Fair   62.0F  |  Forecast »

How to Make Your Family Happier

Looking for family joy? Try these six realistic, everyday tips from 'positive psychologist' Tal Beh-Shahar

Let's face it: There's lots for families to get bummed about, from cramped schedules to tight finances to illnesses – and a million challenges along the way. And psychology experts have long focused on addressing negative fallout like depression and anxiety. But did you know that there's also been a growing focus on "positive psychology?"

"It's the scientific study of what makes life worth living," explains University of Michigan psychologist Chris Peterson. "Psychologists know that there's more to life than not having problems. You want to be happy, fulfilled – you want to be a contributing member (of society)."

Seeking some quick starters that are manageable for any parent? In Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment, Tal Ben-Shahar offers plenty. The book is based on a course he taught while on-staff at Harvard. Like all "positive psychology" pros, he cautions that every approach must be tailored to fit the person – and that "becoming happier is a life-long pursuit." Here are his top six tips.

1. Permit yourself to be human. Conquering emotions like fear, sadness and anxiety means accepting that they're normal.

2. "Happiness lies at the intersection between pleasure and meaning." Are you doing things that mean something to you – and that you enjoy? That's the goal. If you can't, create "happiness boosters," or little fun moments, during the week.

3. Happiness is more a "state of mind" than "state of bank account." It's like the proverbial half-full or half-empty glass. Which are you focusing on?

4. Scale it down and keep it simple. Parents especially feel compelled to pack the activities into already-crammed calendars. But "quantity influences quality."

5. "Remember the mind-body connection." Yes: This means regular exercise, healthy eating and sleep, all of which have a resounding impact on happiness.

6. Be grateful, out loud. While taking things for granted is natural, "learn to appreciate and savor the wonderful things in life – from people to food, from nature to a smile."

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Medication Mistakes Common and Dangerous, New Study Finds

Medication Mistakes Common and Dangerous, New Study Finds

Recent findings published in Pediatrics show that nearly 40 percent of parents make measuring errors for their kid's medicine. Why is this happening and what can you do to prevent it?

Craft Roundup: Fun Summer Projects for Kids

Craft Roundup: Fun Summer Projects for Kids

Beat vacation boredom with these four cool ideas from blogs, including Popsicle holders, printable sewing cards, jellyfish handprint bookmarks and more.

5 Tips to Get Your Kids Interested in Cooking

5 Tips to Get Your Kids Interested in Cooking

From picking out ingredients to concocting their own culinary creations, here are a few ways to encourage your children to help out in the kitchen.

Family Picnic Recipes and Ideas

Family Picnic Recipes and Ideas

Head to the park or on a hike and make the great outdoors your dinner spot. Here are six ideas to help you plan your meal – from drink to dessert.

Book Review: Three Fun Summer Craft Reads for the Family

Book Review: Three Fun Summer Craft Reads for the Family

Want a few simple, fun sewing ideas for the kids, projects to brighten up their rooms or maybe just tips for DIY tinkering? These authors have you covered.

Dad Claims African Land, Declares Daughter is a Princess

Dad Claims African Land, Declares Daughter is a Princess

A father from Virginia claims a patch of desert in Egypt, calls it the Kingdom of North Sudan – just so his daughter can be the princess of this region.

Spray-on Sunscreen Warnings for Kids: FDA Investigates Safety

Spray-on Sunscreen Warnings for Kids: FDA Investigates Safety

Parents might want to think twice before using this alternative to lotion sunscreen as the Food and Drug Administration investigates its potential risks.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement