Three Ways to Raise Happy People
Surprising tips on setting kiddos up for a lifetime of happiness … and success (In that order).
2. Make Work into Play
We all have to do things we don’t want to in life (boring meetings, dishes, etc.), but if we approach those things with a positive objective, or as connected to what’s more meaningful to us, we won’t get bogged down by negativity. How we look at what we do matters. Achor’s research shows that we don’t have to be martyrs to be successful in life, so why not make our work more fun?
I try to put this into practice with Kaspar by literally turning work into play. If I ask him to clean up his toys, he’ll refuse. But if I suggest we come up with a game to make it more fun—or, better yet, ask him for ideas on how it can be a game (he might suggest that we race, or see who can clean up the most toys in a certain amount of time)—he loves it. Over time, he’s also learned to stop and consider how he can approach things he doesn’t want to do in a way that will be enjoyable, rather than complaining (This makes for a much happier mommy, too).
3. Raise the Baseline
Scientists used to think our happiness was genetically wired, but have since discovered that this isn’t so. There are proven ways to elevate our own baseline happiness levels. These include: meditation, finding something to look forward to, committing conscious acts of kindness, infusing positivity into our surroundings, exercising, spending money on experiences (rather than things), and using our strengths (i.e. being who we are).
Because we control so much of our kids’ surroundings, schedules and lives, we can take a look at each item on this list and find a way to work on it for, and with, them. Focus on one item each week, or even each month: can you develop a meditation practice with your children (Click here for a good one)? Is there a trip coming up that you can talk about and plan for together? Why not bring some flowers—and happiness—to an elderly neighbor? Bear the above list in mind as you make decisions about how to spend your money or organize your time so that you and your children become happier people. This is a worthy end in itself, but if you’re concerned with outcomes, you can trust what the research clearly shows: success, and all kinds of other good things, will naturally follow where happiness leads.
How do you help your children to develop happy habits?
PS. Intrigued by Achor’s research and ideas, and how they relate to parenting? He’s currently working with Amy Blankson to translate this research into the parenting realm with their concept of Dolphin Parenting. Click here to find out more!
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