We’re elated for a time when we get married or get the keys to the beach house, but then it wears off. We adapt – no matter what. This is why we must be intentional about the pursuit of happiness for ourselves and our children. Happy Doesn’t Just Happen 10 Ways to Consciously Choose Happiness For You ... For Your Kids BY MICHELE RANARD, M.ED. Diener studied happiness across cultures and found that money only predicts happiness sometimes. People in wealthy nations are happier than those in poor ones. In poor nations where basic needs are not met, money matters. However, money is not a predictor of happiness in wealthy societies. Author of The How of Happiness (2008), Sonja Lyubomirsky says materialism is a strong predictor of unhappiness because materialistic people become easily distracted from their close relationships, and possessions don’t bring long-term joy. ultivating greater happiness not only benefits oneself, but also one’s family, community and society at large.” (Dalai Lama) Cultivating happiness drives us. We seek it, lose it, recover it and constantly monitor ourselves for it. Happiness is abstract but way beyond warm and fuzzy. Remember when parents openly admitted ‘happy’ was all they wished for their kids? That was before our children were branded Generation Me, and many of us guiltily began to question the implications of our wish. Here’s the thing. In vogue or not, we care deeply about our children’s happiness. And if history and science teach us anything, it’s that we can’t sit around and wait for happiness to find us. We have to live with intention and model it. “C Can money buy it? Psychologist David Meyers called happiness “a deep abiding sense that all is well” in The Pursuit of Happiness (1993), and University Professor Ed Diener equates it with psychological wealth. In his book, Happiness (2008), psychological wealth is explained as “your true net worth and includes your attitudes toward life, social support, spiritual development, material resources, health and activities in which you engage.” Who is happy? Happier people are more spiritual, have better health and possess close social relationships. They are in happy marriages and claim religious faith. A higher IQ, better education or sunny climate will not make you happier! Youth is not associated with increased happiness either. A report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2000) revealed people in their early twenties reported significantly more sad days in the past month (3.4) than folks in their late and early seventies (2.3). Beauty, promotions, and wealth? Great stuff. But do not predict happiness. Wait a sec. Circumstances do not increase happiness? Inheriting a beach house in Malibu or landing a million dollar book deal will make me very happy. I’m certain! How can science be accurate? One explanation is hedonistic adaptation. Humans have evolved to quickly adapt to circumstances, and adaptation plays to our advantage when we adjust to negative change. But adaptation is also at work for positive life changes. So we’re elated for a time when we get married or get the keys to the beach house, but then it wears off. We adapt – no matter what. This is why we must be intentional about the pursuit of happiness for ourselves and our children. HERRADURA FARMS Boarding • Horse Sales • Lessons • Horse Training Susan Anderson (trainer) has been riding since she was six years old. She was a member of the Canadian National Equestrian team that competed in the World Equestrian games in Stockholm Sweden. She will be more than delighted to help you and your kids have a tremendous riding experience. Susan Anderson • firstname.lastname@example.org Parents can enjoy a bright 20' by 80' viewing lounge overlooking the arena. 10Ways to Choose Happy S ociologist Christine Carter reminds us in Raising Happiness (2010) that “happy friends, neighbors and siblings who live in close proximity to you (as adults) increase your odds of being happy.” Borrowing from the brilliant work of Carter, Seligman and Lyumorbisky, here are ten additional tips for parents to consciously stir up more happiness in their families: 1. Get together with friends and laugh. It’s always the simple things, isn’t it? Carter says, “A good guffaw – or even a little giggle – causes our heart rate and blood pressure to drop and our muscles to relax.” 2. Get in touch, literally. It’s easy for family members to feel disconnected in this age of ‘connectivity.’ Massages and hugs from loved ones cause biochemical reactions that change us. 3. Make time for quiet time. Meditation is an antidote for stress and a way to train ourselves for happiness. Step over cynicism. You can’t afford to not make time. Keep a gratitude journal since science proves it effectively improves optimism. 4. Exercise regularly. Stop making excuses. If you have a heart in your chest, you need exercise. 5. Get out in nature. It clears the mind. It doesn’t involve shopping. 6. Be thankful and have an optimistic view of the future. There are blessings right under your nose. We are going to be okay. It’s not naïve to be hopeful. It’s powerful. 7. Be the first on the scene to help other people, even strangers. Imagine if we all begin to apply this! Man oh, man, it’s going to be a happy planet. 8. Stay rooted in the present and savor life. It’s not a cold, dead place. It’s alive and breathing with meaning right now. 9. Try Seligman’s three blessings’ exercise. Each day, record three things that went well and why. It can have an amazing effect. 10. Be committed to deeply held, lifelong goals. Keep going. You’ll get there. Michele Ranard, M.Ed., has a husband, two children, a master’s in counselling and a blog, cheekychicmama.com. CCM 403-668-6223 Owner operated since 2007 Box 196 Dewinton, AB T0L 0X0 www.herradurafarms.com Call to register for our School Horse Program! Herradura farms has a beautifully lit 80' by 180' indoor riding arena with the world renowned dust free footing, which makes winter riding a pleasure. 4 • Find us on Facebook & Twitter Located just minutes south of Calgary in Dewinton HWY 22X 154th Ave 226th Ave West / Dewinton Turn Off Photos Above: L: Comtock Images/Comstock/Thinkstock R: Jupiterimages/Goodshot/Thinkstock Macleod Trail South Dewinton Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Thinkstock FRONT & CENTRE New!