At the cash register, if you’re asked whether you’d like to “round up” your payment for charity, do you agree—or not? It turns out that many people do agree, and these days that spare change is adding up to millions of dollars. “Point-of-sale” donations have sharply increased in recent years. This form of fundraising is recent; it appeared only about fifteen years ago. It’s a good reminder that little actions, made over time, can really add up.


Gretchen Rubin

5 Things Making Me Happy​

A sweet story: Actor Mariska Hargitay is famous for playing police detective Olivia Benson (the all-time longest-running character on a prime-time drama series). Recently, filming an episode for Law and Order: Special Victims Unit in New York City, Hargitay was wearing a badge as part of her character’s costume. A little girl who had lost her mother at the Fort Tryon Playground spotted Hargitay, thought she was an actual on-duty police officer, and asked for help. Hargitay stopped everything to help the child find her mother.

Writing my book Life in Five Senses, and studying my sense of hearing, has made me increasingly protective of my ears. Reading this article made me feel very sorry for parents whose kids love noisy toys. I was interested to read why children love noisy toys: They like to predict cause and response (push a button and a sound comes out), and they also like the attention that the sound attracts. 

One thing that I love about being a writer and a podcaster is that I can never predict what will resonate with people. A while back, I read this quotation on the Happier podcast, and I’ve been surprised by how many people have contacted me to ask me for the exact words and source. I guess we all miss the grownups. “Grownups! Everyone remembers them. How strange and even sad it is that we never become what they were: beings noble, infallible, and free. We never become them. One of the things we discover as we live is that we never become anything different from what we are. We are no less ourselves at forty than we were at four, and because of this we know grownups as Grownups only once in life: during our own childhood. We never meet them in our lives again, and we miss them always.” Elizabeth Enright, Doublefields, “The Walnut Shell” (Yes, it’s the same Elizabeth Enright who is the brilliant writer of children’s books.)

I have a lot of travel coming up in the next few months, so I appreciated these tips for packing a carry-on bag. It’s much harder to under-pack than to over-pack, so I need all the hacks I can get. Plus this New York Times article weighed in on a question that has nagged at me for years: is it better to roll or fold clothes? Spoiler alert: roll. It takes less space and creates fewer wrinkles.

Speaking of Life in Five Senses, the paperback edition will be released next week! I’m hosting a free virtual event to discuss the book on May 6th. To get the details, download the “secret chapter” by filling out this form.


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This week on Happier with Gretchen Rubin


We explore an imaginative, manageable way to write your autobiography, and we share a suggestion from a listener about using cards to help someone make it through a tough time. Plus listeners respond to the question from the veterinarian who didn’t want to lie about her profession, but also didn’t want to tell the truth.

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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.