Gretchen Rubin

“Catalogs. Don’t Look At ‘Em. Big Time Suck.”

Happiness interview: Kelly Corrigan.

Kelly Corrigan is a writer well-known for her books, The Middle Place and Lift, and also from her YouTube video, Transcending, which has been viewed more than 4.75 million times.

She writes a lot about the challenges of life, small and large—from ordinary, day-to-day issues to major challenges such as her fight with cancer. I was very interested to hear her thoughts on happiness.

Gretchen: What’s a simple activity that consistently makes you happier?
Kelly: Walking outside, preferably with my dog, ideally with the dog and a friend.

What’s something you know now about happiness that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?
It comes, it goes, it comes back.

Is there anything you find yourself doing repeatedly that gets in the way of your happiness?
Eating and drinking too much. Short term highs vs. long term satisfaction—still tricky for me.

Is there a happiness mantra or motto that you’ve found very helpful? (e.g., I remind myself to “Be Gretchen.”)
Things happen when you leave the house. Also, make yourself useful doing something hard with good people (video).

If you’re feeling blue, how do you give yourself a happiness boost?
Reading with the girls. I always know that's time well spent and a lot of my anxiety is around wasting time.

Is there anything that you see people around you doing or saying that adds a lot to their happiness, or detracts a lot from their happiness?
Catalogs. Don't look at 'em. Big time suck. Wish lists take up brain space better used on something more promising.

Have you always felt about the same level of happiness, or have you been through a period when you felt exceptionally happy or unhappy—if so, why? If you were unhappy, how did you become happier?
Was really down one summer before I met Edward. Panic attacks, lifeless, etc. I went to see a great therapist named Priscilla Marquis in San Francisco. Helped a lot. Also read a book I liked called The Feeling Good Handbook.

Do you work on being happier? If so, how?
Keeping track of moods—what's driving them—how to recreate them.

* Join the Facebook Page—lots of interesting discussion there.

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