Podcast Break: Happier with Gretchen Rubin

I didn’t think that I was a podcast person. I’m not really a radio listener, not even a music person. I listen to music for background noise because having grown up in a big, noisy family, I don’t care for silence. But then Serial happened and everyone was talking about it and to prevent myself from feeling left out (something I despise), I got in on it. And found that I actually liked listening to it. It took a different kind of concentration for sure – you do have to commit yourself to giving it your full attention, you can’t zone out like you do when you listen to your favourite album and it’s definitely not something I can listen to while I’m doing something else. But these are all things that I liked about it.

That said, once Serial was over (can we really call that an ending though?), I didn’t exactly dedicate myself to finding a substitute podcast to listen to.

And then happily, one found me.

I’ve been a fan of Gretchen Rubin’s since I read her book, The Happiness Project. For the uninitiated, maybe it sounds like a super hokey self-help book but I promise you it isn’t. In it, Rubin comes up with all of these brilliant yet deceptively simple everyday things that you can do to up your daily happiness quotient. She started looking at ways to up her happiness levels because despite living in a city she loved, with a husband she adored, two healthy children and a job she loved, she found that she wasn’t happy and she wanted to do something about it. For a year she spent each month focusing on different parts of her life to try and change her levels of happiness. But she does it really simply by cleaning out closets and tidying clutter before bed and being nice to her husband. Simple things we could all do if we thought about it.

But I know. We all have thirty thousand books already on our TBR lists and this one might already live on it but there’s no guarantee that we will get to it any time soon.

Well happily, Rubin has teamed up with her sister (aka the “happiness guinea pig”) Elizabeth Craft and created the Happier Podcast. It’s nice and short (around 20 minutes) and they talk about some of the same things Rubin wrote about in her book. Each episode includes a tip to try at home, a question that gets you looking at your own habits (eg. are you an abstainer or a moderator?) and then one or the other sister gives herself a happiness demerit for doing something that compromises their happiness and then the other gives a happiness gold star for something that has really contributed to their happiness over the course of the week.

Super simple, completely brilliant. Two episodes are currently available and I’m eagerly anticipating the third one. Who doesn’t want to find ways to be happier?

Speaking of eager anticipation, Rubin has a new book coming out this month that looks at our habits: Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. It’s on the list, along with Happier at Home (which is part of my TBR Pile challenge so will get read at some point this year).

14 thoughts on “Podcast Break: Happier with Gretchen Rubin

  1. Oooh… I didn’t know about the podcast. What a good idea! I think it’s great even if you own and have read both books (as I have), because it’s so easy to forget everything and nice to have reminders.
    I, too, have loved her books – they’re so practical and easy for anyone. I find them inspiring. I think i liked her second one even better than the first. I was skeptical about it at first, because I didn’t know what more she could say, but I needn’t have worried. I’m excited to hear what she has to say about our habits!

    • It’s such a good idea! So simple. And I completely agree with you that it’s a great way to revisit the tips and tricks she discusses in her books!
      Yes, yes and yes to all the things she said. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to read any of her follow-up work. Although I do check in on her blog from time to time and follow her on twitter. Probably not totally the same though.

    • I actually think her books are pretty original. At least I haven’t read any books that look at happiness as the goal. There’s one that looks at habits that was really interesting, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

  2. Like yourself, I am not much of a podcast person. I don’t know why, as it’s just like listening to a talk show on the radio but it’s more in your power about what you listen to. Might have to listen to a couple of the ones that you have recommended here. Maybe I will get into the habit of it!

    • It’s kind of nice to give yourself over to the power of the podcast. Maybe you’re the kind of person that can listen and do something else (I can with music but not talk-radio) but I can’t with the podcast. The only thing I might have been able to do would be running while I listened. But the world is busy and crazy enough already. It’s nice to have an excuse to just sit and listen. And the Happier podcast is a way to do that AND improve your quality of life at the same time. A different take on multi-tasking.

      • I always like that, when listening or watching a program that actually improves your real life. Yes, it’s nice to get lost in a different time or a completely different world but I think I do that enough with books!

  3. Pingback: 2015 TBR Pile Challenge: Happier at Home | The Paperback Princess

  4. Pingback: In which I’m surprised by my own personality | The Paperback Princess

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