Isn’t happiness the greatest gift we would like to bestow on anyone especially our children? The Concise Oxford Dictionary definition of happiness is feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.
Let me pose the question then, are you happy? I heard an excellent quote from a friend recently: ‘Happiness is a state of mind, not a condition of circumstance.’ Unfortunately, the author escaped them. That explains why some people seem happy even when the physical circumstances alone would not make them so.
Happiness stems from having a balanced positive outlook on life and psychologists are emphasising that happiness is a state of mind and good habits. To expect a constant everyday complete feeling of happiness is perhaps somewhat unrealistic. We are all human after all, but you can learn to be more content with your life.
An easy way to do this is to write a gratitude list either in a special notebook or on a piece of paper you can pin-up and re-read. This includes all the things you are grateful for in life, the really small ones to the big ones. Even if the kids have played up all day, the weather is hideous or you feel let down there will be something to be grateful for. Remember all the things you have a roof over your head, a job, friends and family. This will also highlight the good things in your life and help develop a positive and more optimistic outlook.
To further help this practise dismissing those negative thoughts. If they come put a different spin on them, so you told the wrong child off, what could you do next time to get the full story before dealing with the behaviour? Making mistakes is part of being human but we can learn from them and move on.
Decide what’s important to you, what do you really value in your life? Think about it. It may be spending time with your family, a particular aspect of your job, time to read, relax, or exercise. Ensure you make time to do more of these important things. Start with small steps, for example go for a walk or call a friend. Don’t overburden yourself; and exhaust yourself by trying to do too much. Plan a date in the diary book a babysitter or organise play dates to give you the time and space you need. Remember the Chinese proverb: ‘The journey of one thousands miles starts with the first step.’
Simply, we make the choice to develop ourselves into happier people by learning to appreciate what we already have and what is really important to us. Children learn by watching what their parents do if we want them to be happy what better way than to set the example of being happy ourselves.