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comfort yourself by telling yourself you're going to
do something that will make you feel better. If I'm
feeling guilty, I will make amends or do something
nice for someone else. I jump up and down or go
outside for a walk; I have a whole list of things to
use that needing can just be plugged in. So much
of happiness is being mindful. If you know what
you need to do, then you can do it.
When you're getting ready to do your blog
posts, how do you determine what you'll
write about?
I have a list of ideas. Sometimes, I will work
on a blog post over time. Because I do so much
research, I'm often reacting to something that I've
read that struck me. Once a week, I do a video,
and I interview people sometimes. Sometimes the
blog post is a quotation. In terms of determining
what I'm writing about, that's what's fun for me
whether it's exercise, something I've researched,
pain, or a new spiritual master to imitate. I write
about what into at the moment I'm writing.
Has there been any outlandish reaction to
your project that you'd like to share?
There have been things I never expected. A kindergarten class
did a happiness project exercise together and emailed me some of
their work. I didn't expect that. I didn't anticipate that people would
want to do groups. I do it by myself; and still that's how I do it and
that's my inclination. However, many people have the inclination
that they to do their happiness projects with others. I've had nurses,
sororities, and book group that want to do this. There was a Bible
study group that wanted to work in a group and a group of parole
officers. I wouldn't have ever anticipated it. It shows how people
really do approach the material differently. I try to be helpful for
this. When people are trying to find people in their area, I'm their
What do you think is the simplest step a person can take
toward achieving happiness?
Well, surprising as this may sound, the resolution most often
mentioned that people find to be helpful is making your bed. You
can't get much smaller than that. For some reason, there is a
tangible, manageable, and huge difference between a bed that's
made and one that's not. I think sleep is important. When people
are getting only 6 hours of sleep they're exhausted. I'm a believer
that people need to be getting enough sleep. What matters most
according to both ancient philosophers and modern individuals is
anything strengthens relationships with other people.
What is the most difficult step?
That's a good question. In a way, it's not hard at all. Is it hard
to go to sleep earlier? In one way it's easy; in another it's hard. You
have to make up your mind to do something. I can't criticize it; there
are some things that are easier and more pleasant. My favorite is
kiss more, touch more, hug more these are easy and fun but you
still have to make up mind to follow through. Some things are more
difficult; for example someone who has never exercised trying to
get motivated to exercise may have a difficult time. It's hardest to
make up your mind; you have to lower the bar. Don't try to go to a
one hour spin class, instead go for a 10 minute walk. Don't make it
too hard because then it's easy to do nothing.
Equanimity is a magazine about balance. What are the ways
you maintain balance in your own life?
I've decided that I think that instead of achieving balance, I
want to cram my life with the things I love. That means figuring out
what needs to go. In order to fit in everything that I love, then other
things need to fall away.
What do you have next on the horizon?
My book, HAPPIER AT HOME, will be released in paperback
in December, 2013. I did a happiness project in which I focused
on the elements of happiness that come together at home: time,
possessions, family, neighborhood, body, etc. If you're not happy
at home, it's hard to be happy. Also, I'm working on my next book,
BEFORE AND AFTER, which will come out in 2015. It's about how
we make good habits and break bad habits--really. The subject is
absolutely fascinating.
self expression
Gretchen Rubin