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Find Your Happy Place

10 Things That Make You Feel Good Fast

1. Own at least two bubble machines. There is nothing more fun than turning on a bubble machine in my front yard — friends, neighbors, even strangers stop and want to play. One time, a mother and her two young children walked by my house. They couldn't see me, but I overheard the mom say to her kids, “Oh, look! This is the house of the lady who has a bubble machine. That lady is so cool!"

2. Create your own traditions. Why eat Thanksgiving dinner just once a year? Everyone always says, “We should do this more often.” So, we do it at my house three times annually: turkey with all the trimmings, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberries, coleslaw, skunk beans, shrimp salad, deviled eggs, green beans jazzed with tomatoes, cherry and pumpkin pie with whipped cream — all served on my antique turkey dinner plates.

3. Bake chocolate chip cookies and give them away to a stranger — just because. When you step out of your comfort zone, you can discover some of the most precious moments of your life. The most memorable gift is unexpected. When I hand someone a bag of cookies, the smile on their face is amazing. We talk and laugh, and it's a moment that neither of us will ever forget.

4. Make fun of yourself. The next time something embarrassing happens, don't hide it. I was at a New Year's Eve party — brand new friends, brand new black velvet dress. But when I looked down at the white rug in the bathroom, pieces of my dress covered the floor. When I went back into the kitchen, there was my dress — everywhere. I was shedding. How does a girl gracefully clean her dress off the floor, without folks noticing? Take it from me, it's tricky. But if you very carefully shuffle your foot along the floor, while chatting with other party guests along the way, you can gather up enough of your dress to return it to the store the next day. At least it worked for me.

5. Be your own biggest and loudest cheerleader. I wrote myself a letter, listing my good qualities and why I would be a great catch, if someone were looking for a good friend. At first, it felt shameful to do a little bragging. But if I don't appreciate myself, how can I expect other folks to see the wonderful things inside of me?

6. Don't let the boogeyman hang out underneath your bed. Stop the “what ifs” in their tracks: If I'm going to tangle with the boogeyman at 3 a.m., I need to practice (similar to the fire drills we used to do in school, when the building wasn't on fire). When fear and anxiety strike, I recite this simple sentence as the antidote: “Somebody should have told me about this when I was a kid.” This mantra doesn't have anything to do with my fear, but it stops my worrying cycle, because I've rehearsed it before the crisis and assigned it the job of interrupting fearful thinking.

7. Let go of the old, so you can make room for something new. I live in a 1926 historical home. This sounds romantic, and it is, until you need to find a place to store something. With only four tiny closets and no basement, everything has its place — literally. My maxim is: “If I buy something new, something old has to go.” It's a formula that helps keep my life in balance, too, because it forces me to ask the question, “What's really important to me?"

8. Embrace the quirks in your personality. I've discovered I'm a little strange — stranger than the average Suzanne. There are many wacky things about my personality, and sometimes, I consider chasing them away. But then I recall the words Leonard Cohen so mindfully wrote, “There's a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.” So, even though some people might consider the peculiar parts of me “cracks” in my personality, in my case, that light coming in makes me creative, and, I think, a pretty interesting person.

9. Pass somebody a note. Letting a friend know that you're thinking about them will bring a smile to their face — and yours. Frequently, I'll send a spur-of-the-moment email to a friend saying something like, "I saw a gorgeous blue shirt when I was shopping yesterday. It reminded me of the one you were wearing the last time we had lunch together. Blue is definitely your color — wear it more often!" I admit, I do feel a bit strange hitting the send key after drafting one of my "little nothing" notes. But writing them brings a smile to my face, and I know reading them will do the same for my friends.

10. It's okay to break the rules sometimes. A rule in my house growing up was: “If you start something, you have to finish it.” Consequently, I only checked out thin books from the library. But now I'm all grown up, so if I'm not loving a book, I just stop reading. If I desperately want to find out "whodunit," I give myself permission to skip over parts of the story and speed read to “The End.” Dog-eared pages, writing notes in margins — if the book belongs to me, why not? No rules. I simply read for what I need at the moment, and enjoy losing myself in the fun of it.

For more from Suzanne Beecher, visit her website here.

PRE-ORDER NOW: Muffins and Mayhem: Recipes for a Happy (If Disorderly) Life by Suzanne Beecher, $25

  • Beecher's book is available for pre-order on Amazon.com

    Courtesy of Touchstone
Find Your Happy Place
10 Things That Make You Feel Good Fast
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