Podcast 115: Boost Your Energy and a Deep Dive into Loneliness.

Update: We heard from many people on the issues of “textiquette.”

Elizabeth’s new podcast Happier in Hollywood launches on May 18! Also, my book The Four Tendencies is now available for pre-order. (If you’re inclined to buy the book, it’s a big help to me if you pre-order.)

Try This at Home: Boost your energy. As I describe in my book The Happiness Project, when I did my own happiness project, I made January the month of “energy,” because when we have more energy, everything is easier.

Some long-term energy solutions: get enough sleep, get some exercise.

Some quick energy fixes: doing ten jumping jacks, listening to upbeat music (try our Happier 911 list on Spotify), tackle a nagging task, listen to a high-energy podcast, have a mantra.

Happiness Hack: Our listener Elizabeth suggests that during times of romantic heartache, listen to music in foreign languages, so the lyrics of love songs won’t affect your mood.

Deep Dive into Loneliness: We got such a big response to our Very Special Episode 110, about loneliness, that we wanted to go deeper into the subject. People had such thoughtful responses.

Demerit: I give myself a demerit for not staying up late at a bar.

Gold Star: Elizabeth gives a gold star to Adam’s aunt, who hosts an annual Easter party.

Two Resources:

  1. Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” Check out Side Hustle School and Radical Candor.
  2. In episode 98, we interviewed Gary Taubes about his book The Case Against Sugar. If you’d like the transcript of a longer interview I did with him, just email me to request it.

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Happier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #115

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Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” The first shows are Side Hustle School and Radical Candor. Elizabeth’s show with her writing partner, Sarah Fain, will be Happier in Hollywood, so stay tuned for that.

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  • Julina S

    Just want to add to the “Music in a foreign language” suggestion. I use it as background when I need to concentrate on an unpleasant task (writing progress reports for a previous job) – I get the upbeat energy to overcome the “unpleasant” without the distraction of words that don’t need to find their way into my writing…

    Also, I found “world music samplers” on Amazon Music to be a great free option for these – even without Prime (or at least it used to be). My “Get to Work” playlist includes music from Israel, Turkey, Brazil, Croatia, India…

    (I just hope I’m not subliminally learning anything disrespectful or profane – haha!)

    • gretchenrubin


  • Andrea Ballard

    I think there is also a loneliness to success. I have a friend who published a book recently and felt honored that she was willing to share her joy over her 5 star reviews with me. Especially as women, many of us aren’t comfortable bragging about ourselves and celebrating our successes.

  • Carlotta Bosso

    To boost energy on low days, when I feel I haven’t accomplished much in the office and spent too much time in the car, I do something for others, for loved ones, so that I feel the day is not completely wasted.
    I make a phone call to someone I know doesn’t receive many , i.e. old aunt.
    I clean the bathroom before my husband comes home, because I know he loves to take a shower in a sparkling white tab.
    I let my mom know I finally did *fill in the blanks* she asked me for months.
    I send someone that pictures I took weeks before.
    I don’t do it because it needs to be done, I’m not an Upholder 😉
    I do it because I know someone will benefit, even in the smallest way, of my action and it’s that thought that gives me energy.
    by the way, I’m a Questioner 🙂

  • For textiquette, I try not to text people if I think they will still be asleep or just getting up. For people I text frequently, I generally know their general schedule. To make sure I don’t get woken up by texts (because it drives me nuts), I use the Do Not Disturb feature, but I have it set to allow phone calls from my favorites list, which includes my husband, our parents, siblings, and very closest friends. Those are the people who would call me if there is an emergency. It is super easy to use, and I never get woken up by texts.

  • Abbie Berg

    For textiquette, I use Apple Do Not Disturb. I used to keep it on all of the time because I want to determine when I deal with my phone and emails and not have the constant dings. Now because of work, I sent it to be on from 7:30am to 6:30pm during the week. It automatically goes to Do Not Disturb after that. There is a setting within Do Not Disturb that allows exceptions for your “Favorites” (which you designate through Contacts) and also for “Repeated Calls” which should cover an emergency call from an unexpected number. It is fine to wish that people were more courteous of sleeping times and time zones but with the availability of technology I think it is better to use the available tools to set your own boundaries for your space. Just because your phone rings or your email dings, it doesn’t mean you have to answer it.

  • Laura Jolna

    I believe there’s also a loneliness in regret and unfulfilled dreams because it’s so personal. I wasn’t able to have children and the deep loneliness comes at times when I’m with friends who do and trying to keep my emotions in check. It’s not something I share with them, but it is something I will always have to live with.

  • Alison Evans

    But, but, but, Gretchen….on your demerit….what about leaving on a high note?

  • LindaS

    I agree with the other commenters about the do not disturb phone function. There are lots of exceptions you can make to suit your circumstances. It’s worth taking a look before deciding it doesn’t work for you. It’s also great for quieting other apps that talk to you (eg. International group message boards). On loneliness for people with a secret, technology may also be your friend. There are so many forum groups on the internet that you can join quite anonymously. You may find people you can ‘talk’ to that share their own secret or the same one as yours.

  • JoDi

    I’m not sure why anyone would expect someone to put their phone in “do not disturb” mode at night. Why do people think the same rules that have always applied to calling someone’s home phone do not apply to cell phone calls and texts? It’s always been pretty universally understood that you don’t call someone’s home phone after a certain hour (that hour varies from household to household, but the middle of the night has always been off-limits except for emergencies.) If someone suggested that people should turn off their home phone at night to avoid having their sleep disturbed, everyone would think it was a ridiculous expectation. Cell phones are just phones that have the extra capability of texting. The same rules apply – don’t call people later than they would like to be called and don’t text them either. Calling or texting based on “their time” and not yours is also a no-brainer. It’s the same common courtesy that we’ve been extending to people when we call them at home for decades. If you think about it logically, this shouldn’t even be an issue.

  • Nancy

    Thanks for the gold star for those of us that host holidays. Our family is a bit unique: my sisters, mother and nieces all want to host all the holidays. We all love to cook and entertain. We worked out a system years ago, which has served us well. We each host certain holidays and everyone looks forward to those traditions. Now that the next generation has married and bought homes, they’ve gotten into the rotation as well. It is a lot of work but the memories are priceless. I get Easter and Mother’s Day and like to think I’ve perfected them over the years.

  • Abi Franklin

    I had to pause the podcast to reach out to you Elizabeth (and anyone in a similar situation), I so feel you on loneliness after being diagnosed with diabetes. When I diagnosed, it ran in family. So it wasn’t a surprise, but I was so young. My friends weren’t going through it, No one in the support groups were my age. Thanks to the internet, I now know that I’m not alone. Others are in the same situation. It still feels isolating though. I finally found a group of local friends that have built their friendships around working out together. So, while they’re not diabetic, I have a great group that is into activities that support my health goals.