Gretchen Rubin

Millions of people around the world read Gretchen Rubin’s tips on how to be happier and how to enhance their lives. She has written books and blogs on the matter, and shares her experiences in the podcast, “Happier.” In Flow International issue 13, we feature an interview with the American author about her past, present and future, and below, one of Dutch Flow’s editors, Ellen Nij Bijvank, tells us why she enjoys listening to Rubin’s weekly podcast so much.

I read Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, a few years ago, and her latest book, Better Than Before, is currently on my “to-read” pile. But it’s going to have to wait, because for the past few months, I’ve been gripped by “Happier,” a podcast in which Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth talk about happiness and how they have—or haven’t—found it by changing their habits. Their conversations are funny, relatable and very honest, and full of clever and practical tips that can be tried out immediately.

I listen to a new episode of the podcast every Thursday morning on my way to work, but even though I’m sitting in my car amid the rush-hour traffic, it feels like I’m sitting at a kitchen table in America with the two sisters beside me. The sisters are very different in personality, and that makes it even more fun to listen to because while Gretchen is very serious and driven, Elizabeth is lighthearted and can easily laugh at herself.

  • What I really love: That Gretchen feels so happy simply reading and rereading her favorite children’s books.
  • What made me laugh: Elizabeth’s description of the “Evil Donut Bringer” at work, who makes it so hard for her not to eat sweet stuff.
  • What I am definitely going to try: A power hour—scheduling one hour per week where you do all those things that you keep postponing.
  • What really struck me (because I recognized it in myself): The verdict of one of the podcast’s guests who said he “needs a margin in his life.” So basically, not to just keep rushing around, but to also set time aside to just do nothing. And that will certainly make me happy.

Photo of Gretchen: Andy Ryan