By Maureen Healy, author of Growing Happy Kids: How to Foster Inner Confidence, Success, and Happiness (HCI Books)
The Science of Happiness: Happiness and all emotional health start with having a healthy brain. Neuroscientists all say that so much of our brain’s development is as a result of our choices in eating well, sleeping enough, exercise, positive thinking and making smart choices. By making smart “brain choices” you create the foundation for your happiest life.
How Helping Others Makes You Happier: Science and spirituality both show that by helping others you feel happier. It doesn’t matter if you do something “small” like walking a sick neighbor’s dog or something “bigger” like organizing a fundraiser for someone who needs a little extra help. The mere effort of helping others actually makes you happier.
Avoid the Blank: (I’ll be happy when ____): Every parent, adult and child at some point gets caught up in thinking that I’ll be happy when (fill in the blank). The blank is the problem. You may have filled it in when my husband vacuums the house, the kids pick up the toys from the floor or someone besides me walks the dog. This type of happiness always leads to disappointment so Maureen shares her wit and wisdom on where real happiness comes from (Hint, Hint: It’s not from filling in the blank!).
Happy Kids have Rich Inner Lives: Science shows that children find their happiness from something inside of them. It is not connected to their socio-economic status, their parents’ marital status or where they live. Happier kids are reported to feel more grateful, generous and spiritual than their unhappy counterparts.
Here are 7 Keys to Raise Stronger and Happier Kids Today:
Build Confidence Daily (even for 5 minutes!): It is the everyday things we do with our children that help them feel stronger, and happier no matter what. So you may say affirmations together on the way to school (they are captive here!) or read a bedtime story every night that teaches about your child’s power within — the point is that small things done over and over again really build your child’s sense of strength.
Get Them Moving: Children need to move their bodies and get their energy released in a healthy way. Because physical activity, eating right, and a good night’s rest are the biological basis of your child’s emerging sense of self-confidence. Also, be sure they do something they love from making a garden to becoming a soccer star. (Let them pick it!)
Sign Them Up for 1 Weekly Confidence Building Activity: Your child’s weekly confidence building activity may be a sport like soccer or something else like singing lessons. Most importantly, they need to see themselves succeed (really important) and also have a regular way to see themselves master a task thus building outer then inner confidence.
See Success Together (visualize, affirm, meditate, pray, and sing): Perhaps it is doing affirmations together like “I love me” and “I am amazing in every way” or doing a guided meditation, singing a song that sparks them up or drawing a vision board. Let your creativity loose so you both become more self-assured. Have fun with this!!!
Get Inspired: Do something inspiring together whether it is going to see magnificent waterfalls, flying a new kite on the beach or learning hula-hooping. By doing something that lights your child up, they learn how to build a new skill and you’ll see their confidence soar.
Create an Uplifting Space: Decorate your child’s space so they see happy photos of themselves, their awards displayed, goals (or vision board) hung up and they have their favorite things all around them. By making the space feel good to your child they’ll realize this world is supporting them, their dreams can come true and everyone wants to see them succeed. (Feng Shui can help too!)
Play More: Happier children know the importance of play whether they are outdoors helping their parents’ garden or playing tag with their peers! So the more you help your child build skills, see their power within and play in their daily lives the happier they’ll be. I promise.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Maureen Healy is a children’s emotional health expert with more than 20 years of global experience. She writes a popular blog for Psychology Today, and the PBS Series, This Emotional Life. Her work has been featured on ABC, NBC, the CW and in popular magazines like Spirituality & Health and
Parenting, too. Maureen also uniquely brings together western science and eastern wisdom to help any adult raise happier kids today. More info: www.growinghappykids.com.