The Happier podcast just hit a major milestone—if you count every regular weekly Happier episode, plus the weekly 2-4 minute Little Happiers, the laid-back, weekend More Happiers, and the occasional bonus episodes, we’ve hit 1,000 episodes.

Doing the podcast has been such a tremendous source of happiness for me—partly because it’s a creative way to explore and engage with people about ideas that I find endlessly fascinating, and partly because I do it with my sister, Elizabeth.

I remember that when I first suggested the idea of doing a podcast to Elizabeth, I said, “Remember, this will be a lot of work, and it could also be a big failure, out in public.” She said, “That’s okay.” Not everyone would want to tackle a high-demand project with a sibling, but for us, it has been a tremendous boon. We’ve had so many great conversations and adventures because of the podcast.

5 Things Making Me Happy​

It’s energizing to see people embrace habit strategies in creative ways! This Instagram user links her workouts with watering her basil plant—a terrific real-world example of the “Strategy of Pairing” that I write about in Better Than Before. By pairing the habits of exercise and plant care, the plant serves as a visual cue to work out, and working out means that she gets to water the plant. Plus an ordinary house plant becomes an accountability partner. Great idea.

May was a great month of reading for me. I’ve been on an Iris Murdoch kick lately, and I re-read A Severed Head. Overwhelming. It’s a novel that strikes uncanny, symbolic themes. By contrast, a great fun read is The Rook by Daniel O’Malley—a case of amnesia, a secret government agency, a protagonist who has super-powers and is also really good at paper-work.

The subject of loneliness has been in the news lately, and I’ve been thinking about how our new patterns of remote and hybrid work might contribute to people’s feelings of isolation. I was fascinated to read this article, “The loneliness of the American worker.” Three points struck me as particularly interesting:

  • Being scheduled in many meetings can make people feel lonelier.
  • While there was widespread belief that the antidote to loneliness was building deep relationships, in fact, daily weak ties and frequent interactions matter more than expected.
  • One disadvantage of remote work is that people have to schedule time with each other purposely—they don’t have easy, serendipitous encounters.

I love children’s literature, and I love New York City, so I enjoyed getting the chance to test my knowledge in this New York Times quiz, “Do you know the Manhattan locations of these children’s books?” Not to brag, but I got a perfect score.

New word alert: “anglepoise lamp.” It’s a great term, because even though I’d never encountered it before, I knew exactly what kind of lamp an “anglepoise” lamp must be. It’s so satisfying to have the right vocabulary to convey exactly what’s meant.

SPOTLIGHT

Design Your Summer with the Happier app

Designing your summer is about taking advantage of the season and making it distinctive. Use the powerful habit-tracking tools to meet your summer aims or Spin the Wheel for inspiration during the month of June. Download the Happier™ app for free.

This week on Happier with Gretchen Rubin

PODCAST EPISODE: 485

We discuss why it can be useful to write down bad feelings on a piece of paper, then shred, toss, or burn it. We also mention a hack from a listener that makes it easier to stay in touch with far-flung friends and family, and listeners share their stories about how they’ve trained (or plan to train) for a tough transition.

Listen now >

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Every Friday, Gretchen Rubin shares 5 things that are making her happier, asks readers and listeners questions, and includes exclusive updates and behind-the-scenes material.