Gretchen Rubin at HxD: Resolutions to be Happy


The annual HxD conference in Boston once again proved to be an enriching experience, hosting an extremely wide variety of insightful talks. Amongst them was Gretchen Rubin’s inspiring keynote, which provided the audience with some helpful tips on how to be happy. We at MedCrunch are thrilled to share Gretchen’s happiness resolutions with you.

Happiness is a fundamental trait. Not only is it important for us as individuals, but also for others. Unhappiness leads to isolation and defensiveness and often times the notion of happiness is associated with a negative connotation. Is it selfish to be happy? At the end of the day, the answer to this question doesn’t really matter. Even if it did, the answer is that we should try to be happy, as long as it’s done with selfless reasons.

According to Gretchen, happiness doesn’t imply having time, energy or money. Instead, there are some simple yet effective resolutions that can make everyday a happier day:

  • Start with your own body. Your physical experience will always color your emotional experience
    • Get enough sleep
    • Exercise, preferably outside
    • If you are short of time: jump up and down
    • Live the sense of smell – don’t be fooled that only time-consuming things can make you happy. Often the quick and easy things like the sense of smell are the ones that count
  • Get more happiness from your possessions
    • Cultivate a shrine – mindfully arrange things that you love in one place
    • Get control over the stuff of life makes you feel more in control of your life generally. It starts by making your bed – don’t laugh, it works
    • With your possessions always answer the questions: do I use it, do I love it, do I need it? If all answers are no, get rid of it
    • If a project is stalled, allow yourself to abandon it and pass it on to someone that needs it
  • Build strong relationships with other people
    • Cultivate long-term relationships
    • Confide in people
  • Don’t expect others to change – the only person you can change is yourself
    • When you change, a relationship changes
    • By changing yourself something bigger changes
  • Give more greetings and farewells
    • Manageable tweaks can change the fundamental engagement that you feel in your daily life

At the end of the day, your own interests, nature and values are fundamental elements that should become part of your everyday life in order to help you become a happier person.

Read more about Gretchen Rubin and the Happiness Project here.


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Based in Amsterdam, Roberta graduated from Erasmus University in Health Economics, Policy and Law in 2011. During her academic path, she focused on researching the socio-economic inequalities in health care utilization in the rural areas of India. Over the past year, she has worked at Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, analyzing new disruptive patterns within the global health system -ranging from health systems to start-up business models. Over the past six years she has been working for a Dutch publishing firm as Marketing Manager and Executive Editor. Roberta is passionate about health innovations, disruptive change in developing countries, social media and photography. She is a lover of good food, travels, old movie theaters… and Apple.