FAMILY / PARENTING
> effective way to stimulate resourcefulness and self-reliance. Curiosity can also promote greater empathy and connection. Rather than leaping to single conclusions, ask your child to get curious about how others might be feeling and generate lots of possible explanations for behaviour.
• Appreciation and gratitude. And the greatest mood alchemists for last. Appreciation is the skill of noticing what is good in our lives and gratitude is the quality of thankfulness for our blessings and the opportunities to grow, the silver lining to our struggles. What are the ways that you can imbed these qualities into your family life, drawing you deeply together?
Suzy is a mother of two, psychologist and yoga teacher. She wants to boost resilience, happiness and collective wellbeing for families.
MORE INSPIRATION READ Stand Tall Like a Mountain: Mindfulness and Self-Care for Children and Parents by Suzy Reading (£12.99 Octopus Books)
ʻLook for ways to be kind to others and see how this transforms your day. Extending those same feelings toward ourselves alleviates internal pressure and lifts negativityʼ
PRACTICES TO BOOST HAPPINESS
PLAY - Build a library of games, puzzles, cards and dress-ups. Engage in imaginative role play. Have options that children can play on their own or with others.
ART AND CREATIVITY The sky is the limit here. Write a song or poem. Make a book. Paint, draw or colour in. Get the chalk out on the garden path or paint on it with water. Make a sculpture from clay or build a creation from the contents of the recycling container. Try some sand art, make a mosaic or get creative with finger knitting or sewing. Bake a cake or make some freshly squeezed orange juice – zesty fun!
DISPLAY YOUR FAMILY VALUES - Create a poster with a mantra or statement of what’s important to you. One of our favourites: “I matter, other people matter, everyone matters.”
MOVE YOUR BODY Any movement has a potential anti-depressant effect and a tall, upright posture creates a more buoyant mood.
MAKE A SMILE - Even if you don’t feel it initially – the brain can’t tell the difference. Fake a smile and it will help lift your mood. Even better, find a buddy, sit and look into each other’s eyes and smile. Feel how this builds a sense of connection and mutual care and, most probably, laughter.
BUILD A HAPPINESS LIBRARY - Read or watch something funny, make a joke book, or watch a YouTube puppy video. George of the Jungle is one of our go-to happy films.
SING OR LISTEN TO MUSIC - We’ve had many an impromptu dance party with our little karaoke machine and microphone. Music can also transform times that are often fraught with stress, such as car journeys, getting ready for school or preparing for bedtime.
SHIFT THE COLLECTIVE MOOD BY USING SCENT My kids love my room sprays, scented candles and pillow spray as much as I do.
MEDITATE - You can close your eyes and feel your breathing, repeat a mantra or simply notice around you anything you find beautiful or uplifting, such as nature’s splendour, interesting buildings, sounds, people or colours you love.
VISUALIZE YOUR “BEST DAY EVER” - No limits here, close your eyes and fill your whole day with the best food, the best people, the best places and the best activities you can possibly imagine.
MAKE A “MEMORY BANK” - Use your SelfCare Journal to record happy memories and photos. Write down what happened, why it happened (there is no right or wrong here but it’ll boost your mood pondering it) and get as descriptive as you can about how it made you feel in terms of thoughts, emotions and sensations. Reading these entries back later will help you reexperience the pleasure.
OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2019 thegreenparent.co.uk