Tag Archives: gratitude

Have You Read Alan Rickman’s Wonderful Thank-You Note to J. K. Rowling?

This morning, I was very sorry to see that actor Alan Rickman had died. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, and among other roles, Rickman was a terrific Severeus Snape in the Harry Potter movies.

Thinking about him, I was reminded of the lovely thank-you note that he dedicated to J. K. Rowling. It makes me happy every time I think of it.

alan-rickman-goodbye-letter

 

 

Podcast 44: Drew Barrymore Gets Personal. And Happier.

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

Update: The paperback of Better Than Before just hit the shelves. You can see me talk about it in this short video. If you’ve ever wanted to change a habit, all is revealed.

Try This at Home: Have an end-of-the-year ritual. Let us know your ideas. We’re looking for good suggestions.

Interview: Drew Barrymore. Yowza! It was so much fun to meet her. Her new book is Wildflower. What a fascinating conversation.

As we discuss, Drew Barrymore’s sister-in-law is writer Jill Kargman, who created and stars in the TV show Odd Mom Out.

One of many highlights — Drew’s point about maternal instincts, when she wondered, “When these maternal instincts kick in, are they going to be overarching, like a rainbow that comes across me, or more like Skittles on the floor?” Rainbow or Skittles — a great metaphor for a complex point.

In our discussion of Drew’s personal symbol of “flower,” I couldn’t resist mentioning my spiritual master, St. Therese, who describes herself as a “little flower” in her memoir, The Story of a Soul. Note that in the image below, Drew is indeed decked out in flowers.

We discuss the Four Tendencies framework. Drew revealed that she’s an Obliger — which is what I thought, from reading Wildflower. If you want to take the quiz to find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel, take it here.

Drew’s Try This at Home: Drew writes in a journal to her daughters every day; she also suggests writing letters to your children on important days — and also ordinary days — keeping them in a box, and giving the box to your children when they turn eighteen. Such a great idea.

I was so thrilled to hear that my book The Happiness Project had struck such a chord with Drew. So gratifying.

By the way, the clip we play is from the movie The Wedding Singer. You can watch here.

Elizabeth’s Demerit:  Elizabeth hadn’t taken out her Christmas decorations yet, because a plastic sheet was covering the door of the closet — even though she could easily get through the plastic.

Gretchen’s Gold Star: I love temporary tattoos. So fun, so cheap, so easy, so delightful.

Remember, if you live in the Bay area:  Elizabeth and I are doing our first live recording of the podcast! January 21, Brava Theater, we hope to see you. Info and tickets here.  We’ll have two outstanding guests, Nir Eyal and Jake Knapp. Plus Elizabeth and I have planned special little treats, and you also get a copy of Better Than Before with your ticket.

 

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

Check out Little Passports, www.littlepassports.com/happier. Keep your kids busy with this award-winning subscription for kids — they get a monthly package in the mail that highlights a new global destination. To save 40% on your first month’s subscription, enter the promo code HAPPY.

Also check out Stamps.com. Want to avoid post-office pain, and buy and print official U.S. postage for any letter or package, right from your own computer and printer? Visit Stamps.com to sign up for a no-risk trial, plus a $110 bonus offer — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

Happier with Gretchen Rubin #44 - Listen at Happiercast.com/44

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Five Very Big Things I’m Grateful for This Year.

Ancient philosophers and contemporary scientists agree: gratitude is a critical element to a happy life.

Research shows that people who cultivate gratitude get a boost in happiness and optimism, feel more connected to other people, are better-liked and have more friends, are more likely to help others—they even sleep better and have fewer headaches.

Nevertheless, I find it…challenging to cultivate a grateful frame of mind. I find it all too easy to fail to appreciate all the things I feel grateful for—from pervasive, basic things like democratic government and running water, to major, personal aspects of my life such as the fact that my two daughters rarely fight, to little passing joys, like a warm fall day. I get preoccupied with petty complaints and minor irritations, and forget just how much happiness I already have.

So for this Thanksgiving, I decided to take a moment to think about what’s happened in my life since last Thanksgiving, to set aside a moment for thankfulness.

And boy do I have a lot to be thankful for. So much!

1. My husband’s hepatitis C is cured!

First, and by far biggest: My husband’s hepatitis C is cured! I will never stop being thankful for that, I’ll never take it for granted. (Want to read about one of the happiest days of my life, and how he got it, and how he was cured? Read here.) This will be on my gratitude list for the rest of my life.

2. My new podcast with my sister

This undertaking has been so much fun. Working on Happier with Gretchen Rubin has given me a chance to spend more time with my sister, and to collaborate with her; it has given me a whole new way to connect with people on the subjects I find fascinating; I’ve made new friends and learned new skills.  That’s a lot of thankfulness birds with one stone.

3. Doing work I love

This year my latest book, Better Than Before, hit the shelves. I feel so, so lucky that I get to do the work I love, and explore the subjects that interest me, and talk to other people about them. And people seem interested! Every time I sit down at my laptop, which happens many times a day, I feel grateful for this.

4. Our new dog, Barnaby

Podcast listeners know that I really debated whether or not to get a dog. My two daughters wanted a dog desperately, but I wasn’t sure.  In the end, I decided to choose the bigger life, and get a dog. Now we’re all so happy that we have our puppy Barnaby.

5. You

Last but certainly not least, I’m thankful for you, my readers and listeners. I started writing books before the internet made it possible to be in touch with people so easily, and I constantly marvel at how wonderful it is — and how technology just keeps making it easier to connect, and in new and intriguing ways. My understanding of my subjects has been immeasurably deepened by the comments and questions I’ve received. Just on the Four Tendencies framework alone — I wouldn’t have nearly the grasp of it that I do (I think), if I couldn’t hear from various Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels, about their experiences. I so appreciate your support and enthusiasm.

The nice thing about feeling grateful is that it drives away negative emotions like annoyance, resentment, or anger. I really find this to be true. I just spent some time reflecting on the vastness of what I have to be grateful for, and as a result, the usual, petty annoyances of my day have vanished.

How about you? Do you make a special effort at Thanksgiving actually to give thanks? Does it change your frame of mind?

Agree, Disagree? “Those Who Are Not Grateful Soon Begin to Complain of Everything.”

“Those who are not grateful soon begin to complain of everything.” 

–Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

In the United States, we’re approaching the holiday of Thanksgiving — a great reminder to stop and take a moment to be thankful.

In my experience, gratitude does drive out resentment, anger, and annoyance.  And complaining! When I think about how grateful I am that I didn’t have to cook Thanksgiving dinner, I stop grumbling to myself about the fact that I don’t like asparagus.

Do you agree or disagree with Merton?

Podcast 31: Observe a Threshold Ritual, Choose Your Personal Symbols, and Check Your Passport.

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

Bonus: Noises from Barnaby the puppy!

Update: In episode 30, one of our Very Special Episodes, our special guest was my daughter Eliza. She asked, “Do you have advice for a sixteen-year-old like me?” Thanks to everyone for sending in such thoughtful advice. Keep it coming.

Try This at Home: Observe a threshold ritual. As promised, I’ve posted a photo of Elizabeth’s sign — actually two photos, from where she kept the sign in two different (more…)