Growing Your Happiness

Grow Your Happiness

By Michelle Ghilotti Mandel

The happy news: there’s enough to go around. Happiness, that is. And the secret? There’s one way to get it quickly and that’s to go straight there. (There is urgency to enjoy our lives, let’s be honest.)

We must bring contentment with us to our everyday activities instead of waiting for it to come from somewhere or someone else. A life of happiness means a life of active participation in that pursuit of happiness.

And this is important in all phases of our life, and maybe especially in parenthood.

We parents are so busy growing human lives that sometimes we forget how to be happy for ourselves, first, so that we can be happier, and  a super-duper close second, so that we can be  better teachers to our kids.

This is a vital piece of happiness.

Choosing to see the glass as half full helps us tip the scale of balance, something on every parents “Want More Of” list. It’s a great chain effect, if you think about it… you bring a certain perspective to the table which helps you respond rather than react. You then get to enjoy the feeling– not of extremes but that of balance or the Middle Path, one that Buddha, for example, called the path to bliss.

This tangible feeling of inner peace is exactly that ~ balance. And it’s something we not only want more of but something we want our kids to see more of and therefore learn from and model their lives towards that, right?

The topic of parent happiness is extremely interesting to me. It skyrocketed when I saw the New York Times touting research stating that parents are un-happy compared to their non-parent peers. And, apparently, there are countless other studies stating the same thing. The author of best-selling book Stumbling on Happiness, Daniel Gilbert, went so far as to say he hasn’t seen research to combat these numerous findings in twenty years of happiness research!

A popular magnet & card

(To the dismay of parents who disagree obviously, there continue to be plenty of articles in magazines, newspapers and books coming out about parents hating parenting. http://nymag.com/news/features/67024/)

Image from the New York Magazine article on unhappy parents

If this is the case even for a certain percentage of the parents of this world we need to get focused on the ways parents can increase their happiness. (More on these studies later on in the Parent Series, Growing your Happiness I’m writing for Happiness Series)

Find your own Happiness & everyone benefits!

We can be happy as parents; Happiness Series is here to show you how…

Take time for yourself. Number one activity that will grow your happiness (exponentially) while you are growing that of your family. (Take 5 minutes for yourself, http://happinessseries.com/03/2011/take-5/)

And for any of you parents that are shaking your head at the supposed impossibility we invite you to start here. We introduce the first of many Happiness Series Momtras/Dadtras: Time for myself helps increase my happiness and the sense of balance I so badly crave. The happier I am, the better teacher I am, not to mention the more fun I am to be around. (Say it aloud 3 times everyday, starting today!)

And remember, as we like to say here at Happiness Series, “time for you” needn’t be anything dramatic, five minutes to yourself, to breathe and get grounded will change your outlook.

Until next time… here’s to your happiness.

 

 

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About the Author: Michelle Ghilotti Mandel is a writer, certified yoga teacher and graphic designer running her own heartful design and branding studio, ghilotti ink, for over 10 years. Michelle is writing the how to be a walking Momtra book (blog: http://howtobeawalkingmomtra.wordpress.com/) and is a guest blogger for Happiness Series, the Elephant Journal, tinybuddha.com and the powermob.com. When she’s not grooving with any of the above, she is running (usually to yoga), sleeping on the Great Wall of China, becoming an expert in expat living and, surprisingly, not making many other plans. She keeps a 5 x 4 foot canvas entitled “The Things that Make Me Happy,” which she is happy to announce will never be finished. She lives in Los Angeles with her five year old son and husband. Michelle’s blogging for Happiness Series about Happiness, Motherhood, finding a balance in life, and having fun!