Over the past several weeks, I have written about how to take advantage of these summer months to build a more optimistic, positive outlook in your home. It’s no real secret that complaints, negativity and pessimism simply multiply the painful, sad and frustrating elements of life. There is no freedom or peace in continual negativity. Yet, many of our children spend an inordinate amount of time absorbed in finding the glass half full…never seeing the true gifts and abundance in their lives.
Six essential tools that build happiness, optimism and positivity.
In last week’s article, I covered the first three keys to building optimism and happiness. You can learn more about these first three keys at www.TerrificParenting.com. To summarize, however, they are:
1. Be attentive to positive emotions…when they are happening.
2. Ask curious questions to expand upon moments of joy and pleasure.
3. Teach them about magic: What you focus on always expands.
Three additional keys to building happiness & optimism
4. Become obsessed with gratitude. Live it. Don’t teach it.
We teach so much by how we live in the world, day to day. Research into the role of gratitude continues to astound, as the impact upon daily life is amazing. The more we remain grateful, in the small moments of the day FOR the small gifts of life, the more life opens up to be lighter, sweeter and happier. Oddly, this not only affects today, it affects longevity, success and relationships.
However, this is not something to lecture our kids about; it’s more that we need to just do it. Do it daily. Do it every hour. Do it many times an hour. Do it this month…and next.
Do what…you might ask?
The answer is simple: Turn to your world and find something to be thankful for. And then, express your gratitude. Build a ‘psychological state’ of gratitude by always asking yourself, “What am I grateful for in this moment?” Be committed to this, through setting reminders on your phone to asking the question repeatedly.
In doing this, you will model a way of seeing problems as an opportunity to learn, a way to grow and certainly a way to turn your perspective away from the complaint or problem.
5. Acceptance leads to happiness and freedom.
In our world today, acceptance is often not promoted. In fact, the idea that we must ‘fight’ for happiness is simply not accurate. We must ‘fight’ for peace. There is no ‘internal fight’ that leads to happiness or peace.
This is not to suggest that effort is not required. Effort is required. Yet, the more we simply judge the environment, our neighbors, our schools, our government as ‘wrong’ or ‘stupid’ or ‘bad’…then we find ourselves upset or angry. There is no acceptance here; no peace or happiness down this path.
So, where does the effort go? The effort goes toward acceptance, toward seeing that our judgements only serve to show our children how to stay upset or angry or frustrated, with a world where that upset does nothing to bring happiness. Nothing.
Please keep in mind: Acceptance modeled for our children does not make us a doormat to be trampled upon. It does make us move through life with ease, not battling or fighting every little moment. And we still MOVE TOWARD what we value, what we want and what we find important. So action still happens; it just happens without the turmoil and drama of incessant opinions that others are wrong, or stupid or bad.
6. Live by the 80/20 rule in your home: 80% positive. 20% negative (max).
Again, we turn to evolving research that strongly clarifies the importance of being reality based, yet giving limited time to the ‘complaining’ side of things. Make sure the wide majority of your talk and attention goes to the positive, the loving, the grateful moments. This builds a strong inner sense of optimism.
Yet, all this talk of optimism could suggest that we pretend there are no ‘weeds in the garden’ when we can see the weeds right in front of us!
The weeds need to be pulled from the garden, however, the secret is that once weeds are identified (metaphorically), we don’t spend our life energy complaining and moaning about them. We simply identify the work to be done and we do it joyfully, with acceptance.
This series has covered many of the fundamentals on building optimism and happiness. While easy to write about, it does take effort to put these into daily action. Stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about the secrets of Terrific Parenting.