A Little Happier: Don’t Let the Perfect Be the Enemy of the Good.

It’s a Secret of Adulthood — admittedly, cribbed from Voltaire: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Be Gretchen! Just in time, I remembered not to let the perfect, fantasy Gretchen crowd out the actual, real Gretchen (who really dislikes making those kinds of plans).

Along the same lines, I remind myself that the 20-minute walk I take is better than the 3-mile run I never start; having people over for take-out is better than never having people to an elegant dinner party.

Have you faced this, in your own experience — where the perfect can interfere with the good?

 

Thanks, as always, to my terrific sponsor: Audible. Audible has more than 180,000 audio-books and spoken-word audio products. Get a free 30-day trial at Audible.com/happier.  Your first book is free!

In fact, for your free book, you can choose one of my books, Better Than Before or The Happiness Project. I’m the reader for both of them.

GretchenReadingAudiobookHere’s a photo of me recording Better Than Before. That pillow? It’s to muffle “stomach noises.” Sheesh!

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Happier listening!

Agree, Disagree? “The Sweetest Things Become the Most Bitter by Excess.”

“The sweetest things become the most bitter by excess.”

— Democritus

Do you agree?

Some examples that spring to my mind: sugar, caffeine, the internet, TV, one-click shopping, ambition…and of course, habit.

I love and embrace habits, which is why I wrote my book Better Than Before, but I recognize the danger of habits. Their sweetness can become bitter by excess. And I say that even as an Upholder.

Podcast 62: Don’t Accumulate Excessive Amounts of Things, It’s Tough When Worlds Collide, and I Fail to Visit the Park.

It’s time for the next installment of  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

Update: Back in episode 27, in late August, I gave myself a happiness demerit for not really having a “summer.” I’ve always wanted to have a summer experience (even apart from family vacation) that’s different from the rest of the year. As promised, Elizabeth checked in with me, to ask if I have a vision for the upcoming summer. I need to apply the kind of approach that I used with such success in The Happiness Project. If you have any ideas, let me know!

Try This at Home: Don’t accumulate excessive amounts of things. Soy sauce packets, freebie mugs, egg cartons, rubber bands, etc.

 Happiness Stumbling Block: It’s tough when worlds collide.  For instance, Elizabeth felt very stressed out when Henry and I showed up on set while she was working on that TV show, to record our Very Special Episode 60.

Listener Question: “I’m a Questioner married to an Obliger. How do I make sure that I help make sure that his desires get met?” To learn about Questioners and Obligers (and Upholders and Rebels), go here.

Gretchen’s Demerit: I didn’t visit the flowering trees in Central Park. Again.

Elizabeth’s Gold Star
: Elizabeth gives a gold star to Adam for holding down the home front — without complaint — while she was in New York City for several weeks.

Remember, if you want to request bookplates or signature cards for a mother in your life, to make the gift of a book more special for Mothers’ Day — or if you want a bookplate or signature card for yourself! — you can request them here.

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

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Happier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #62

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Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen toHappier 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.

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9 Terrific Movies that Always Make Me Feel Happier

If I’m in a blue mood, one of the best ways to distract myself, and give myself a quick shot of cheer, is to watch a laugh-inducing movie.

Last week, I posted about 7 great movies about the nature of happiness and love. These are wonderful movies; they’re transcendent, but not in a laugh-out-loud way. It’s a Secret of Adulthood: Happiness doesn’t always make you feel happpy. A mystery.

Here, though, are nine movies that always put a smile on my face:

  1. Shrek — I’ve seen this movie countless times, and it gets funnier every time. “That’s a niiiiiiice boulder.”
  2. Groundhog Day — very funny, and also very deep.
  3. The Sound of Music — I think I’ve memorized every word of the dialogue and every note of every song.
  4. Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory — funny, whimsical, just a little bit eerie, makes me nostalgic for my childhood in a nice way.
  5. Tootsie — how I love this movie. So many funny lines.
  6. Annie Hall — again, I know every line.
  7. This Is Spinal Tap — I love all Christopher Guest movies, but this is my favorite.
  8. Monsters, Inc. — so hilarious, so clever; my favorite part is the “blooper reel” at the end.
  9. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery — I confess, I can’t remember much about the movie, but I’m including it on the list because I love the opening sequence so much. Watch it here if you need a quick pick-me-up.

In the podcast, in episode 61, Elizabeth and I talk about familiarity vs. novelty. I love familiarity, and have re-watched these movies many times. But not everyone loves to watch (or read) things over and over, I know.

What movies would you add? I’d love to add a bunch of suggestions to my to-watch list.

A Little Happier: Remember to Go Outside.

This is a very helpful Secret of Adulthood: Remember to go outside.

Go outside into the sunlight; light deprivation is one reason that people feel tired. Research suggests that light stimulates brain chemicals that improve mood and increase motivation.

For an extra boost, get your sunlight first thing in the morning.

Also, at least for me, unscientifically speaking, spending time outside gives a feeling of freedom, of connecting with the seasons (even when the weather isn’t ideal), of breathing fresh air, of not being so trapped by a schedule that I can’t be out in the world.

People in industrialized countries spent about 93% of their time inside; don’t forget how energizing and cheering it can be to go outdoors.

We love our puppy Barnaby for many reasons, and he definitely does encourage every member of my family to go outside more often.

What about you? Do you love to go outside, or do you have to prod yourself to make sure you do it?

 

I hope you’re enjoying the new mini-episodes. I love doing them.

Thanks, as always, to my terrific sponsor: Audible. Audible has more than 180,000 audio-books and spoken-word audio products. Get a free 30-day trial at Audible.com/happier.  Your first book is free! You can choose from a huge selection — including my books, Better Than Before or The Happiness Project. I’m the reader for both of them.

Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

 

Happier listening!