As the author of Saltwater Taffy, happiness secrets for Tweens is the easiest post I could ever write.  The reason is because I know what you are going through.  Being a Tween-Ager can be confusing, challenging, and sometimes…well, for lack of a better word, it can downright be very frustrating.   That being said, there are some amazing happiness secrets for tweens that can help make this time feel more like an adventure than an ongoing nightmare.

Being happy in life takes practice.  Ask you parents.  It is an ongoing choice we all get to make, day in and day out.  No matter what you go through in life……good or bad, there is a way to be happy no matter what.  Your happiness is not a result of something happening to you like getting an A on a test, or winning some contest.  Happiness is a state of mind that is a result of how you think, talk and feel about yourself.

Life will always have ups and downs.  We fail.  We succeed.  We’re popular one day, and then an outcast the next.  But again, the thing for us to always remember is our happiness is a result of how we operate INSIDE.


1. BE HAPPY WITH YOURSELF — Since you are going to be with yourself for the rest of your life, you might as well like yourself, right?   Get off your back and begin to shift your ‘self-talk’ (you know, that voice inside your head that carries on conversations about you, with you and for you) and begin to support YOURSELF in everything you do.   Try not to engage in any kind of self-talk that says you’re stupid, not good enough, smart enough, cool enough, or popular enough at school.   We’ll have none of that, thank you very much.  Excellence begins with thoughts of excellence.  PERIOD.

2. WHATEVER YOU DO, GIVE IT 100%— It’s not what you get out of life, it’s what you GIVE to your life.  Always give your best.  When you do something, think of it as if you had to put your name on it.  You wouldn’t want your name on something ‘so-so’ would you?  The energy of life corresponds to what you give.  GIVE BIG.

3. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU — Happiness is not the job of your parents, teachers, or friends.  Your happiness is up to you.   Angry or happy, how you roll through life begins the second you get out of bed.   View your life as an adventure and not some kind of burden.   Going to school each day should be looked at with an eye towards WONDER, because remember what Forest said: “life is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re gonna get.”

4. SMILE — Smile every chance you get.  Trust me, you’ll feel better.   The next time you’re mad, angry or confused, force yourself to smile.   You’ll be surprised how it can lift the haze of anger.  Oh, and stop trying to be so cool by holding back your laughter or smiling half way.   Remember, the shortest distance between two people is a smile, so try it.  Look into the mirror and smile.

5. THE POWER OF RIGHT NOW — The secret to being happy is being happy.  If you base your happiness on a condition, ie: I’ll be happy when I’m done with school, you are missing out on the RIGHT NOW of your life.  I lost my best friend and step-brother to a car crash when I was 18 years old.  One minute he was here, the next…gone.  Right now is all you have.   Right now is HERE, so stop fantasizing about the future and be happy NOW.  This is a major principal that I wove into the story of Saltwater Taffy.   While the the kids faced obstacles and suffered set-backs from time to time, laughter was always with them on the adventure.

6. LOVE YOUR MIS-TAKES — You are going to make mistakes in life.   You’re human and on top of that, you’re young.   It’s inevitable that you will fall and stumble along the way of growing up.   The great thing about making mistakes is they propel you towards a lesson that you obviously need to learn.   In the movie business, we have different “takes” of a scene.  If the scene doesn’t work, we do another ‘take.’  Take 7.  Take 8.   That’s what your life is.  If you have a mis-‘take,’ do it over.

7. CHOOSE LOVE — What is love?   Ah yes, the grand question of growing up, trying to figure out what love is.  Love is complex, and has a way of hiding from us in life, but look no further.  Love is EVERYTHING surrounding you.   Love is an unconditional force that is here to guide you through life.  Have you ever noticed what it is like to be around someone who is always angry?  It’s no fun, right?  Love is in the opposite direction of anger and hate.  Whenever you feel like you’re lost, angry, confused, or alone, ask yourself, WHAT WOULD LOVE DO?

Growing up is a tough road, so the sooner you can learn to practice thoughts, words, and actions that center around happiness, the better off you’ll be.

1 reply
  1. julie
    julie says:

    i love this article – especially the reframing concept of “mis-takes.” Great to share with my perfectionist.

    Thank you!


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