Podcast 320: For Our 6th Anniversary, a Roundup of Favorite Try-This-at-Homes, Hacks, Strategies, and Solutions from Listeners—and From Us.

Very Special Episode

Every tenth episode is a Very Special Episode, and in honor of our sixth anniversary, we decided to highlight listeners’ favorite moments and ideas from the past six years.

One of my very favorite moments is a favorite with listeners, too: in episode 85, when Elizabeth described how she gave a PedEgg, an electric foot-callus remover, to her mother-in-law.

Many people mentioned the yearly numbered list. To listen to discussions of those lists, they’re here: 18 for 201819 for 201920 for 2020, 21 for 2021.

Many people also mentioned the yearly challenge. We got a lot of responses about #Walk20in20 and #Read21in21. (What will be the challenge for 2022? Send us your ideas!)

Speaking of reading, a listener said that my Summer of Proust inspired her Summer of Harry Potter and Spring of Jane Austen.

Many people said that they loved the Book Club. We know we need to announce our next book! We’re working on it.

Many people mentioned the “one-minute rule.”

Several listeners mentioned that they’ve started celebrating minor holidays. I describe my experience with my most recent April Fool’s Day prank, with “Gelling Joke.”

Other ideas highlighted:

#HappierLaborDay—using the holiday of Labor Day to reflect on our work life

Don’t interview for pain: this discussion was prompted by a passage from Michael Thompson and Catherine O’Neill Grace’s terrific Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children:

I believe that we live the story we tell ourselves–and others–about the life we’re leading…If you constantly interview your child for pain, your child may begin to hear a story of social suffering emerge from her own mouth. Soon she will begin to believe it and will see herself as a victim….

 Please understand that I am not advising you to disbelieve our children, nor am I saying that you should not be empathic…But…don’t interview for pain, don’t nurture resentments, and don’t hold on to ancient history. Kids don’t.

Gretchen clears clutter in Elizabeth’s closet—one of my personal favorites!

If you’ve lost something, look very carefully in the place you’d most expect it to be found.

Change the lock-screen photo on your phone

The “demerits” segment

Reorganize put the most-used apps on the front page of your phone while allowing for an “empty shelf”

When faced with a painful loss of a beloved possession, re-frame that loss by considering that the possession has sacrificed itself for you—a reference to a listener question in episode 78 and a thought-provoking response from another listener in episode 82

Lighten the load for your Future-Self

Elizabeth overhearing the tour guide on the Disney lot saying “We can be pretty casual around here” to explain Elizabeth’s sweatpants and hoodie as she walked into her office

Suffer for 15 minutes

Read the manual

Make the positive argument

Not realizing that the audio speed had been switched to 2X speed so hearing me talk super-fast

The LED Book Light Neck Reading Lamp

Creating a secret, whimsical place

Ask “Whom do you envy?

Glance back when you leave a park bench, bus seat, etc. to make sure you didn’t leave anything behind

If you’re too tired to read or to do any activity other than watch TV, go to bed Applying “upstream” thinking to problems, inspired by the conversation in episode 263 with Dan Heath about his book Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen (AmazonBookshop)

Several people mentioned using the Four Tendencies in various ways to make their lives happier

If you want to take the quiz, to find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel, take it here. Quick, free, and more than 3.2 million people have taken it.

Some discussions that have been most significant for Elizabeth and me: Elizabeth mentioned several ideas:


Elizabeth’s bracelets (a gift from a listener!) in her signature color.


  • If you’re looking for some mood-boosting music, we made a Happier 911 list on Spotify. So much great, happy music! Search Spotify playlists for “Happier 911.” All the songs were suggested by Happier podcast listeners.

What we’re reading

  • Elizabeth: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (AmazonBookshop)
  • Gretchen: Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary (AmazonBookshop)




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