How To Hack Happiness, With Gretchen Rubin

Photo by Andy Ryan.

Gretchen Rubin practically invented the concept of hacking your happiness. With her blog and then best-selling book The Happiness Project, she’s been experimenting for years with how to find and maintain happiness in this crazy world.

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This Week’s Discussion

Gretchen is also the author of the Better Than Before and Happier at Home, and the host of the podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin, where she discusses good habits for happiness with her sister Elizabeth. Gretchen’s with us today to chat about how we can get happy and stay that way.

She gives us a few suggestions on how we can ferret out what makes us truly happy. For example, ask yourself this simple question: What did you do for fun when you were 10 years old? It might seem like a silly question — I don’t think playing Nintendo 64 is key to my happiness as an adult — but it goes straight to the core of who you were before you were too busy with life itself.

You can also ask yourself this uncomfortable question: Who do you envy? Who do you know whose life seems better than yours? It’s probably embarrassing to actually say, but that can illuminate what’s missing from your life and help you realise what you really want.

Listen to our chat with Gretchen for more insight on how to find a little joy in your life.

Our Upgrades of the Week

Every week we like to round out the show with the little upgrades we’ve made in our own life. This week we’re embracing The Annoying Bag and decluttering.

  • Melissa: Melissa’s purging annoying crap from her life. A couple of times a year she grabs what she calls “the annoying bag” and allows herself to toss out stuff that’s just been getting on her nerves, such as shoes that need repair or trinkets that do little more than take up space. So get over the sunk cost fallacy and toss out the sauerkraut.
  • Gretchen: On a similar train of thought, Gretchen’s letting go of all the old white T-shirts she’s accrued and has replaced them with nicer ones. White shirts tend to age terribly but we all feel a little guilty throwing things away that are almost usable. So long, precious junky shirts; Gretchen’s banished them to the annoying bag.
  • Andy: As a matter of pleasant seasonal happenstance, the sun has been shining brightly in my bedroom every morning, and I’ve been happy to wake up gradually to the morning light without need for an infinitely annoying alarm clock. It doesn’t really happen year-round but at this time of year, with this weather, all the angles are right.

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