Podcast 123: Shield Yourself from Worry, Open Items Carefully, and Use Clothing to Influence Your Attitude.

Update: Listeners responded with an example of great side hustles (such as coaching high-school football) and with more ideas about how to deal with home parties.

Try This at Home: Shield yourself from worry.

Happiness Hack: Open items carefully. Don’t rip, shred, pull apart — instead, figure out how items are meant to be open, and use it.

Know Yourself Better: Do you use clothes to transform your mood or put yourself in a certain mindset?

Listener Question: Bethany and Benjamin ask for advice about how to have a happy experience when getting a new dog.

As I mention, I wrote this post “7 terrific books if you’re getting a dog.

I also wrote a post “7 things I learned about myself, from getting a dog.”

Gretchen’s Demerit: I feel myself starting to “save” a new white shirt. I have to remind myself, over and over, to Spend out (one of my Twelve Personal Commandments).

Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth gives a gold star to the listeners of Happier in Hollywood, her new podcast with her longtime friend and writing partner, Sarah Fain — it has been great to hear from so many people.  To hear them discuss their “Hollywood origin story,” listen to episode 4 — and the debate about whether Sarah should dye her hair is in episode 4, too.

Three Resources:

    1. I’m obsessed with color, and one fun way to indulge in the pleasure of color is — to color! Want a bonus sheet from my coloring book, The Happiness Project Mini Posters: 20 Hand-lettered Quotes to Pull Out and FrameClick here  to get a PDF of one page from the coloring book. Tag me on Instagram if you color and share it.
    2. If you’d like my Checklist for Habit Change, to help you use the 21 strategies for habit change to improve an important habit in your life, you can click here for the PDF.
    3. The September book tour for The Four Tendencies is set! I’ll be going to New York City (obviously), Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.  I hope to see you there — please come, bring friends. Info is here.


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Check out Texture. Get access to all your favorite magazines — including back issues and bonus video content — in one super-convenient place. Try the app Texture for free by going to Texture.com/happier.

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Happier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #123

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  • Teri1147

    Clothing – I agree on so many fronts. I know that school dress codes are an inflammatory issue, especially when it comes to clothing for young ladies, but it is clear that clothing impacts how we see ourselves as well as how others see us. No matter where we fall on the spectrum of what specific clothing is/is not appropriate, to argue that clothing is irrelevant to behavior is simply uninformed.

  • Mimi Gregor

    I use clothing to up my confidence level. If I am presentably dressed, I hold myself straighter, I speak up more often, make more clever remarks, and am just a much better version of myself than when I am not presentably dressed. Hence, I have gotten rid of anything in my wardrobe that was less than presentable. If you don’t have grubby outfits, you cannot wear them. If I need something grubby to paint in, I can always go to Goodwill and buy something cheap to wear for the duration of the painting job, and then throw it away. If I am cooking and don’t want to mess up my nice clothes, I put on an apron. Plus, people treat me better when I am presentable. Whether it’s the clothes themselves or my improved attitude, I don’t know. Possibly a combination of both. And if I really want to be a force to be reckoned with, I add red lipstick and a hat.

    For the feeling nice clothes give you, Gretchen, WEAR THE SHIRT. Get rid of your tired old shirts, so that you have to wear it. you know you will feel better if you do.

  • LoriM

    As a receptionist/admin assistant, my utility knife makes me SO happy when I open the mail! For envelopes, a good letter opener works great (and when you turn it upside down, it’s also a good back scratcher), but sometimes you just need a good knife. I got a heavy duty one and it’s great for tearing down cardboard boxes, too. Much easier on the fingernails.

  • Lori Fenton

    The one piece of clothing that seems to most impact my frame of mind is my BRA! And its not just about fit or comfort.
    (No, this isn’t an unsolicited endorsement for a particular sponsor.) There’s really no better feeling than taking off my bra at the end of a long day and once I do, chances are not much else is going to get done. It’s like an off switch for my brain and body. But leaving it on tells me I need to stay engaged for something. I’m a lark so my energy level at the end of the day is already a challenge. If there’s some chore I must get done at home in the evening then the bra stays on until it’s done.

  • Denise

    My emotional ups and downs and the inconsistency of being human bugs me. So when it comes to clothing I would support a uniform. I always want to feel my best and be true to myself and wearing the same thing every day would help me be myself every day. In a way this is a move away from self awareness which would release me of the worry of what others think about my appearance. Less focus on myself means less worry about myself and more happiness.

  • Sandra Seidel

    Hi – I’m thinking of starting a quilt with sayings on it & “Not my circus, not my monkeys” will be on it : ) My mother was a worrier & I realized in my twenties that I stopped telling her things because I knew she would worry. I just didn’t want to be responsible for that & most of the time nothing bad happened. Wanting to be a supportive mother, who knows her kids well, I’ve tried hard not to worry! The advice that I received from my kids’ preschool teacher also played into this – “Don’t do anything for your child that they can do for themselves.”… wanting them to be self sufficient capable (wonderful) people I started questioning myself with “Could they do this themselves?” often. That question grew along with them. I felt that if I expressed worry in their choices or actions (short of them hurting themselves or others of course) I was showing a lack of trust in them. Plus I wanted them to be able to talk to me about everything & anything. My kids are grown & they’re all kind, successful & amazing (& adored by me).
    On the puppy note – we had a cockapoo who passed away in April AND I cannot say enough about him. He loved everyone he met & our family even more. His puppy pictures were especially cherished after he passed away.
    Thank you both for a great podcast.
    Affectionately yours,

  • Sarah Winters

    A great outfit does influence my mood, but for me it’s really more about the makeup. When I need to get something done, I put on my face. Some days I think of it as my mild-mannered reporter mask, and some days it’s my war paint. My nuclear option? Red lipstick – it always puts me in the mood to check things off my to do list.

  • Polly

    This happiness hack is genius. Strangely it makes a real difference. I now remember it every time I open something. There is a right way to open most things and it makes life easier to work out what it is.