GRETCHEN RUBIN is the best-selling author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, and is currently working on her latest book, Better Than Before, scheduled for release in 2015. She is considered one of the most influential writers on happiness today, and has become an in-demand speaker and keynoter. Gretchen has also made appearances on the Today show, CBS Sunday Morning and Booknotes.
If you had to pick one key to happiness, what would you say?
Ancient philosophers and current psychologists agree: Strong, healthy relationships are incredibly important to our happiness. To be able to give and get support is just crucial. So if you want to put your time, energy or money into boosting happiness, use it to strengthen and broaden close relationships.
Where do we start to make ourselves happier?
Start with your energy. When you have more energy, it’s easier to do the things you want to do—but are often too tired to do! For example, you might want to throw a dinner party, go out more, or exercise. People think they are too tired to exercise, but in fact exercise gives us more energy. You don’t have to train for a marathon—even a walk outside is great.
This seems so simple and obvious, but you need to get enough sleep; we need 7-8 hours of sleep. People think they’re okay with less, but they are really impaired. Many of us do not get enough sleep. It’s hard to give up that time at night, the fun, goof-off time.
Most of us are hung up on losing 10 pounds, and don’t realize that the benefits of exercise are immediate.
I’ve heard people say, ‘You exercise for sanity, not vanity.’
If you want to lose weight, you have to look at what you’re eating. Research shows that people who exercise will help you maintain your weight, but not lose it.
What is the relationship between Happiness and Habits?
If you want to form your habits, first you need to figure yourself out. What drives you? What do you enjoy? Do you thrive on competition; do you do better when you give up something altogether, or does a more moderate approach work.
How do you help someone else be happier?
The truth is that you can’t change someone else, you can only change yourself. But I find that if I change myself, relationships change, and the atmosphere of my home changes.
It’s not always possible to be happy, but we can try to be as happy as we can under the circumstances. We can always look for reasons to be grateful.