Fair   64.0F  |  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

Back-to-School Lunch Notes Craft Project

Back-to-School Lunch Notes Craft Project

Add an extra dash of love to your child's midday meal away from home with a customized little letter, complete with a top-class loose-leaf paper spin.

CannaMoms Fight to Legalize Medical Marijuana for Kids

CannaMoms Fight to Legalize Medical Marijuana for Kids

Three moms of severely sick children want to change Florida law to treat their kids with cannabis. Opponents worry about lack of research and possible dangers.

Tips and Advice for Buying Glasses Online for Kids

Tips and Advice for Buying Glasses Online for Kids

Ever considered purchasing eyeglasses on the Internet for your child? A local optometrist offers insight into the process – and what to be cautious of.

Fruit Kiddy Cocktail Recipes from The Bird and The Bread

Fruit Kiddy Cocktail Recipes from The Bird and The Bread

Want to add a layer of fancy, not to mention healthy, to your kids' next snack or after-dinner dessert? Try these three recipes from the Birmingham restaurant.

Dick & Jane Baking Company Offers Smart After-School Snacks

Dick & Jane Baking Company Offers Smart After-School Snacks

A mom and dad team from Troy, Michigan teamed up to create wholesome, delicious cookies that teach kids state capitals, language, presidents and more.

Craft Roundup: Fabric Based Projects for Back-to-School Fun

Craft Roundup: Fabric Based Projects for Back-to-School Fun

Make some locker pencil cup holders, a seat belt cover, V-neck sweater vest and drawstring sleeping bag case to get kids excited about September.

Tips for Easing the New School Jitters

Tips for Easing the New School Jitters

Is your child attending a new school this year? Follow these five tips for making the transition easier.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement