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Jennifer Aniston's Happiness Plan

3. Know the value of a splurge... continued...

Aniston's sense of balance has impressed her coworkers: "She absolutely has a body to be envied by us all, but I find it very refreshing to not be able to count ribs, because that's something very prevalent in L.A.," says Ginnifer Goodwin, who costars with Aniston in He's Just Not That Into You. "An actress's diet can be coffee and cigarettes...that is not Jennifer Aniston's regimen."

Aniston isn't afraid to splurge in other ways, too. She knows that little pick-me-up gifts can be good for the soul. Although she is the rare A-list star who has said she "hates to shop," she does get a thrill from snagging some new jewelry now and then. In fact, Aniston launched her favorite jewelry designer, Jennifer Meyer — wife of Spider-Man's Tobey Maguire — to fame by wearing her signature 18-karat-gold leaf pendant in 2006's The Break-Up. When it comes to retail therapy, Aniston clearly knows that it's good to be good to yourself.

4. You've got to have friends.

Jennifer Aniston Good Housekeeping Happiness Plan
Aniston didn't just play a loyal friend on TV: "I've always wanted good friendships, and I was inspired to create them by watching my mom with her girlfriends," she's noted. Aniston has achieved her goal — her friends formed a tight and supportive circle around her during her tough times, and they are there to celebrate the good with her, too.

Even with her crazy-busy schedule, Aniston spends as much face time with her friends as possible. She's often spotted walking on the beach with Courteney Cox and frequently joins Courteney and husband David's Sunday-night dinners. Aniston even finds ways to connect when on the set. Says her friend and makeup artist Angela Levin: "I'll be putting makeup on [her], and she'll grab a little cheek color and put it on me and say, 'You need a little color on your face.' It's really funny. She's a very wonderful girlfriend."

When she can't spend time in person with her pals, Aniston reaches out with thoughtful little gestures. Somehow, she makes these look effortless. Just ask Jake Gyllenhaal, who costarred with her in 2002's critically acclaimed The Good Girl and has been a buddy ever since. "Birthdays, celebrations, or anything, she always thinks of me," he says. "She calls or sends something. She's so busy, and she seems to make time not just for me, but for everybody." Thanks to this thoughtfulness, Aniston has cultivated close friends who are always there for her.

5. Do what you don't know how to do.

Obviously, Aniston's DNA is hard-coded for creativity: She's an actor. But now, on the brink of turning 40, she's challenging herself in new ways. In fall 2006, she codirected the short film Room 10 with friend Andrea Buchanan, and she and producing partner Kristin Hahn recently landed a deal at Universal Pictures for their new company, Echo Films. Aniston's pet project, The Goree Girls, tells the true story of eight Texan inmates who start an all-female country-western band in prison. Aniston plans to work her musical mojo and star in the film. "I can carry a tune, and I was known to throw out a jazz hand from time to time in high school," she has joked.

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