Tag Archives: calm

Podcast 58: Special Guest Host, Eliza! Plus, Find an Area of Refuge, the Pressure of Birthdays, and How to Get Up Earlier.

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

Update: Elizabeth is still in New York City, but her schedule is so crazed, as she’s shooting the pilot, that my seventeen-year-old daughter Eliza stepped in as a guest host.

Eliza was a guest on episode 30, and she also has her own podcast, the very interesting Eliza Starting at 16, about the world from a teenager’s perspective. (She does the whole thing herself! Which I find very impressive.)

HenryRecordingLibraryTo make things even more complicated, we had to record on a weekend, and our studio is moving to a different location, so Henry had to a) work on a Sunday and b) record in my apartment. Double gold star for that.

Last week, a listener asked a question about how to solve the problem of “The Chair,” where not-dirty, not-clean clothes pile up. The overwhelming answer from listeners? Use hooks.

1pixarea of reguge signTry This at Home: Find your “area of refuge.” Here’s the photo of the sign I saw at Yale Law School. What’s your area of refuge? I have to say, Eliza’s area of refuge — watching make-up videos — wouldn’t work for me. But re-reading children’s literature doesn’t work for Eliza. We’re all different.

Happiness Stumbling Block: Eliza felt a lot of Facebook pressure related to her recent 17th birthday.

Listener Question: “I’m an Obliger, single, who is struggling to get up earlier. Suggestions?”

 Gretchen’s Demerit: For one day, I forgot about the importance of sunscreen. Note to self: sunscreen is very important.

 Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Perhaps surprisingly, Eliza gives a gold star to her school’s college counseling office. She now feels much better about the college application process.

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

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1pixHappier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #58

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Do You Have an Image that Calms You? Like a Clock During a Thunderstorm.

“Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.”
-Robert Louis Stevenson

I love this image, and often recall it to my mind when I feel anxious or harried.

Do you have an image that calms you?

“Old Rubbish! Old Letters, Old Clothes, Old Objects that One Does Not Want to Throw Away.”

“Oh! Old rubbish! Old  letters, old clothes, old objects that one does not want to throw away. How well nature has understood that, every year, she must change her leaves, her flowers, her fruit and her vegetables, and make manure out of the mementos of her year!”

–Jules Renard, Journal

Do you feel that getting rid of “old rubbish” helps to make you feel more energetic, more creative, more vital? As I study habits and happiness, I find myself doing a crazy amount of thinking about clutter.

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Want a Simple Way To Calm Yourself? Describe Your Emotion in One or Two Words.

Over the weekend, I read David Rock’s very interesting book, Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long.

One strategy particularly struck me: if you’re feeling a negative emotion, you can work to reduce it by labeling it in one or two words. Note, however, that thinking or talking at length about the emotional state tends to intensify it — while simply observing and labeling it helps to quell it.

I do this myself, instinctively. I find myself thinking, “I’m overwhelmed” or “I’m frazzled” or “I’m feeling defensive” — and it’s odd how calming it is. Just putting a label on a feeling helps me to master it.

For those who enjoy reading about what’s happening in their right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and elsewhere, Rock explains how brain function accounts for this phenomenon.

How about you? Have you ever tried a strategy like this — and did it work?

5 Tips I Used This Morning To Help Myself Feel Calmer.

Every Wednesday is Tip Day.

This Wednesday: 5 tips I just used to help myself feel more calm.

I started this morning feeling overwhelmed–not in a bad way, but still overwhelmed. I just got back from traveling to Toronto on my book tour. It was a lot of fun, and I was thrilled to get the chance to do it, but traveling–and being out of my routine–always rattles me.

I found out I made a mistake in something I wrote. It was fixed, but it always rattles me to discover that I made a mistake.

I found out I have to review a document in a short period of time. It won’t be hard, but it always rattles me to have a short deadline. (This is one reason I’ve never been a journalist. I hate deadlines.)

There have been some changes to my daughters’ schedules. Nothing major, but it always rattles me to have to juggle the calendar.

So…I’m a bit rattled. I’m very happy to be back home, and to make sure that I keep this happy feeling, instead of allowing myself to become short-tempered (highly likely), I ran through some of my easier tips for staying cool.

1. I took ten minutes to clean up my office. Getting paperwork under control makes me feel more in control of my life generally.

2. I made a list. Now I don’t have to worry about forgetting something important, plus I get the morale-booster of being able to cross off items.

3. I took a few minutes to be silly with my daughters. Acting light-hearted makes me feel more light-hearted, and seeing them in a good mood lifts my spirits.

4. I ranted for a few minutes to my husband, then got a big hug. I probably would feel better if I’d skipped the rant, and just focused on the hug, but sometimes I have to rant a little bit.

5. Plan to exercise. I always feel calmer when I exercise. In fact, that’s probably the main reason I exercise. (Here are some tips if you have trouble prodding yourself to exercise.)

How about you? What strategies do you follow if you need to calm yourself down–in a hurry?