5 Things Making Me Happy


Ta-da! After years of research and experiments, writing and re-writing, cutting and editing and more cutting, I'm thrilled to announce the upcoming release of my new book, Life in Five Senses: How Exploring the Senses Got Me Out of My Head and Into the World.

With every book I write, I think, “Well, it’s all downhill from here. Never again will I find a topic so fascinating.” But I always have! I l loved exploring my five senses and writing this book. I hope Life in Five Senses manages to communicate to readers the extraordinary richness of the subject: how we can tune in to our senses to cheer up, calm down, focus in, and have fun; to connect more deeply to the past and the present; and to delight more, imagine more, and create more. Plus, fun with ketchup.

Because pre-orders build buzz with booksellers, publishers, and the media, pre-ordering is a great way to support authors and their work. So, if you're planning to read Life in Five Senses and if you're able, I would so appreciate your pre-order. Order early and often! You can pre-order here.

I had so much fun writing this book, and I can't wait for it to hit the shelves on April 18th.


Gretchen Rubin

5 Things Making Me Happy


Reading makes me happy, and I heard an interesting idea from two writer friends. Laura Vanderkam does year-long reading projects where she reads one chapter each day of works such as War and Peace and Shakespeare. Inspired by this idea, Ruth Franklin is planning to read the four volumes of Robert Caro’s The Years of Lyndon Johnson. If you want follow along or join in, use #caroin2023.


I was so happy to watch the season premiere of Fantasy Island. With every episode, I get such a thrill from seeing my sister’s name appear during the opening credits; it never gets old to see “Elizabeth Craft” flash on the screen. (Something else that makes me happy when I watch TV? Captions. You can see in the photo that I have the captions turned on.) Plus, even when Elizabeth has described a plot line to me, I’m always so curious to see how the answer to the question “What can the island do for you?” plays out.


A thoughtful listener sent me an idea for a great five-senses experiment: eat a cold orange in a hot shower. What a great suggestion! The fragrance of the fruit, the contrast in temperature, the freedom from worry about the stickiness of the juice, the surprise at tasting something while showering…it was really fun.


I made a big happiness-boosting discovery recently. I love to read, but I can’t listen to audiobooks; somehow, my brain just doesn’t process the words. But I discovered that I can enjoy the audio version of a book I’ve already read. I love to re-read, but rarely have time to re-read beloved books, so realizing that I could enjoy re-reading through my ears has been a huge boon. Also, I’ve found, I appreciate a book in a new way when I’m listening to it. For instance, with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I noticed much more how Austen wove the themes of “pride” and “prejudice” throughout the novel. The words stood out more clearly when I was listening than when I was reading.


Holiday items put away and back in storage! I was relieved to get this major chore accomplished by the start of the new year.


  • My next Instagram Live is on January 11 at 6 pm ET. My sister Elizabeth and I will discuss our one-word themes for 2023.
  • There’s no magical one-size-fits-all solution to habit-change, but if you're trying to master a habit, I compiled the list of Tools for Habit Change.

Episodes and Articles

A Little Happier

A Little Happier

In the Movie “Before Sunrise,” with Which Character Do You Identify?



Elissa Epel, Ph.D is a bestselling author and an international expert on stress, well-being, and optimal aging. Her new book, "The Stress Prescription" just hit shelves.

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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.