February 12, 2010

The Happiness Project's lessons for Valentine's Day

Posted: 01:38 PM ET

By Gretchen Rubin, LKL Guest Blogger

Valentine’s Day always reminds me to try harder with my husband – to do what I can to keep a tender, thoughtful, romantic atmosphere in our marriage. It’s easier said than done!

One of the most helpful things I’ve learned in my happiness research is that although we think that we act because of the way we feel, in fact, we often feel because of the way we act.

As a result, one of my Twelve Personal Commandments is to “act the way I want to feel.” Improbable as it may sound, it really works. Try it. If you don’t like the way you’re feeling, act as you’d like to feel - and your feelings will change. Like magic.

William James sums up the phenomenon nicely: “Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.”

So one of the ways I make myself feel more tender and romantic toward my husband is to act that way. By acting very loving, I boost my feelings of love and tenderness.

The other day, for example, on my way to a meeting, I happened to walk by my husband’s office building. I called him on my cell phone.

“Hey, look out your window,” I said. “I’m standing on the steps of St. Bartholomew’s Church. Do you see me waving at you?”

“Yes, I see you! I’m waving back!” he answered.

I felt a little self-conscious, waving up at a skyscraper as pedestrians gave me curious looks, but of course, in New York City, I’d have to do something far quirkier than that to make anyone stare.

I’m sure my husband thought it was sweet of me to wave to him – and just as important, making that silly, affectionate gesture filled me with loving feelings toward him that persisted for hours.

Gretchen Rubin is a best-selling writer whose new book, The Happiness Project, is an account of the year she spent test-driving studies and theories about how to be happier.

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Joe G. (Illinois)   February 12th, 2010 5:56 pm ET

Women don’t want romance. The just want to go through the motions of romance “As their shallow hearts perceived it” because they don’t have the goods. Like practically every woman who weds wants a White Wedding Dress, a big spectacular wedding, a big diamond on her finger, etc, etc, etc. Fact is that if women were to “Act the way they want to feel” than they ought to radicalize and act like God Fearing Christians who care about their “To be future husbands and kids.”

DR GARY   February 12th, 2010 6:55 pm ET

Joe G. (Illinois) Interestering thought. How sad but sometime what you're saying is true.
I. Samual 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

Theresa   February 12th, 2010 8:07 pm ET

@Joe G-I think you need to meet a new group of women. If I talked like you then I would say all men only want sex & to abuse them . Actually Joe it's women who think more with their emotions. Which is the gender that has poor communication skills when it comes anything emotional?

LOGICAL Dave W. Dawson   February 12th, 2010 8:41 pm ET

You all wanted the DISCIPLINED APPROACH to Valentine's Day.
You've got the DISCIPLINED APPROACH to Valentine's Day.
Valentine's Day for what it's worth.
Sex is ruled out because Courtship & Marriage must be intended.
Good Christian values INSIST.

michael armstrong sr. TX.   February 12th, 2010 10:28 pm ET

Happy Valentines day Larry your not pretty but your cool .

michael armstrong sr. TX.   February 12th, 2010 10:39 pm ET

Larry you lucky dog all foure of those pretty ladys has your undevided attention you old hot dog .

michael armstrong sr. TX.   February 12th, 2010 10:48 pm ET

Do you see what happens when you have too many lady's Larry it gets out of control like a ball and chain .

michael armstrong sr. TX.   February 12th, 2010 10:51 pm ET

Instead of throwing tea in the ocean lets throw Sara in the ocean .

michael armstrong sr. TX.   February 12th, 2010 10:58 pm ET

The best way to see is with your hands .

michael armstrong sr. TX.   February 12th, 2010 10:59 pm ET

Magic Fingers .

Privacy   February 12th, 2010 11:53 pm ET

LENDERS PROCESSING SERVICE asset manager for WASHINGTON MUTUAL owned by JP MORGAN CHASE calls US TAXPAYERS & WORKERS “WEASELS” and attempts to EXTORT and STEAL thousands from party seeking to purchase foreclosed home. 2-12-10 Jacksonville FL

Gerald Jolly   February 13th, 2010 8:09 pm ET

@ Joe G Illinois and ?? Dr. Gary??

So So So funny, two twirps trying to expound on things that require a little intellect.

FUNY FUNNY, but also so very SAD SAD

I bet either of you have ever had a "REAL" lady in your life.

Do either of you "KISSY THE PISSY"???

DR GARY   February 13th, 2010 9:13 pm ET

Gerald Jolly you sound like a sick mentally deranged man who doesn’t know how to keep a lady or a wife. You sound like a multiplied looser! Not just a looser. A real man can keep the same wife for a lifetime and have a marriage that is solid. (I know I have that. To God I give the Glory!) You don’t appear to know much about happiness with yourself and certainly don’t know how to have lasting relationships that make a difference your own life and the lives of others . . . . I WILL NOT copy/paste your comment. You don’t even know how to type or spell. Gerald Jolly says HE IS SO FUNNY, FUNNY but also so very SAD, SAD. I really feel sorry for you. You sound like a misribally sad person. That is sad. We’ve known people like you. By the way Gerald, Happy V.D. (Valentine’s Day)

LOGICAL Dave W. Dawson   February 14th, 2010 7:27 pm ET

The Mafia are besotted by FALSE Prophecy, so that makes them immediately melancholy.
The Mafia are CRIMINAL, so GOOD Health is NOT on their side.
And GOOD words of SELF-DEFENCE to use to prevent a Valentine's massacre are;
Enjoy the Fruits of Innocence.
OH KINDRED LOGIC is your Valentine Day key.

Dodie   February 14th, 2010 9:16 pm ET

@ everyone

Wishing all a happy Valentine's Day! May your love and romance be a healing part of your life

LOGICAL Dave W. Dawson   February 15th, 2010 8:34 am ET

It's a good job the Church taught us how to handle THE UNCIVILIZED.
The Church get to keep THE CIVILIZED I gather.
And from a Victim's point of view, the ONLY thing that goes around & comes around SUCCESSFULLY is WOMEN'S INTUITION.
It's so easy to see where men are heading if they RESIST WOMEN'S INTUITION.
Selecting someone because they can MANAGE SUCCESSFULLY & in Business too is easier said than done.
And when SUCCESSFUL MANAGEMENT realises that it's TOTALLY DEPENDANT on WOMEN'S INTUITION, we'll realise that it's MISMANAGEMENT that's FLAWED.
You will now see FATAL evidence of what happens when MISMANAGING MEN stay in the closet.
Do you recognise their CLOSET "FRIENDS" telling them to stay in the closet?
It's very straightforward to keep someone in the closet & force them to destroy themselves.
They only need just enough discouragement & they cause their Life, Wife, Family, Job, Community & Nation suffer.
The ENEMY destroying from within has been identified & the CLOSET KILLERS are UNPATRIOTIC.
Those being held back in the closet are suffering DEATH-BY-INDOCTRINATION & it's not a pretty sight(site) Larry.

Vance Jones   February 16th, 2010 10:05 pm ET

Dear Mr. maher, don't you think the American system with its special inrterests groups is hopelessly corrupt and must be replaced by a referendum dominated system which is true democracy?

bud coate   February 17th, 2010 12:04 am ET

I would like to see Washington put aside thier peety differences and maybe consentrate on helping mr.obama straighten out the mess we find our selves in middle of.Just think if every time we elected a new president they could pick up where where the previous party was at and continue instead of wasting billions $. I DO NOT CARE WHAT YOUR POLITICS ARE YOU WORK FOR ME AND MY FELLOW AMERICANS SO DO YOUR JOB FOR CHANGE. We need to open up our steel mills and keep the china imports out start making our own steel and textiles and anything else that we used to make before we made china our life line. People in ..this country forgot what it means to work for a fair wage.Only people in trouble with mortages,credit cards get help lets not forget gm.Only in America people who go to work everyday try to do everything correct they are the people who get punished everyday some incentive. I paid for my own health care my whole adult life I do not need some politician to tell me how to fix my insurance. Iwould love to have a debate with mr. obama i believe he needs my help ,i also believe their are a lot good ideas out there. GOD BLESS AMERICA. THIS IS STILLTHE GREATEST COUNTRY ON THE PLANET !!

Ada Almering   February 17th, 2010 1:32 am ET

Bill Maher ponticates as though he were the Almighty. As an avowed
atheist, he should cease his pontification.

Haiti is 70 miles away, a neighbor in our hemisphere. The Congo
is terrible.. How does Bill propose that the Congo should be
saved. Since he is so brilliant, let him hold forth on the Congo.

Aussiebob   February 17th, 2010 6:42 am ET

As an Aussie Larry I can understand why CNN has lost so many viewers this year. What a tough and intriguing question you asked Bill Mahers a tough question: Do you think that Health care is socialist and bad for the country? Wows ask a socialist if it is bad I was on my seat waiting to hear his answer. Every question you asked I could have told you his answer before he gave it. Man the hate that comes out of his mouth is a disgrace and there are many things to complain about John McCain but to talk about him crashing planes and for you to laugh man what a weird comic Bill is. I am glad though to see the crazy left not take Sarah Palin and the tea party serious as they did with Sen Brown.
If Bills version of an America is hateful and you must spew out garbage against all who think opposite to you then thank goodness he is in the minority and that is why he is on CNN.
Boy all the questions he got on your show how weak I thought the media were given Pres Obama questions they were that weak.
Cnn is boring and that is a pity as I think when it comes to disasters like the tsunami and Hatti and so on you do a great job but after that you are so partisan you have to be a liberal to watch.
Thank goodness for FOX I watch it each night and I do get a Fair and Balanced and interesting points from all sides not as portrayed from the other media.

DR GARY   February 17th, 2010 8:49 am ET

America is still the greatest nation in the world. How do I know? Everyone from around the world comes here for their Education. American students who can’t make it academically in our collages, i.e., medicine etc. go to Mexico or some other nation who’s standards are lower. Even the nations who want to see the West destroyed send their sorry butt nuts here to be educated. Why? America is the best. America is supreme over every other nation! The problem is we’ve opened our doors to the wrong nations. Every nation that wants to see America destroyed they should not even be allowed to travel to America for vacation. No Visas honored from those nations. We need to go back to the basics as to what our Nation was founded on! Stop hobnobbing with the demonic nations. The God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob is the God our nation was founded upon. People of, Nancy Pelosi, Obama and their followers are out to bankrupt our Nation, financially, morally and Spiritually. They are wolves in sheep clothing. We had better have CHANGE. Change them out. I voted for him because McCain was the same level and God knows we had enough of the Bush. Bushes are good for one thing and that is for your dog to pea on. Obama has brought change in the Bush adminstration. Taken the country further into debt, added more troops to fight in a war where all throughout history they kill their own family members. Do you thank they are going to change culture? STUPID, NO! Yes Obama’s brought more change. Raised the numbers of American men and women loosing their lives and raised the numbers of men and women coming home maimed forever only to give them poor care in many cases. Yes that is all change. Yes more change. All these stupid bail outs where the present Administration has not given conditions. Such as, All the CEO’s removed and new Board members reappointed to see that the same old does not happen again. These are the people running our Nation. They said they couldn’t control it. Then can you tell me why that in school cafeterias in America the following happens. If a student doesn’t want his milk or something on his tray and another kid wants it. Staff can not give it to them they have to throw it in the TRASH because if their caught, THEY CAN HAVE THEIR FEDERAL FUNDING TAKEN AWAY. AGAIN, A DISPLAY OF STUPIDITY. POINT BEING. If they have watchdogs watching this, why not the bailouts? Could it be you scratch my back and I scratch yours? Who knows? But lets not spend another billion dollars so Mrs. Obama “FAT KID CAMPAIGN.” I HOPE YOUR NOT A SUCKER FALLING FOR THE FAT KID PLAN.” (Mrs. Obama and the man for the hour with the power bow to nations below us. IMPEACHMENT IS WHAT WE NEED!

DR GARY   February 17th, 2010 8:54 am ET


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