Monday, January 23, 2012

$0 Budget Month Guest Post: House Wife in Town

Hello Everyone,

I contact Laura at House Wife in Town and asked if she would be willing to share her 31 Days to Happier Children series with you. I love this series and it fits so well with this month, not because it doesn't costs anything, but because we have so much more time to grow as a family this month. As you might (or might not) remember from my last 1 month $0 challenge, the best thing we got out of it was not saving money, it was the time we spent together. Please be sure to stop by and see what Laura had to say in her 31 Days to Happier Children.

Happiness is a choice. "We choose to count our blessings. We choose to head outside and look for contentment and joy in nature. We choose to eat food that encourage optimism. We choose joy." taken from this post back in October introducing my 31 Days to Happier Children series.

So much of our daily life is about the habits we have -- how we spend our time, what we choose to eat and drink, when we sleep. Have you noticed that some habits lead to happiness and others don't? It's a pretty simple formula -- get happy by making happy habits. And teaching your children to do the same! Add in gratefulness for what you have, quick forgiveness when others wrong you, empathy, and understanding how your personality and love language affects your relationships, and you'll have to fight to be UNhappy.

When I set out to write about happy kids every day for 31 days in October, I didn't know I'd get over  44,000 pageviews and pins all over Pinterest. Many people are obviously looking for answers for themselves and for their children. We want to spend more time with our kids, but really -- we want our time spent to be effective. We want our words to really impact our children for good. We want our parenting to be dynamic, with positive outcomes. I want all that too. And writing all thirty-one days, on topics from eating your vegetables to traveling together to focusing on marriage, helped ME put things in perspective and see what our family needed more of to be highly functioning. 

Writing this series HAS helped my family become happier. And now I've got it as a resource to come back to. I can ask the questions: How are we doing lately? Am I making it a point to put on my oxygen mask as a mom? Are we still focusing on emotional intelligence in our interactions with each other and with our friends? Did we laugh together today?

Happiness is worth so much more than money. You can't put a dollar amount on it. Especially when you see the research behind it. Check this out:

"Optimism is so closely related to happiness that the two can practically be equated. And guess what: optimism is a teachable skill. Hope, faith and optimism are all positive emotions about the future, and so are essential parts of a happy childhood. That is enough for me, but if a happy childhood isn't your first priority for your kids, think about these other benefits reaped by optimistic children. Compared to pessimistic people, optimists are:
  • More successful in school, at work, and in athletics
  • They are healthier and they live longer
  • They are more satisfied with their marriages
  • They are less likely to suffer from depression
  • They are less anxious..."
quoted from an article entitled "The Benefits of Optimism" by Christine Carter, Ph.D. at the Greater Good Institute

Don't be alarmed -- my kids aren't happy all the time. If only! But I really believe that the habits we are forming have made a difference in our level of happiness. So I can say that our family continues to learn happiness, from living intentionally and continually making positive lifestyle choices. It's not a quick fix, it's a way of life. And we'll be reaping the rewards for a long time.

To read all 31 posts in my series, click here. And let me know what you think.


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