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Podcast 211: Spend Time Individually with Family Members, an Ice Cube Hack, and Obligers’ Relationships to Accountability and Possessions.


Update: The Fix will debut on March 18, at 10:00 p.m. on ABC. Mark your calendar now, and watch the trailer here.

Thank you to everyone who has pre-ordered or bought my my new book Outer Order, Inner Calm! The book hit the shelves yesterday, and I so appreciate the enthusiasm and support I've received.

I hope to see you during my book tour. You can find information here.

Post your before-and-after photos—how I love a before-and-after! Post to #outerorderinnercalm.

And newsflash, Elizabeth and I are going to do a tour for the Happier podcast! Come see our disembodied voices live on stage. Soon we'll post the full tour schedule and info, but we have the details for our first event in New York City:

Gretchen and Elizabeth are taking the Happier Podcast on the road! See the sisters' disembodied voices take human form live on stage in "Happier Hour: An Evening With Gretchen And Elizabeth." You'll participate in a real-time "Try This Right Now," enlighten fellow Happierites in an audience "Happiness Hack" lightning round, and find out if Gretchen is actually learning to play the ukulele (#7 on her “19 for 2019” list). "Happier Hour: An Evening with Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft" is presented by Lululemon and Random House.

Hope to see you there!

Try This at Home: Try to spend time individually with each member of your family.

We discuss a passage from Abby Pogrebin's book One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I’ve Learned about Everyone’s Struggle to Be Singular.

Happiness Hack: If you feel yourself going into a regret spiral, with racing, circling thoughts, try plunging your face into ice water. Or if you can't do that, put an ice cube in your mouth.

This idea was proposed in Jennifer Taitz's New York Times article, “6 Steps to Turn Regret Into Self-Improvement.”

I read a passage from Joan Didion's brilliant essay "On Self-Respect," which is included in the collection Slouching Toward Bethlehem.

Self-respect is a discipline, a habit of mind that can never be faked but can be developed, trained, coaxed forth. It was once suggested to me that, as an antidote to crying, I put my head in a paper bag. As it happens, there is a sound physiological reason, something to do with oxygen, for doing exactly that, but the psychological effect alone is incalculable: it is difficult in the extreme to continue fancying oneself Cathy in Wuthering Heights with one’s head in a Food Fair bag.

Four Tendencies Tip: We discuss what circumstances finally prodded a busy Obliger doctor to get important surgery.

Listener Question: A listener asks if Obliger feels particularly obligated to hang on to family possessions.

We mention Margareta Magnusson's book The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter. (What a title!)

Gretchen's Demerit: I got very excited at the prospect of cleaning the clutter in Elizabeth's office—and then I realized I had quite a bit of clutter I could tackle in my own office! Physician, heal thyself, etc.

Elizabeth's Gold Star: Elizabeth gives a gold star to her son Jack's teacher Mrs. Herrington, who went out of her way to write a positive report, even when it wasn't required.


  1. Subscribe to my “Moment of Happiness” newsletter and receive a daily happiness quotation in your inbox.
  2. Get information and tickets for my Outer Order, Inner Calm book tour and our Happier podcast live events at

Join the conversation! I do a live show on Facebook called: “Ask Gretchen Rubin Live.” You can check the schedule.

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