Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, answers reader’s questions – your questions – on this multi-series post on her Happiness Project. This page contains questions from my readers addressed to Gretchen Rubin. To see Gretchen’s answers, go to Happiness Project Part 1 and Happiness Project Part 2.
Be sure to read our other interviews in our leadership series.
Comment by Porter on February 10, 2010 @ 12:59 pm
Hi, Gretchen –
There is a debate on whether humans are truly altruistic. What are your thoughts on altruism, and how does it relate to the feeling of happiness that we get in doing something for others.
My Second Splendid Truth is:
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. These do not work in opposition, but create a virtuous circle.
Comment by Manny Osvaldo on February 10, 2010 @ 1:49 pm
I live in a humble part of Peru in South America. Why is it that poor people seem happier than people who have money? We are always smiling but rich people in Hollywood seem sad.
Actually, studies show that people who have more money are happier. Of course, a person can be happy with little money, but it does seem to help. No studies have been done about Hollywood folks. They may be their own separate category!
Comment by Amy Wilson on February 10, 2010 @ 2:07 pm
What’s your advice for someone who has clinical depression? It seems trite to say “just be happy”.
I agree. I distinguish among happiness, unhappiness, and depression. Depression is a serious, urgent condition that requires major intervention by experts.
Comment by Naveen Patel on February 10, 2010 @ 2:11 pm
The Buddha said that we are the cause of our own suffering. Do you agree? If so, it follows that only we can make ourselves suffer less. But does “suffer less” mean the same thing as “happy”?
To be happy, in my view – and I’m not a Buddhist — it’s not enough just to experience an absence of suffering. A person must also have sources of joy, contentment, etc. Attachment brings suffering, true, but it also brings great happiness.