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Podcast 291: Get Out of Your Storage Unit, a Hack for Reducing Unwanted Talk, and a Conversation about Relationships with Esther Perel.


Update: We've announced our next book club choice: Yaa Gyasi's unforgettable novel, Transcendent Kingdom (AmazonBookshop). Start reading, and post your questions and comments here or on social media using #happierpodcastbookclub.

Try This at Home: Get out of your self-storage unit.

This idea can be applied specifically, or more broadly to apply to anything that we're paying for but not using—often, to avoid deciding how to proceed.

We mention the article My Personal "Storage Wars" written by Elizabeth's longtime friend Karen Schwartz.

Happiness Hack: If you don't want to make conversation while getting your hair cut, close your eyes. It turns out that people don't talk to you if your eyes are shut.

As Elizabeth points out, this is a fitting hack because hair salons are re-opening in many places.

Interview: Esther Perel.

Esther Perel is a relationship therapist who is also an author, podcaster, and speaker. She’s written two bestselling books about romantic relationships, Mating in Captivity (Amazon, Bookshop) and The State of Affairs (Amazon, Bookshop). She hosts the wildly popular podcasts Where Should We Begin? and How’s Work?

(In the photo, note the white bed pillow next to me—I surround myself with pillows to help improve the sound quality fo my office.)

What’s groundbreaking about her podcasts is that in each episode, she has a one-time, actual therapy session, so you get to hear about real people’s lives and challenges, and to hear how Esther Perel responds in a therapy session. It’s riveting.

We discussed questions such as:

  • Are people able to have major, transformational insights in a single session?
  • Have you ever considered having follow-up sessions with couples, to get an update?
  • The big mistakes that we all make in our relationships
  • Why we need connection and touch
  • Why the quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives
  • How our personal lives influence our work lives

Esther Perel's Try This at Home: Now make yourself helpful, and at the same time, reach out to others if you need help.

Gretchen's Demerit: Instead of deciding where exactly to put a bunch of puzzles and games, I just stuck them out of sight under a table. Sheesh, I wrote Outer Order, Inner Calm after all. I know better than that!

I mention a board game that we really enjoy: Ticket to Ride. Very fun.

Elizabeth's Gold Star: Elizabeth gives a gold star to her husband Adam for setting up her treadmill desk in her office.


  • Want to win a signed, personalized copy of my bestselling book Outer Order, Inner Calm? To enter, follow my Instagram account @gretchenrubin, like the giveaway post, and comment on the post tagging three friends. If you win, I'll send you a signed, personalized book. (Giveaway is only open to U.S. readers, alas—mailing costs.)
  • Among the habits that people say they’d like to form, “exercise more” is one of the most popular. There are so many great reasons to exercise—but it can be challenging. To learn habit-changing strategies, click here to download my free PDF guide “Exercising Better Than Before" (scroll down to “Better Than Before”).

Quote From the Podcast

Listening when you agree is not so difficult. Listening when the stuff that’s being said to you is really challenging and irks you—that’s a whole different art.
Esther Perel

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