> Skip to content

Q&A  •  14 September 2020


Turia Pitt Q&A

The inspirational author on gratefulness, savouring, self-love and getting through tough times.

What’s something that you’re grateful for?
I like to think of three things I’m grateful for every morning. I try not to pick the same things, otherwise it becomes Another Thing To Do rather than something joyous! So I’ll try and think of a person I’m grateful to, an opportunity I have, something great that happened yesterday, and something simple. So today, it’s my girlfriend, who I chatted with in the surf. The opportunity was I had an interview today for my book on happiness. Something great that happened yesterday – the moon! It was incredible! I watched it on the balcony with my son.

What's something that you’re savouring?
Gah! Hasn’t corona been a lesson for all of us in the importance of savouring in the small moments? With small delightful (and noisy and relentless) children, the more I savour and relish in the moment to moment, the more I enjoy them.

What are you anticipating: Small? Medium? Big?
Small – my nephew is turning one this weekend.

Medium – I am jazzing up our balcony (less toy cars and spades and buckets, more lounges and soft furnishings).

Big – would love to go to Moorea and do the marathon over there. One day!

One thing you do as part of your morning routine?
Look, the best tip I have here people is actually something I don’t do – I don’t look at my phone! As soon as I look at my phone, I get sucked into a digital vortex of emails and calendar notifications and Instagram stories… and then all of a sudden, my focus is on everyone else. A new day is like a whiteboard that’s been expunged of all the whiteboard marker, fresh and clean and beseeching you to scribble all over it.

A quick fix to improve zest (energy)?
Boringly, the best way to get zestier is to eat better, move more, get enough sleep. For a quick fix though, try doing ten square breaths. What’s a square breath? Good question. Here’s how you do it: rest your hands on your belly, breath in long and slow and deep so that you can feel your belly expanding with the air. Inhale like this for five seconds. Hold your breath for five seconds. Exhale slowly through your nose for five seconds. Hold for five seconds. Repeat.

Something kind you’ve done lately?
Gah! It’s embarrassing but I had to really think about this one. Um, I helped organise a girlfriend’s baby shower two weeks ago. And then today, a woman dropped her mail and I picked it up for her.

One way to keep your inner critic in check?
Definitely speak to yourself like you’d speak to a best mate. You wouldn’t say to a best mate, 'you’re an idiot, you always stuff things up'. You’d probably say, 'mate, it’s all good, you made a mistake, it happens, you’re a human, let’s watch reruns of Seinfield and have a laugh'.

A way to generate some self-love?
I think firstly, accepting that the road to self-love is rocky and uneven, and that we can love ourselves most of the time but still be a work in progress!

(Huh. Just like happiness).

And secondly, accepting that the road to self-love involves a lot of work. For me, the ‘work’ was forcing myself not to run away when the postman came to the front door. The ‘work’ was walking around my block without my mask on. The 'work' was surrounding myself with people who made me feel good about being me. The 'work' was going to a psychologist every week.

One way to improve a relationship?
Relationships are hard. If you do have a wonderful partner, as wonderful as they are, pleaseeeee don’t forget... you! Yes, glorious you! The you that adores soft-sand jogging, playing Bananagrams and volunteering at the homeless shelter. Don’t ditch your life because of (or for) your wonderful partner. You need a life outside of your partner. You need your own hobbies, you need your own social circles. It’s okay to cross over, but carve out your own space in your life.

One way to spend your money to be happier?
One of the proven ways of spending money to increase our happiness is spending it on time. In other words, buy time, not a Rolex. What does this mean in the real world? Things like spending money on a house cleaner, lawn care or grocery delivery.

What’s your purpose? What are you interested in?
Lots of things! My family. Running. Surfing. Geology. Writing. I tend to forget about 'finding my purpose' and focus on things that I like to spend time doing.

A tip for getting through hard times?
Firstly, acknowledge it. A hard time is a hard time no matter how hard you try and spin it. And secondly, not to be that person, but a little perspective does help. Holocaust survivor Eddie Jaku’s book The Happiest Man on Earth is brilliant. So is Sam Bailey’s Head Over Heels (the book I read constantly in my recovery). Watch the movies Touching the Void and The Intouchables. And look, not to be that person again, but the books I’ve written are pretty good too! Happy is my latest book, and contains a lot of advice for building happiness even through the hardest times.

One way you like to have fun?
Bushwalking. Wait, bushwalking and looking at geology. Getting goosebumps thinking about it haha.

A goal you’re working towards at the moment?
Hahaha getting Happy out into the world and into the hands of as many people as I can!

Feature Title

Happy (and other ridiculous aspirations)
Happiness. Everyone wants more of it. But can you actually get happier? Inspirational Australian Turia Pitt dives into this idea, interviewing high-profile athletes, comedians, scientists and world experts to explore how everything from money to our relationships has an impact on how happy we can be.
Read more

More features

See all
Five books to celebrate International Day of Happiness

Embrace your happiness with a list of books that will give you hope in a world facing unprecedented challenges.

The very best morning routine

Turia Pitt on how to make early starts work for you.  

Stock your school library with these wonderful books

26 books for school libraries that students will love.

Let us tell you a story

Australian authors and personalities read some of our favourite picture books.

The best new books for high school students

Keep the classroom engaged with these new books for teens.

Melissa Doyle shares the biggest lesson she learned while writing new book

We talked with Melissa Doyle about her new book, 15 Seconds of Brave. She told us about her writing set-up, who she’d love to read the book, and the difference between telling a story on page versus on-screen.

Mike Carlton shares the book that inspired his love of naval history

Mike Carlton shares his favourite historic naval novel, the disgusting meal he learned about while writing The Scrap Iron Flotilla and more.

QUIZ: Which Aussie dog are you?

Take this fun quiz to find out which amazing Aussie dog you’re most like.

How becoming parents inspired YouTube stars to write a children's book

We caught up with Jessica and Stephen Parry-Valentine to learn about their new book, van life, travelling with a baby and the destinations they recommend everyone adds to their bucket list.

Memoir Madness: 5 memoirs to dig into this month

See some of the best books – old and new – that recount the real lives of influential people.

Everything you need to know about David Attenborough

All about Sir David Attenborough. Find out his age, birthplace, how many documentaries he has made and more.

QUIZ: What type of investor are you?

Find out what type of investor you are, thanks to this helpful quiz from Investing with She's on the Money.

Looking for more Q&As?

See all Q&As