Awhile back I was standing in line at the library when a book spine with a big smiley face cookie caught my eye (I love black and whites, hence the attraction). Turns out the book was Happy At Last: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Finding Joy, by Richard O’Connor. It’s a snappy little primer on minimizing the unnecessary misery we create for ourselves so we can maximize the upside, with a very simple formula to do that: 30 minutes each of exercise and meditation daily. Plus before going to bed, thinking of three things that made you happy that day or that you’re grateful for. O’Connor suggests doing this with your spouse–you’ll learn some amazing stuff about each other—but since I’m a single mom I started doing it with my 10 year old. And we’re learning a lot about each other. Sure, I figured she’d love going to the Apple store on a class trip (yes, she’s already a tech freak), but who knew she’d say “Snuggling together on the sofa watching the Next Food Network Star with you, mom”? It’s pure quality time, a super de-stresser, and a good preemptive move to the tween/teen sass, moodiness and madness I know I’ll soon be in for.