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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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.

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In Honor of Shakespeare’s Birthday: My Favorite Shakespeare Passage.

It’s Shakespeare’s birthday! (At least, according to tradition.)

So, in honor of the day, here’s my favorite Shakespeare passage, from Antony and Cleopatra, when Cleopatra is mourning the dead Antony:

For his bounty,
There was no winter in’t; an autumn ’twas
That grew the more by reaping: his delights
Were dolphin-like; they show’d his back above
The element they lived in: in his livery
Walk’d crowns and crownets; realms and islands were
As plates dropp’d from his pocket. (V.2.79)

 

In this three-minute podcast, A Little Happier, I talk about why I love this passage: Enthusiasm is the best teacher. Listen here.

What’s your favorite line or passage from Shakespeare? There are so many.

7 Great Movies about the Nature of Happiness and Love.

I love making lists, and here’s a list of seven of my favorite movies about happiness. They don’t necessarily make me feel light-hearted, but they’ve all inspired me to think deeply about the nature of happiness and love.

As I look at my choices, I see to my surprise that as a group, they’re a bit strange. And also quite R-rated.

Happiness and…the porn industry? Happiness and…strangers beating each other up? And yet I think that each of these movies is very transcendent, in its own way.

  1. Junebug — a haunting movie about the deep mysteries of family; what we know about each other; how we show love and respect for each other
  2. Saturday Night Fever –– the disco music is better than I remembered, and the movie is also about sharing a passion with another person, and the bonds that can create
  3. All That Jazz — I talk about my crazy love for this movie in episode 57 of the podcast
  4. Boogie Nights — true, this movie takes place in the porn industry, but it’s also a movie that makes me think about friendship, work, and how we find out path in the world
  5. Terms of Endearment — funny, sad, thought-provoking. I’ll never forget the scene where the mother demands pain medication for her daughter.
  6. Fight Club — the novel is also brilliant. Strange, yes. Deeply strange, yes. But brilliant.
  7. Husbands and Wives — I’ve seen this movie five times, and I see new things every time. A fascinating picture of a place (New York City), a time of life, several kinds of romantic relationships.

What movies would you remove – and more interesting, what movies would you add? I’d love to get a long list of movies about happiness.