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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Science of Happiness


by Tracee Sioux

I love the Science of Happiness. You've heard of that neuroscientist, Richard J. Davidson, who studies what our brains do when they are happy and tells us how we can get more of it?

I was thinking. I'm 34 years old and I'm thrilled to apply new ways to be happy - meditating, yoga, hot baths, time to myself, time with my famiy and friends, acts of service, inspiring art on the wall, and a passion for writing.

But, what if my daughter (and son) doesn't have to wander around for 30 years not knowing how to be happy?

What if I taught her the tried and true scientific methods to be happy straight from the go just like I taught her how to read and add. Surely, how to be happy is as valuable and fundamental a life-skill as that?

There was an article in O Magazine about 5 things we can do for ourselves to learn to be happy. I've taken the liberty of adapting the list for my daughter. Feel free to adapt it for your own family.

1. Do what you love. I can help her learn what her natural talents are and give her an opportunity to explore and develop those skills.

2. Learn new things. Right now she's taking Taekwondo and loving it.

3. Teach her the significance of NOW and how to avoid "if only" thinking. If I can teach her that happiness is a choice and now is the only time she can grasp it I'll consider my job as a parent well done.

4. Encourage social interaction with best friends and create and environment where her friendships flourish. Obviously this implies teaching her how to be a good friend.

5. Allow her to be happy. Don't burden her with unnecessary guilt and issues.

Don't we all just want to raise happy girls? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could teach them happiness as a skill?

Revolutionary.

9 comments:

DJ Nelson said...

It would be great to teach children happiness but I think first we have to teach ourselves.

We aren't taught to do what we love- we are taught to do what pays the bills and then maybe you'll get "lucky" enough to do what you love.

Learning new things is fine, but you have to do more important things first.

Stop daydreaming you don't have time for that. Do your homework.

Who has time for friendships? You have to get ahead in life.

Who are you to be happy? Nobody is happy. Life isn't fair, get used to it.

Gee whiz no wonder people are crazy and unhappy! But sadly it gets passed down because you can only do what you know.

Tracee said...

no wonder it took me 30 years to figure out how to be happy when you put it like that.

Thank goodness I'm figuring it out now so I can teach it to her.

mrs. blogoway said...

What a great list. I still think we're better at teaching these things than our parents generation, but maybe I'm wrong.

Did you see 60 minutes last week. They did a story on happiness and Denmark is the happiest country. The young people in Denmark said they don't feel any happier than anyone else, but maybe just more content. (they mentioned the fact that their colleges are FREE and they don't have the worries that young Americans have). Hmmmm...

Tracee said...

That's a good point. One scientific study I read about happiness did have to do with whether you're worried about finances. They shows people in countries with socialized medicine are happier in general because that worry, a source of stress, is not on their shoulders.

They showed in that same study that once your heirarchy of needs are met with basic shelter, health, food, etc. that you do not become happier just from acquiring money. But, you can not be happy unless those basic needs are met.

Tracee said...

I should say - are more unlikely to be happy instead of can not be happy.

Leisa said...

Have you heard of a guy called Martin Seligman? He has written some great books about happiness and has created an area called positive psychology - he is doing some amazing stuff. His website is www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/ and is worth a look!

Tracee said...

Thanks Leisa - I'll definately check it out.

lisamm said...

I love your blog! This was a great list and really good for me to read today. I've been arguing with my daughter about homework all weekend. Maybe today we'll go have some fun first before we get down to business.

Tracee said...

Thanks so much for saying so. I hope you'll come back often.

Homework is important sure. But, so is fun. Balance. We should teach them balance. Work hard, try to enjoy the work and play hard.

Maybe big rewards for homework accomplished? Plus, I like to make learning fun - maybe you can find a creative way to do that.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Science of Happiness


by Tracee Sioux

I love the Science of Happiness. You've heard of that neuroscientist, Richard J. Davidson, who studies what our brains do when they are happy and tells us how we can get more of it?

I was thinking. I'm 34 years old and I'm thrilled to apply new ways to be happy - meditating, yoga, hot baths, time to myself, time with my famiy and friends, acts of service, inspiring art on the wall, and a passion for writing.

But, what if my daughter (and son) doesn't have to wander around for 30 years not knowing how to be happy?

What if I taught her the tried and true scientific methods to be happy straight from the go just like I taught her how to read and add. Surely, how to be happy is as valuable and fundamental a life-skill as that?

There was an article in O Magazine about 5 things we can do for ourselves to learn to be happy. I've taken the liberty of adapting the list for my daughter. Feel free to adapt it for your own family.

1. Do what you love. I can help her learn what her natural talents are and give her an opportunity to explore and develop those skills.

2. Learn new things. Right now she's taking Taekwondo and loving it.

3. Teach her the significance of NOW and how to avoid "if only" thinking. If I can teach her that happiness is a choice and now is the only time she can grasp it I'll consider my job as a parent well done.

4. Encourage social interaction with best friends and create and environment where her friendships flourish. Obviously this implies teaching her how to be a good friend.

5. Allow her to be happy. Don't burden her with unnecessary guilt and issues.

Don't we all just want to raise happy girls? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could teach them happiness as a skill?

Revolutionary.

9 comments:

DJ Nelson said...

It would be great to teach children happiness but I think first we have to teach ourselves.

We aren't taught to do what we love- we are taught to do what pays the bills and then maybe you'll get "lucky" enough to do what you love.

Learning new things is fine, but you have to do more important things first.

Stop daydreaming you don't have time for that. Do your homework.

Who has time for friendships? You have to get ahead in life.

Who are you to be happy? Nobody is happy. Life isn't fair, get used to it.

Gee whiz no wonder people are crazy and unhappy! But sadly it gets passed down because you can only do what you know.

Tracee said...

no wonder it took me 30 years to figure out how to be happy when you put it like that.

Thank goodness I'm figuring it out now so I can teach it to her.

mrs. blogoway said...

What a great list. I still think we're better at teaching these things than our parents generation, but maybe I'm wrong.

Did you see 60 minutes last week. They did a story on happiness and Denmark is the happiest country. The young people in Denmark said they don't feel any happier than anyone else, but maybe just more content. (they mentioned the fact that their colleges are FREE and they don't have the worries that young Americans have). Hmmmm...

Tracee said...

That's a good point. One scientific study I read about happiness did have to do with whether you're worried about finances. They shows people in countries with socialized medicine are happier in general because that worry, a source of stress, is not on their shoulders.

They showed in that same study that once your heirarchy of needs are met with basic shelter, health, food, etc. that you do not become happier just from acquiring money. But, you can not be happy unless those basic needs are met.

Tracee said...

I should say - are more unlikely to be happy instead of can not be happy.

Leisa said...

Have you heard of a guy called Martin Seligman? He has written some great books about happiness and has created an area called positive psychology - he is doing some amazing stuff. His website is www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/ and is worth a look!

Tracee said...

Thanks Leisa - I'll definately check it out.

lisamm said...

I love your blog! This was a great list and really good for me to read today. I've been arguing with my daughter about homework all weekend. Maybe today we'll go have some fun first before we get down to business.

Tracee said...

Thanks so much for saying so. I hope you'll come back often.

Homework is important sure. But, so is fun. Balance. We should teach them balance. Work hard, try to enjoy the work and play hard.

Maybe big rewards for homework accomplished? Plus, I like to make learning fun - maybe you can find a creative way to do that.