Who wouldn’t want to be happy? When author Niel Pasricha wrote a guide on how to “hack” happiness, it was only a matter of time before someone would a look at that guide and see how it could apply to the biggest job life has to offer: parenting.
The guide contains the collective wisdom of hundreds of positive psychologists, dozens of Fortune 500 CEOs, and thousands of personal interviews. Happiness is something every parent deserves. So get ready to discover some pretty profound, potentially life-changing ways to see the world and hopefully jump-start happiness.
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10 Recognize When Things Are Off
There is no easy way to put it: parenting is a challenge. Some days are spent wrestling with the struggle between being present with your kid and being too tired to provide that care. For Pasricha, when he is feeling “off” and as if he is not being his best self, he believes that the best thing to do is to acknowledge it and make sure his spouse is aware of it too.
He also explains that one should acknowledge that it is just a feeling and eventually we’ll be back to feeling like our normal selves. We are all entitled to a few off days, but the bigger issues come from when we allow ourselves to get stuck in that negative mindset.
9 Spend Your Time Wisely
Time is the most valuable thing any human can offer because it can never be replaced. Time is not unlimited and once it’s gone… it is gone. “The first and last thing you have each day is time with your kids,” says Pasricha. And he’s right.
Life is all about going back to giving thanks to and appreciating what you already have. Because it truly is enough and we are exactly where we need to be, right now at this very moment. Time is a finite resource, so the best thing that we can do with it is to spend it with our loved ones.
8 Break The Ritual, Occasionally
Being a good parent can often mean being really good at maintaining routine and structure in the home. But sometimes a strict routine can lead to one falling into a rut and such things can have negative consequences on one’s mood and happiness.
Project Happiness, a non-profit organization that promotes happiness and science in daily life suggests breaking the ritual to achieve greater happiness. This doesn’t mean throw out the calendar and forget school pickups, but rather to just from the routine every now and again to keep things fresh.
7 Dream Big
As parents, we dedicate so much of our time to helping our children realize their dreams. We work incredibly hard to make sure they first have the capacity to dream and in doing so, we often end up neglecting our own dreams and goals.
Just because we become parents does not mean that our capacity to dream has gone away. Dream big and set examples that your children can be proud of. Don’t lose yourself in your family role or put those dreams off until your children are grown. Your children will be inspired by watching you fighting for your own goals.
6 20 Minute Pick-Me-Up
Think about 3 things that both make you happy and that you will be able to do in a 20-minute time slot. Some popular examples include reading, writing, or watching some trashy reality television. Sometimes when we’re just not feeling our best, we just need a little 20 minute pick-me-up.
20 Minutes can really be all it takes to turn one’s days around. So setting out three go-to things that relieve that down in the dumps feeling can help smooth parenting life out a lot. Pasricha uses techniques like writing down things that he’s thankful for or even taking a 20-minute walk.
5 Keep Track Of Each Other
It can be very easy to lose oneself in the hustle and bustle of one’s daily life and, by consequence, end up missing some of the most important moments in your child’s life. Making the active choice to spend your free time with your family, even if such things need to be scheduled, can make one so much happier; according to Pasricha.
Related: 10 Ways To Help Teething Pains
Consider writing out the name of every member of your family (with yours beside them) and scheduling periods of time for each week that you and that person will bond with none but each other. This will ensure that each member of the family gets adequate bonding time with each parent. Don’t’ forget to schedule time for yourself.
4 Recognize That You’ve Already Won The Lottery
In a world where more is always equated with better, one can easily lose sight of the bounty before them by constantly searching for the next thing. But turning happiness into a finish line can actually make it impossible for one to achieve.
According to an extract of Pasricha’s book, more isn’t always better and you already have everything you need in life, if you only stop and look around instead of ahead. Although it may not always feel that way with a screaming toddler, you are enough, you are doing enough, he or she is getting enough. Smile and be happy.
3 Just Do It
Parenthood can be filled with unknowns and it can be really unsettling (even for the most confident of parents) to go off the beaten path and stick to what they believe in when everyone else seems to be just following the tide. If there is something you want to do for yourself or your family, just do it and do not worry about what anyone else is doing or thinking.
“Motivation doesn’t cause action. Action causes motivation. Even if you fail, it will at least teach you what doesn’t work. Which is still taking you closer to your dreams.”
Exploring what you really want to do will make you a happier person and a better parent.
2 Appreciate Your Child’s Happiness
Have you ever looked at a happy child, like really looked? His or her happiness is awe-inspiring. Children can see the simplicity in life and have the ability to navigate our world without worry.
This can really inspire happiness in parents–after all our greatest mission is knowing that we are producing happy, productive children. So take a look at happiness and feel happy in knowing that you helped create that.
1 Enough Is Enough
Parenting can be hard. It can be stressful and you can lose yourself in the worry that you are not doing enough. But there is no need to keep up with the Jones’s. Slow down, take stock of what you have, and recognize that worrying that you are not providing enough for your children is usually an indicator that your priorities are in order and that you are a wonderful parent to those children.
Children don’t need three trips to Disney a year. They don’t need the latest toy or hot gadget. They just need loving parents who support them, guide them, and make them feel safe and valued. If you are doing that then don’t worry about the extras.
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