A few weeks ago, it was snowing outside here in New York City, and I love to watch the snow fall. I thought, “I won’t watch the snow fall right now. I’m busy, so I’ll watch the snow fall later.”

And then I thought, “No, Gretchen, you know better, watch the snow fall now.” Don’t take the snow for granted. I want to smell the snow. I want to feel the snow falling on my face and catching in my eyelashes. I want to hear how snow affects the sound quality. I want to tap into my five senses so that I can truly appreciate the beauty of that moment.

With our five senses, we can do so many things to further our happiness. There’s so much to be gained by tapping into the power of the five senses.

5 Things Making Me Happy​

Interesting research suggests that people with warmer feet tend to fall asleep faster and have a better quality of sleep. I’m a person who runs cold, and I suffer from icy feet when I get into bed, even when I wear two pairs of socks or socks with slippers. A thoughtful reader told me about a gizmo for nighttime foot-warming—an electric heated foot warmer. I fully acknowledge the utter ridiculousness of this product, but I use it every night. I can’t tell if I fall asleep faster, but I’m definitely far more comfortable.

I always love the chance to learn more about some phenomenon or situation that I often experience. For instance, I love books such as Vanderbilt’s Traffic or Lorr’s The Secret Life of Groceries, because they help me better understand some familiar aspect of my everyday life. Along the same lines, I was interested to read this article “What are muscle knots? An exercise physiologist explains what those tight little lumps are and how to get rid of them.” I’ve always wondered!

I’m fascinated by demography, so I read with great interest this New York Times piece, “It’s Me, Hi, I’m the Problem. I’m 33.” It makes the point that as we go through life, we may not be aware of how much our circumstances and options are shaped by the size of our “generation.” Getting into college, getting a job, getting a place to live—all can be made easier or harder depending on how many people are in the same stage of life. Also, it matters how large the generation was before you.

If you use the Starbucks App, you might hear a familiar voice next week during my “Spring Renewal” takeover. From Monday, March 18 through Sunday, March 24, you’ll find exclusive audio clips featuring tips and stories about recharging and renewing. It was so fun to record these—I hope they give you a boost along with your morning coffee.

I’m fascinated by the way that some things feel both man-made and natural, and I’m always looking for more examples. So far, I’ve identified: sea glass, a scholar’s rock (there are many beautiful examples on display in the Met), a shipwreck, a haystack, a park bench.


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This week on Happier with Gretchen Rubin


We talk about why it can be helpful to schedule a “loose-ends day,” and we share a hack about an imaginative way to celebrate a milestone birthday with adventure and connection. We also talk to Aliza Pressman about ways to become a happier, more effective parent.

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.