5 Things Making Me Happy


Reading is my favorite thing to do—it’s my treehouse and my cubicle. I think that listening to an audiobook “counts,” and my sister Elizabeth loves audiobooks, but I could never maintain my attention if I weren’t reading words on a page.

Recently, however, I discovered a way to tap in to the joy of audiobooks! I listen to children’s books that I know very, very well. Because they’re so familiar, I’m able to follow along, and now I have a chance to “reread” books I love.

I’ve already listened to The Secret Garden, Understood Betsy, several Narnia books, Heidi, and now I’m listening to A Wrinkle in Time. Next: The Phantom Tollbooth. In a recent episode of More Happier, I describe my joy in finding this new way to enjoy literature.

Do you listen to audio-books? Do you read e-books or print? Or can you do it all?


Gretchen Rubin

5 Things Making Me Happy


Speaking of audio books, a few years ago, as a holiday gift to listeners, I recorded Charles Dickens’s timeless story, “A Christmas Carol.” You probably have a general sense of the characters and plot, but if you’ve never actually read (or heard) the story, it’s scarier, funnier, and more thought-provoking than you might expect.

You can find those episodes here and here.


I have lots of holiday decorations, and I especially enjoy the decorations that have some personal layer of relevance—my Winston Churchill figure, my ceramic “Kansas City Plaza Lights” tower, the star I made in kindergarten. I’ve had these figures from “A Christmas Carol” for years, but after I recorded the story, they became much more meaningful to me. It makes me happy to look at them.


The night before Thanksgiving, Jamie and I walked down a block that held some of the giant balloons for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was fun to see them up close. Here, a trapped Smurf.


I love anything that helps me grasp the vastness of the universe and the span of eons, and I was mesmerized by this gorgeous video, “Timelapse of the Entire Universe” by John D. Boswell.


I’m honored to be part of Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty Mental Health Council, and I admire so much the work that she does to educate people about the importance of mental health and to make more resources available. I just watched her new Apple TV+ documentary, “Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me”—such a revealing, thought-provoking exploration of her struggles with bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, lupus, fame, and finding purpose. It opens with the words “Let me make you a promise. I’ll only tell you my darkest secrets."


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Episodes and Articles

A Little Happier

A Little Happier

How Do We Stay Open to Constructive Criticism, Yet Also Committed to Our Creative Vision?



Mary Beth Albright is a writer, editor, and host at The Washington Post, where she has developed multiple culinary series since she arrived in 2017

Happier Podcast


406: Why We Might Upgrade the Makeshift, Gift Ideas for Teachers, and a Great Way to Use Photographs


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More Happier: Hosting a Holiday, Reducing Waster, Embracing Audiobooks, and Tech that Actually Helps

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I should pursue only those habits that would make me feel freer and stronger.


Additional Resources

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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.