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ronda Lee roberTS (rLr):
When you were starting your
happiness project, what kind of thought did you put into defining
what it meant to be "happy"?
GreTcHen rubin (Gr):
One of the things one should never
worry about is the definition of the word happiness. There are
something like fifteen academic definitions, so I embraced the
broadness of the term. My focus was on whether something's
going to make me feel happier, and I didn't worry too much about
what the word `happiness' means. I didn't find it a useful thing
to ponder.
Of the people you've studied in your
happiness project, who have been the
most influential?
There were three patron saints of
my happiness project. Ben Franklin was
inspirational because he was super-practical.
From his autobiography, I got the idea of
doing resolution charts. I consider my spiritual
master Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. She was
about the every day and wasn't a flashy saint.
She's a good person to think about when
thinking about ordinary routines. She shows
heroic virtue through every day actions. The
third person, Samuel Johnson, was a crazy
brilliant eccentric lexicographer. Trough
studying him, I feel I learn the most
about myself.
At what point did you think, "I need to
turn my project into a book?"
I don't remember how long I'd been
working on it. I started out thinking it would
just be for me. My favorite thing in the world
is to research. All of my books allow me to do
research; I know I was deep into the research
when I made the decision.
The book's been out for some time now,
how has the book changed your life?
It definitely made me happier. I had really
prepared in the spirit of scientific inquiry to
come out as I went in. From the outside, life
looks exactly the same, so it's striking how
much it's changed. I am writing another book
about happiness and keeping a blog that
touches upon every subject of life, so both of
those help guide me to living a happier life.
In terms of the book, as a writer who loves all
the books I've written, to see it's resonated
with such a large number of people is very
rewarding. I was able to connect with my
audience in a satisfying way.
I'm sure that even with having a book about happiness, you
experience moments that are, let's say, not so happy. How do you
combat this?
I have a whole list of emergency 9-1-1 things that I do. I am
much more tuned into what I can do. Getting enough sleep makes
a huge difference. Things look better in the morning, so sometimes
I will go to sleep early. I will reach out to family or friend. I will
kiss more, hug more, and touch more. I will read children's books
and give myself a treat or a break. I have become obsessed with
the smell of hay. It's beautiful and I decided to save it, so when I
am feeling blue I will smell and enjoy it. A lot of times you can
Gretchen Rubin
self expression