5 Things Making Me Happy


This week in the United States, we celebrated Thanksgiving. To celebrate, this week’s “5 Things” features five things that I’m grateful for right now.

I’m a big fan of using calendar dates as a catalyst for reflection and mindful action, so I’m happy that a national holiday reminds me to give thanks. (See my full Calendar of Catalysts here.) 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! I find that too often, I take aspects of my life for granted, so this holiday prompt is very helpful.


Gretchen Rubin

5 Things Making Me Happy


I’m thankful for my sister and co-host Elizabeth Craft. We’re sisters, and we also work together on our weekly podcast, Happier. For many people, this set-up might not be ideal, but for us, it’s absolutely wonderful. The podcast gives us a reason to talk even more often than we would otherwise do; we have adventures together, such as our live podcast tour; we have an outlet to collaborate creatively, something we’d wanted to do for years before we launched the podcast. Also, Elizabeth has cheerfully acted as a guinea pig for so many of my experiments about happiness, habits, the Four Tendencies, the five senses, and more. For more about my appreciation of Elizabeth— including a discussion of a question we’re often asked, “What did your parents do that helped you to have such a close relationship?”—read here.


I’m thankful to live so close to a museum I can visit every day, and I’m also thankful that as a New York resident, I can go for free (though I did join as a member, to support the museum). I decided to go to the Metropolitan Museum every day for a year because I was curious to see how that experience would change with time and repetition. Spoiler alert: the experience gets better and better! I may go to the Met every day for the rest of my life. It makes me happy, and it’s also a source of creative energy. You can read more about how I spark my creativity here.


I’m so thankful for our dog Barnaby. For a long time, even though my daughters begged to get a dog, I wasn’t sure I thought it was a good idea. (If you’d like to hear me talk about that debate, and why we decided to “Choose the bigger life,” listen to episode 24 and episode 27 of Happier.) The minute Barnaby joined our household, I knew we’d made the right decision. Barnaby is a source of so much love and fun—plus, these days, as the weather gets colder, he’s also my mobile heater.


I’m thankful for my sense of smell. I have several friends who temporarily lost their sense of smell from Covid; our conversations reminded me of how much I love to smell a bottle of vanilla, a sprig of lavender, an autumn afternoon. And a hardware store! How I love that hardware store smell. I never really noticed it, though, until I started to study this too-often neglected sense.


Reading is my favorite way to spend time. I’m thankful for the libraries and bookstores that mean that I will never run out of books to read. Plus, with the library, I get a kick of satisfaction just from the process of checking out and returning books. Why is this so satisfying? I have no idea.


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Episodes and Articles

A Little Happier

A Little Happier

Sometimes, When We’re the Most Thankful, We Find It Hardest to Express Gratitude



The Happier Podcast Holiday Gift Guide

Happier Podcast


Episode 405: Kevin Hart! Plus Ways to Enhance Holiday Decorating and How to Save Someone’s Life (or Your Own)


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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.