s a way to shine a spotlight on all the terrific books that I’ve read. As I write about in my book Better Than Before, for most of my life, my habit was to finish any book that I started. Finally, I realized that…

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In Honor of “Game of Thrones” Season 8, I Apply My “Four Tendencies” Framework to the Principal Characters. – Self Improvement Article

Like many people, I’m a huge raving fan of Game of Thrones. I’ve twice read the books by George R.R Martin, and I’ve twice watched the HBO TV series. I love it! And I can’t wait for the final season of television to begin on April 14. (And I can’t wait for George R.R. Martin to publish another book, but that may be a long wait.) I also love the podcast Binge Mode, where co-hosts Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion…

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Dealing with One of the Most Challenging Forms of Clutter: Paper Clutter. – Happiness Article

Paperwork is one of the toughest forms of clutter to vanquish. Often, it’s much more anxiety-provoking and draining than going through a clothes closet or a desk drawer. To decide what to keep and what to toss, ask: Do you actually need this piece of paper or receipt? What specific use does it serve? Have you ever used it? If you’ve never referred to a category of paperwork, apparently you don’t need it. Will it quickly become dated—like travel or…

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A New and Different Happiness Challenge: Recording a Public TV Pledge Show. – Self Improvement Article

I’m very excited — the “Roadmap to Happiness” is about to hit the airwaves! In partnership with the public TV station WETA, I made a “pledge show.” As you’ve probably seen yourself, from time to time, public TV stations have a pledge period when they encourage their viewers to pledge money to support the station. As part of the pledge drive, they air special programming. This might be a concert, a nature documentary…or me talking about happiness, good habits, and…

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Need a Gift for a Mother in Your Life? Some Suggestions. – Self Improvement Article

In the United States, Mother’s Day is coming up on May 12. I’m a big fan for using dates as milestones, as prompts for reflection or action. People sometimes complain that Mother’s Day is a Hallmark-driven, consumerist holiday—but I think it’s nice to be reminded to think about my mother, and to remember everything she’s done for me, and to send a token of my appreciation. Philosophers, religious leaders, and contemporary scientists all agree that gratitude is a key to…

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What I Read This Month: April 2019 – Personal Development Article

For more than two years now, every Monday morning, I’ve posted a photo on my Facebook Page of the books I finished during the week, with the tag #GretchenRubinReads.  I get a big kick out of this weekly habit—it’s a way to shine a spotlight on all the terrific books that I’ve read. As I write about in my book Better Than Before, for most of my life, my habit was to finish any book that I started. Finally, I realized that…

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“I Garden Because I Cannot Help Myself—But It’s the Best Kind of Compulsion.” – Self Improvement Article

Interview: Margaret Roach Margaret Roach worked in publishing for many years, at places like the New York Times, Newsday, and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Then at the end of 2007, she left the city and “success” for a life lived much more quietly and closer to nature. She’s a passionate gardener; has published a popular garden website since 2008; opens her garden for tours a few times a season; writes books; and lectures frequently to help foster an interest in gardening. Not…

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“Our Hearts Are Like the Hogwarts Room of Requirement—They Magically Open Up a New Room Just When We Need It.” – Self Improvement Article

Interview: Nora McInerny A few years ago, Nora McInerny went through tremendous period of grief and loss. Within a month, she miscarried her second baby, her father died of cancer, and then her husband Aaron died from a brain tumor. She explains, “These are all really sad stories, but they are not only sad stories. They are love stories and life stories and sometimes even funny stories.” She has a terrific podcast, Terrible (Thanks for Asking) with honest talk about…

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A Happiness Question: What Should We Do if We Feel Like We’ve Fallen Behind or Fallen Off the Wagon? – Self Improvement Article

When we’re trying to make our lives happier, healthier, more productive, or more creative, we often find ourselves in a frustrating situation: we fall behind or we fall off the wagon. What to do? Here are some useful points to consider: 1. Don’t beat yourself up. Although some people assume that strong feelings of guilt or shame act as safeguards to help people stick to good habits, the opposite is true. People who feel less guilt and who show compassion…

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“The Most Important Habit I’ve Changed Is Going from Being Self-Critical to Being Kind to Myself While Holding Myself Accountable.” – Self Improvement Article

Interview: Lori Gottlieb. Lori Gottlieb is a bestselling writer and a practicing psychotherapist. I can’t remember how I became aware of her work. Did I meet her at an event? Did I read a magazine story she wrote? Do we have a mutual friend? It’s lost in the sands of time, but for some reason, for several years, I’ve paid particular attention to the career of Lori Gottlieb. I know I read her books Marry Him: The Case for Settling…

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“Happiness Doesn’t Mean We Are Feeling ‘Happy’ All of the Time.” – Self Improvement Article

Interview: Karen Rinaldi. Karen Rinaldi has a double bookish identity. She’s worked in the publishing industry for decades, and is now the publisher of Harper Wave, an imprint that she founded. She’s also a writer herself. She wrote the novel The End of Men, and now she has a new non-fiction book with an absolutely great title and premise: (It’s Great to) Suck at Something: The Unexpected Joy of Wiping Out and What It Can Teach Us About Patience, Resilience,…

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“Making One’s Bed In My Mind Is the Most Direct Road to a Happier Life.” – Self Improvement Article

Interview: Isabel Gillies Now, how do I know Isabel Gillies? The answer is lost in the sands of time. We have several mutual friends, perhaps that’s how. She has had a very interesting, varied career. She is an actor who appeared, among other places, on the TV show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and in the movie Metropolitan. She’s also a highly successful writer. Her bestselling memoir Happens Every Day: An All-Too-True Story recounts the story of how her first…

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Revealed! Some of My Favorite Illustrations from the Book “Outer Order, Inner Calm.” – Self Improvement Article

With each book I write, I think, “I’ll never have as much fun writing a book again.” And then I love the next book project even more. Many aspects of writing Outer Order, Inner Calm made it particularly enjoyable. In it, I use a very accessible, concise approach. This book is meant to be read quickly, to get you fired up to clear clutter. I was inspired by a book whose structure I’ve always admired: Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. I’d always…

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Some Advice I Give Myself Over and Over, About My Romantic Relationship. – Self Improvement Article

I love my husband Jamie with all my heart. But as research shows—and I’ve found this in my own experience—married couples often treat each with less courtesy than they show to friends, or even strangers. I find it all too easy to snap at Jamie, to read my email while I’m talking to him on the phone, or to get annoyed by some of his habits. I remind myself often to take good advice—that I know perfectly well! Here are…

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