Podcast 59: Find a Lucky Charm, Distract Yourself for 15 Minutes, Listener Mantras, and Godparent Guilt.

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

Update: Elizabeth is still in New York City, as she works on her pilot. We also talked about the new mini-episodes I’m doing every Monday morning. Two or three minutes to help you start your week “A Little Happier. (As always, it’s a huge help if you rate or review. Not sure how? Scroll down, here.)

Try This at Home: Find your lucky charm. (Sidenote: I was surprised to learn that Elizabeth wears her wedding ring only occasionally. Do you wear your wedding ring all the time?) What’s your lucky charm? I mention CB I Hate Perfume. Beautiful scents! But alas, I don’t think you can buy the Hay accord online.

craftservicesBetter Than Before Habits Strategy: The Strategy of Distraction. Particularly helpful for fighting cravings. As promised, here’s a photo of Elizabeth at craft services. You can’t see the huge amount of food that’s there.

Listener Answers: In episode 57, we talked about the try-this-at-home of “choosing a daily mantra,” and listeners sent in so many great mantras.

 Gretchen’s Demerit: Elizabeth wants to be a better godparent.

 Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Jamie gets a gold star for knowing exactly how to make me less crabby.

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1pixHappier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #59

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  • Kayla

    As an obliger, I often do things for others (or submissively agree to do things) without communicating clearly. (For example, folding a family member’s laundry without being asked, because that’s what I’d want someone else to do if those were my clothes in the dryer). Often, however, I end up feeling under appreciated or resentful as a result. (In the case of the clothes, if I weren’t to get an emphatic gesture of appreciation, I would probably feel somewhat bitter, to be honest!).

    My latest mantra has been, “If you’re going to do it, do it with grace and love. If you are going to resent doing it, speak up or act NOW.” (In the case of the clothes, recognize that this is very small act of love you are CHOOSING to do for someone. They did not ask you to do it. If you are going to have a high threshold for appreciation (beyond basic politeness) then maybe don’t do it at all.

    This slight shift in mindset has freed me from this cycle of resentment and has inspired me to do more for others from a place of purely good intention.

    • gretchenrubin

      This is a great point, and a great manta. I remind myself, “Do it for MYSELF.”

  • Emma Choua

    Hi everyone

    I loved hearing about the listener (I’m sorry – I forgot your name!) strategy of saying “if I don’t eat any cookies today, I can have as many as I want tomorrow”. I have used this strategy before and like to call it “putting something on layby”. But find it isn’t the best strategy for me because the mental power and control I need to use it is HUGE. But I just wanted to share (what I think is) a cool name for it.

    Love the podcasts G&E – thanks for making me weeks happier!

    • gretchenrubin

      Yes, great name for it! I think of it as the “White Queen” strategy, from Through the Looking Glass, when the White Queen tells Alice, “”The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day.”

  • Talia

    Lucky Charms – you have to find then! They are found objects that accompany the lucky times. For example, you happen to find a pretty rock on the day you get a job you really wanted. It’s a lucky rock now!

  • Karen Maxon

    Ganesh is my lucky charm. I’ve carried him around for years!

  • C. Alice

    I could be wrong, but I think we Questioners are going to be less likely to use charms. The idea of a charm is appealing to me just because I like pretty little things, but I think it would actually backfire on me. I would think, “charms are b.s.” and then look for “proof” of my own skepticism by seeing negative aspects of a situation. There is a placebo effect, but there is also something called a “nocebo.” Thanks for your wonderful podcast!

    • Mimi Gregor

      I’m a Questioner, too, and don’t really have a “lucky charm”. I think one makes one’s own luck by maintaining a positive attitude.

  • Leslie Sadis Huppin

    Dear Gretchin-
    I love your podcast and books and have adapted many change habits into my life- thank you.
    Call it my my lucky charm or my juju but several years ago I purchased for me and my two daughters the exact same heart bracelet. We all wear it and think of each other. And now seven years later and they are grown and moved away it works even more! Thanks for doing what you do, Leslie

    • gretchenrubin

      I love the idea of a family lucky charm! I know a family who all (5 of them) got a matching tattoo. I like bracelet better!

  • gretchenrubin

    That’s interesting…to have a sense of identity that “I am a lucky person.”

  • elizabeth

    Love the podcast, it gets me through cooking dinner! I have a suggestion for Elizabeth about her goddaughter. Perhaps send random disposable gifts rather than holiday keepsakes. Growing up and even through college getting unexpected gifts made me feel really special and also secure. Unexpected gifts are a tagible reminder that there is someone out there in the world if you ever need them. If the gifts are random they can be fun and casual (like make up, goofy accessories, magazines, etc) it might help eliminate the pressure to find keepsakes or be sentimental.
    Thanks again for the podcast!!

    • gretchenrubin

      Great suggestion! Elizabeth and I often talk about the fun of “getting a present in the mail.”

  • Hi Gretchen and Elizabeth and fellow readers, I’ve been listening since episode 1, always enjoy your weekly check-ins and helpful advice! —- My strange good luck charm is my PHONE WALLPAPER. When I’m in need of an emotional shift or support – I’ll change my phone background around to suit where my head is at. If I choose one that lasts a long time or through something significant… I notice it takes on stronger meaning.

    I begin to associate these wallpapers with whatever energy I’m moving through or toward. Currently pop-art Baddie Winkle is reminding me… READ MORE: http://bit.ly/HprLuckyCharms

  • Hi Gretchen and Elizabeth and fellow readers, I’ve been listening since episode 1, always enjoy your weekly check-ins and helpful advice! —- My strange good luck charm is my PHONE WALLPAPER —- When I’m in need of an emotional shift or support – I’ll change my phone background around to suit where my head is at. If I choose one that lasts a long time or through something significant… I notice it takes on stronger meaning.

    I begin to associate these wallpapers with whatever energy I’m moving through or toward. Currently pop-art Baddie Winkle is reminding me… READ MORE: http://bit.ly/HprLuckyCharms

    • gretchenrubin

      Great idea – how fun.

  • Rachel Stansberry

    I am not a great godparent. My oldest daughter, now 24, has a great godmother and my second daughter has the same special treatment from her namesake. I say, keep it simple…send a postcard from New York..little remebrences matter.

  • Hi Elizabeth and Gretchen. Thank you so much for your podcast! It is a joy to listen to; you are both lovely people.

    For a couple of months last year my lucky charm was a cheap plastic bottled-water bottle. My husband had a serious accident at a climbing gym. The amazing staff member who phoned the ambulance, looked after hubby until the paramedics arrived, and assisted the paramedics once they arrived, turned to offer help to me during a pause while the paramedics were busy with hubby. Realizing our gear was still in the gym cubby holes, I asked him to take it out to our car. When he returned he asked if there was anything else. I shook my head, which is when he offered me a drink of water. Only then noticing I was thirsty, I accepted gratefully. He came back a moment later, not with a paper cup of water as I had vaguely pictured but with a bottle from the fridge of drinks for sale.

    In the frightening, sad and exhausting weeks that followed, I kept the bottle, washing it every couple of days. Every time I drank from it, every time I collected it as I walked out the door to head to the hospital, the feeling of being cared for when I needed it most wrapped around me. The bottle was a reminder of kindness in a hard time.

    Eventually I decided that the bottle, not designed for re-use, was probably degrading with time and releasing more and more BPAs or other toxic chemicals, so I relegated it to the recycling bin. I still remember it fondly though.

    (P.S. My husband is recovering well, walking again, and getting stronger.)

    • gretchenrubin

      Great to hear that your husband is recovering! And what a meaningful, if not permanent, lucky charm.

  • I was curious to hear more about the wedding rings being worn only occasionally. On what occasions does she wear it? I wear only and engagement ring and take it off while swimming or bathing as it’s a little loose.

  • I ‘found’ an extremely rare lucky charm: my first trip on the Amtrak to the East Coast from Minnesota to visit my sister, I met lots of people including this really nice woman. (This was an overnight trip) Her and I were swapping personal stories left and right. Suddenly the subject of our parents had come up. My story was sad and enlightening at the same time. Both of my parents passed recently, about a year apart. I happened to be the last one to talk to both of them and I was with them at the time of their deaths. I was the one to tell my father that it was okay to go, that there are many waiting for him on the other side and that we would be okay and we love him so much. Within a minute, he moved on. It was extremely emotional for me and still makes me tear up to this day. This woman was in tears when I told her the story. She dug in her purse and gave me a six-leaf clover that was laminated by her elderly father. We keep in touch to this day. THAT is my good luck charm. 🙂

    • gretchenrubin

      What an extraordinary story! And what a way to find your good-luck charm.

      • Thank you Gretchen. My life seems full of stuff like that… Yes, I’m attempting to write a book. 🙂 …now to win that lottery. …….

  • Kristy Roser Nuttall

    I really enjoyed this episode of the podcast. I went on a bike ride right afterwards and found a red ribbon lying in the grass by the park and I immediately knew that this could be a new lucky charm! I tied it to a basket in my room and I when I see it I smile just thinking about the good luck possibilities. I also love the idea of a SMELL being good luck. I had not thought of that at all! I have now started using some pumpkin/cinnamon and white citrus lotion as my new lucky smells. I also rediscovered my lucky crystal that I bought at a rock shop after listening to this episode. Thank you for inspiring me to have a lucky week!!!!

  • Lori Wise

    I wear a labradorite stone pendant as my lucky charm. I’m a jewelry making hobbyist, and am drawn to this stone. It is said to have healing properties and it brings me peace at difficult times, or when surrounded by negative people. I like to wear it close to my heart.

  • Marie Murray

    My lucky charm is a broken watch. I had a watch that I’d worn and loved for many years, and for awhile I was living between Lebanon and NYC/NJ. While I was in the US, I set the watch to Beirut time, and while I was in Lebanon I set it to NYC time. The watch eventually stopped working, but I kept it on because I felt it was sort of an emotional port key that tied me to both of my “homes.” Now I am living in Lebanon, and since I lost my dear broken watch, my husband gave me his when it broke. He is Lebanese and I am American, and it still feels very grounding to me when I wear it.

  • Sarah Winslow

    Keepass is a great app for the password problem! My tech friend introduced me to this and it’s been a life saver! It password protects all your usernames and passwords. Just remember one password from now on, and it installs on your PC and smart phone so it can go with you where ever. And if someone gets ahold of your phone or computer they can’t access it without your master password 🙂

  • egruce

    I want to give Elizabeth a pep talk about feeling like she has let her goddaughter down. I had an aunt in a similar circumstance – she lived far away and I only met her twice when I was growing up. When I was a baby she sewed me a dress and sent it to me. By the time she finished and mailed it I had outgrown it. She felt like a failure as an aunt and sort of gave up.
    But many years later we connected. A year out of college, I was having a very tough spring: my long time boyfriend broke up with me, my roommate wouldn’t speak to me, and my parents were getting divorced. One day, out of the blue, I got a card from her with a wonderful note of encouragement and a check for $100. I burst into tears, but felt an inner certainty that things would now take a better turn – and they did.
    I visited her several times in the ensuing years. She took me in after another breakup, gave me some life-changing great advice when I moved to a new city, and was a wonderful touchstone for me – someone who brought both a familiar and different perspective to my family cast of characters and to life in general. I lost her too soon but she has been one of the most important people in my life – even though we didn’t launch our relationship until I was a young adult. Don’t give up, Elizabeth! Lower the bar and trust to the wisdom of timing.

    • gretchenrubin

      What a wonderful example!