It’s time for the next installment of Happier with Gretchen Rubin.
NOTE: This episode was recorded before Election Day 2016, which is why Elizabeth and I don’t mention it. The election has been unusually emotional and contentious. As with any milestone moment, it provides an opportunity for us to reflect about our own values, and how we can serve the highest ideals of our country and ourselves.
Update: To hear the Happiness 911 songs, the link is here, or you can search for “Happier 911” on Spotify. Currently at 397 songs — that’s almost 25 hours of happy music.
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Every tenth episode is a Very Special Episode. For this VSE, we talk about the “Essential Seven,” the seven areas in which just about every desirable habit falls.
Try This at Home: Figure out what you’d do using the Essential Seven, to make your life happier, healthier, more productive, or more creative:
1. Eat and drink more healthfully (give up sugar, eat more vegetables, drink less alcohol)
2. Exercise regularly
3. Save, spend, and earn wisely (save regularly, pay down debt, donate to worthy causes, make purchases that contribute to happiness or habits, pay taxes, stay current with expense reports, take classes to expand career options)
4. Rest, relax, and enjoy (pursue a hobby instead of cruising the internet, enjoy the moment, stop checking email, get enough sleep, spend less time in the car, take time for myself)
5. Stop procrastinating, make consistent progress (practice an instrument, set aside two hours daily for uninterrupted work, learn a language, maintain a blog, keep a gratitude journal)
6. Simplify, clear, and organize (make the bed every day, file regularly, put keys away in the same place, recycle, give away unused clothing) If you want listen to Episode 10, the clutter-clearing episode, it’s here.
7. Engage more deeply—with other people, with God, with yourself, with the world (call family members, read the Bible every day, volunteer, spend time with friends, observe the Sabbath, spend time alone in nature)
Of course, the same habit might satisfy different needs for different people. For one person, yoga might be a form of exercise (#2), for someone else, a way to find mental rest (#4); for someone else, a spiritual practice (#7). And people value different habits. For one person, organized files might be a crucial tool for creativity; another person finds inspiration in random juxtapositions.
Gretchen’s Demerit: I invoke the False-Choice Loophole to skip the gym.
Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Adam discussed a renovation decision at length, because he knows that Elizabeth likes to talk things through.
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Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning “Happier 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.