In the scope of a happy life, a messy desk or an overstuffed coat closet is a trivial thing, yet I find — and I hear from other people that they agree — that getting rid of clutter gives a disproportionate boost to happiness.
We can use decision-making to choose the habits we want to form, use willpower to get the habit started, then — and this is the best part — we can allow the extraordinary power of habit to take over. At that point, we're free from the need to decide and the need to use willpower.
Each week, I post a video about some 'Pigeon of Discontent' raised by a reader. Because, as much as we try to find the 'Bluebird of Happiness', we're also plagued by those small but pesky 'Pigeons of Discontent'.
I'd always vaguely expected to outgrow my limitations. One day, I'd stop twisting my hair, and wearing running shoes all the time, and eating exactly the same food every day. I'd remember my friends' birthdays, I'd learn Photoshop, I wouldn't let my daughter watch TV during breakfast. I'd read Shakespeare.
One thing I wish I could tell my younger self: take photos of everyday life, not special occasions; later, that's what will be interesting to you.
A 'treat' is different from a 'reward', which must be justified or earned. A treat is a small pleasure or indulgence that we give to ourselves just because we want it. Treats give us greater vitality, which boosts self-control, which helps us maintain our healthy habits.
Happiness is a critical factor for work, and work is a critical factor for happiness. In one of those life-isn't-fair results, it turns out that the happy outperform the less happy. Happy people work more hours each week — and they work more in their free time, too.
I've found that I snack less and concentrate better when I chew on a plastic stirrer — the kind that you get to stir your to-go coffee. I picked up this habit from my husband, who loves to chew on things. His favorite chew-toy is a plastic pen top, and gnawed pen tops and little bits of plastic litter our apartment.
Gretchen Rubin — quotes and aphorisms
Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they're big, flashing signs that something needs to change.
Turn off your email; turn off your phone; disconnect from the Internet; figure out a way to set limits so you can concentrate when you need to, and disengage when you need to. Technology is a good servant but a bad master.
Nature is impersonal, awe-inspiring, elegant, eternal. It's geometrically perfect. It's tiny and gigantic. You can travel far to be in a beautiful natural setting, or you can observe it in your backyard — or, in my case, in the trees lining New York City sidewalks, or in the clouds above skyscrapers.