Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Smile When You Wake Up

Last year, I had the privilege of having a weekly "girls' night out" with some of my dear friends. It was one of most effective ways of boosting my happiness that I have ever experienced, and now that I have moved, I miss it so much! One of my dear friends that started these "girls' nights" with me is Lauren Earl Carter. Lauren is a consistently sweet and cheerful person who also happens to have the most adorable English accent you've ever heard. (I had a friend crush on her from the moment I met her and was so pleased to become her friend!) Anyway, she's been through some pretty yucky struggles since she moved back to America recently...from regular old homesickness to immigration issues to applying and getting funding for grad school (she's going to be a really exceptional social worker one day!), to figuring out how to juggle a job and school and life as a newlywed. The amazing thing about Lauren to me, though, is that throughout all her hectic schedule and being thousands of miles from her family, she maintains a positive and encouraging spirit. She is one of those people that leaves you feeling energized and happy!

I admit it--I'm jealous! And so I wanted to learn how she does it. So...

Here are a few of her answers to some of my happiness questions:

1. How do you cheer yourself up when you're feeling blue?
Baking cakes and pies - especially baking the things my mother used to make for me as a child - cheer's me up whenever I'm feeling bad! But for a quicker solution, a vanilla chia tea also does the job!

2. What have been the happiest experiences of your life so far?
a. Seeing how proud my dad was of me when I graduated from University.

b. Being married. It's been such a wonderful experience so far, and I love the ways my husband can continually surprise me, and realizing that we still have so much more to learn about each other.

c. Being in graduate school. As hard as it is, training to be in a career that you love is so rewarding and fulfilling each day!

3. What is something small that you do regularly that makes you happier?
When I was growing up, I was told that if I smiled as soon as I woke up in the morning, I would smile for the rest of the day. That's my preventative measure for waking up on the wrong side of the bed!

So now we know her secret...smiling and vanilla chai tea! I do think that just smiling can lift my spirits. What a good idea to smile first thing each day. I'm going to try it this week. Of course, I'm already on vacation with my family, so I'm not sure how much happier I can get, but it's worth a shot!

What's your favorite comfort food?


  1. I think that I have a friend crush on Lauren too. Wish that I could've gotten to know her better before rushing off to ORegon to be with my love.
    I was reading your post thinking, every week? Wow! Then I realized that this was totally something that I had partaken in, though sporadically. Luckily I have plugged into a GNO here but it's only once a month, so I didn't realize how blessed that we were to have that available every week to be able to get together with our girls.....And to have so many local friends.

  2. I know! What a gift it was to have such a wonderful group of genuine friends in Athens! I don't know if I'll ever meet so many amazing folks in one town again. :( Very cool that you already have a new GNO! I'm working on it, but it's slowgoing so far.

  3. An awesome friend gave me "Hugs for Friends, Book 2" recently. The book, of course, discussed friendships. Khalil Gibran is quoted saying, "In the sweetness of friendship, let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed." Whether it be GNO or coffee hour or Wednesday night supper, time to decompress with true friends is so valuable!

  4. Progress! I asked a cool mom of one of Flana's classmates out for coffee, and we're going to go sometime soon! I'm jealous of your wednesday nites, Jess!