Abstainer or Moderator? Gretchen Rubin explains why it matters to your Happiness

Couples-2During therapy, people often identify behavior changes (stop smoking, be more social, rekindle friendships) as one of their primary goals.  Changing behaviors comes more easily to some than others.  Gretchen Rubin writes in The Happiness Project about how to apply the studies and theories on happiness to your life.  The quiz below provides information on how to make changing behaviors easier for you.

Identifying yourself as a moderator or an abstainer is important for you to make better choices about the easiest way to make positive behavior changes.

You’re a moderator if you…
– find that occasional indulgence heightens your pleasure–and strengthens your resolve
– get panicky at the thought of “never” getting or doing something
You’re an abstainer if you…
– have trouble stopping something once you’ve started
– aren’t tempted by things that you’ve decided are off-limits
Knowing which strategy works best for you can be a great tool to help you change. There is no right way or wrong way.
Let’s say you want to start walking every morning before work.
If you are a moderator, you may want to use the 80/20 rule.  Ask yourself to adhere to the behavior change 80 percent of the time, but do not try to go “cold turkey”.  Plan to walk 5 or 6 days, but plan to allow yourself 1 or 2 days off each week.
An abstainer would want to plan to walk everyday.
If you are struggling with trying and failing to make a change in your life, try the above quiz, apply the results, and see if you are more successful!

Happiness Manifesto by Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin, the author of the NY Times bestselling book, The Happiness Project, posted her Happiness Manifesto.  Here it is.  What do you think?


jumping girl


  • To be happy, you need to consider feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.
  • One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy; One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.
  • The days are long, but the years are short.
  • You’re not happy unless you think you’re happy.
  • Your body matters.
  • Happiness is other people.
  • Think about yourself so you can forget yourself.
  • “It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light.”—G. K. Chesterton
  • What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you, and vice versa.
  • Best is good, better is best.
  • Outer order contributes to inner calm.
  • Happiness comes not from having more, not from having less, but from wanting what you have.
  • You can choose what you do, but you can’t choose what you like to do.
  • “There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.” —Robert Louis Stevenson
  • You manage what you measure.

Image: Rosen Georgiev / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


mom, dad, and child




FUN MOTHER’S DAY STORY! (from StoryBird, it takes a few extra seconds to load)


by Contreras222 on Storybird

A great tool for a parent/child chat about ADHD

 If you want to chat with a child about ADHD, this is great.

The story ADHD and Me was shared by MrsKirk on Storybird.

Your Happiness

408px-Happy_man_in_a_rainy_dayI have become a big fan of Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project, and her website. According to Ms Rubin, we become unhappy “when we feel depleted and drained, and when we have no time or energy devoted to the things that give us pleasure.”  Treating ourselves throughout the day with small pleasures is an important way to avoid those feeling of depletion and to prevent becoming unhappy.  

Ms Rubin suggests creating a list of treats and pleasures that have a very low cost in time, energy, or money. Ms Rubin’s readers have shared a fun and varied list of their treats and pleasures.  Some of my favorites are listed here:

Small Treats and Pleasures

taking the pup to the park
dance party in my office
getting a hot chocolate
reading a chapter of my book in bed
Photo courtesy of squacco

Photo courtesy of squacco

looking at a family photo album
taking an extra long shower
stretching or yoga
Belting along to the Dixie Chicks, Patty Loveless or Lyle Lovett while driving
My Nana’s coffee cake
Iced Dunkin’ Donuts coffee with skim milk and sugar
Really good cheese
Doing the NYT Sunday acrostic
Re-reading my favorite children’s books (esp. the “Shoes” and Betsy-Tacy books)
Calling my mom
Walking a different way to work or coming home, especially through a park
Getting into bed when it’s just been made up with crisp fresh sheets
Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc
Fresh strawberries, raspberries or peaches when they’re in season.  And tomatoes!
Having breakfast from a wooden tray with a linen napkin on it
A gardenia beside the bed.
Mrs. Meyers’ Honeysuckle hand soap.
washing my hands with Molton Brown hand soap
Make home made soup
Lubricating eye drops – make my eyes feel great!
Planting ferns
Give myself a foot massage
Read a travel guide
Petting a dog I meet in the street
Lighting a candle
A face mask, especially a minty one
A hot shower
Writing lists
Making my own bread, kneading is soothin
Watching foreign movies
Stare at trees stretching to reach the sky
Buy a new color of lipstick
I encourage you to make your own list.  Try to work one or two of these into your day.  Enjoy.