What is happiness? How can we pass this on to our kids?

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    Recent research suggests that happiness is a combination of how satisfied you are with your life (for example, finding meaning in your work) and how good you feel on a day-to-day basis.
    Think of it like you think about weight: if you eat how you want to and are as active as you want to be, your body will settle at a certain weight. But if you eat less than you’d like or exercise more, your weight will adjust accordingly. If that new diet or exercise regimen becomes part of your everyday life, then you’ll stay at this new weight. If you go back to eating and exercising the way you used to, your weight will return to where it started. So it goes, too, with happiness. You have to train your thoughts and feelings. Try to remember physical and mental health are both important, you cannot have one without the other.  Both need effort to make lasting changes.
    You have the ability to control how you feel—and with consistent practice, you can form life-long habits for a more satisfying and fulfilling life. Try to notice when you feel happy –
    Where are you?
    Who are you with?
    What are you doing?
    Remember when you feel happiest and try to do more of it – whether it is spending time with friends or family, spending time at work or playing sport, painting or reading, get to know what makes YOU happy.

    There are too many people (adults and kids) looking for happiness in the wrong places – looking to make money, trying to hang out with the ‘right’ people, getting the ‘good’ jobs, trying to look ‘perfect’(whatever that is), sound ‘perfect’, dress ‘perfect’ – STOP. Social media has a huge impact on what we and our kids perceive as ‘perfect’, perceive as success, perceive as happiness.

    It is when we stop ‘trying’ so hard to fit into a very insecure idea of what can bring us happiness, that we may finally find true happiness. Personally, I know I have distanced myself from people I find negative and people who tend to spend a lot of time bitching and talking about others, because I know I do not feel good when I am with them. I try to spend as much time as I can with people who raise my energy levels, who make me feel warm inside, make me laugh out loud, make me feel safe and secure. Family for me is huge, for me there is no better time than sitting with my family, watching a movie, all cuddled up together on the couch (don’t get me wrong, this is not a daily occurrence) but I know it makes me happy. Spending time with my girlfriends is high up on my list, as I am lucky to have such great people in my life who understand me (most of the time) and who make me laugh out loud. I am extra lucky that I found a job that I am so passionate about. But, of course there will be days when I may feel sad, upset, alone (although I may be surrounded by people), and on these days I try to acknowledge these feelings and try to do something that will help me to lift my energy again to balance myself.
    We will all feel off balance from time to time – (parenting can push our buttons until we feel we could explode), but we need to understand these feelings are very normal. Whether it is family, jobs, friends or society that can bring us down, we have to acknowledge our feelings, so we can learn to deal with them in a positive way and move on.
    Why are so many people unhappy?

    Maybe it is the long grey Winter we have had.
    Maybe it is the far too busy lives we lead.
    Maybe it is the constant trying to be too much to too many.
    Whatever it is, please find someone to talk to – share your feelings out loud – be truly honest with yourself – get professional help if you need to but do NOT let another day go by without talking to someone and acknowledging your feelings. Remember it is ‘normal’ to feel down, to feel lonely, to feel alone, to feel frustrated, to feel confused – the important part is to talk to someone, get the support you need. You have to look after yourself first if you want to be able to support anyone else in your life.
    There are numerous people out there who can help you. You just need to take that first step – no-one can do that for you.
    Try to pass this message onto your kids as they need to understand what ‘real’ happiness means. What ‘normal’ feelings are and how important it is to learn to acknowledge them and to deal with them in a positive way. Talk to them about your feelings as this shows them it is ok to have negative feelings. If everyone was a bit more honest about their true feelings, it just might normalise so much for so many.
    Sometimes we are constantly running around trying to get fit, work hard, look great, be everything to everyone, and this can be a problem if it means we have no down time, no time to sit and talk to our kids, no time to listen to what is going on in their lives, no time to show them and to tell them how much we love them. Take a few minutes and really think about your life; it is never too late to make changes.
    Are you leading the life you want to lead?
    Are you spending enough time with the people who mean most to you?

    Are you making sure you have balance in your life?
    Do you know what is going on in your child’s life?
    Do you spend a few minutes every day talking to them?

    In my job I see a lot of lonely kids, kids who may have it all materialistically but who crave ‘time’ and ‘understanding’ from those they love the most in the world, those they look up to most in the world, those they mimic most in the world – their parent(s). Don’t underestimate how much they need you, whatever age they are, you are their parent and you will always be the most important person in their lives. Even 5 minutes a day is going to make a huge difference to them, if that 5 minutes is 100% for them and them alone. If your kids see you leading a balanced life, understanding what real happiness is, you are setting them up for a balanced happy life themselves. If they see you making changes to get a more balanced life, you are teaching them the life skill that we can all control our lives and we can all make changes to be in a better place.
    You are their number 1 Role Model.

    “What a child does not see, he can seldom later give.”

    – P D James

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