As the clock strikes midnight and the new year is ushered in, the focus shifts from the memories of the past year to the resolutions of the new year. While the energetic motivation behind some resolutions fizzles out before Valentine's Day, some resolutions really are worth pursuing.
Do you want more happiness in your life? Here are 14 resolutions that, if you follow, can bring much happiness to your family during this year.
14 resolutions that will make you happier
There's a reason why being yourself feels so good. It's liberating, it's effortless, and it's empowering. Hiding who you are is a lot of work and is very limiting. Embrace who you are and shine.
Be intentional with your inner circle
Jim Rohn puts it the best: "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." Surround yourself with positive, encouraging, loving, and supportive people. This is especially true for kids and their friends; children are so impressionable. Choose your friends wisely.
Stand up for family and friends
Honesty is more than just telling the truth. Honesty also means speaking up when a lie is spoken. If a coworker makes fun of another coworker, say something. Teach your children to do the same in the school cafeteria. Living a life untethered from gossip will make you much happier.
Research tells us that volunteering has a direct impact on our happiness levels. A study from the London School of Economics demonstrated that the more people volunteer, the happier they are.
Sleep is essential for the human body to function properly. While many people get away with a slightly less-than-optimal amount of sleep, it is important to note that proper sleep affects your happiness level. Why? Matthew Berkeley, a scientist from UC Berkeley, reported that poor sleep quantity and quality causes the emotional systems in the brain to "run amok." Doesn't sound like an optimal environment for happy thoughts!
As more awareness is being spread about the dangers of processed foods, more and more studies are revealing how food can contribute to happiness. Dr. Joe Hibbeln conducted a study and found a link between fat in the diet and emotional health. When diets are based on processed foods, the brain is denied healthy fats like Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which are essential for brain health. Eating a diet rich in organic produce, lean meats, whole grains, and health fats ensures that the body can work to the best of its ability, and that includes the brain health too!
Cultivate your unique gifts
This is similar to the first resolution (be yourself), but this resolution requires you to act on it. Why will this make you happier? By fostering hobbies, you will feel satisfied (and thus happier) by witnessing you grow in your own gifts.
Use respectful language
While this seems like just plain old manners, it's easy to lose track of respectful language. A driver cuts you off and you yell at him. Sound familiar? We then get angry at this driver and spend the next 10 minutes fuming. 10 minute of our life fuming at a total stranger. Use respectful language in all you do. Don't waste your precious moments on degrading or disrespectful language - even if the offender cannot hear you.
Choose your battles wisely
When I was younger, my dad would say "I'm not gonna die on that battlefield." I didn't get it at first, but he meant that he knew when to pick his battles. In doing so, we saved himself the stress (annoyance, energy) by not arguing with me. Whether you are 10 or 90, this is good advice. If you battle all the time, you will have no energy left to be happy.
Never stop learning
Read! Attend seminars. Watch a documentary. Keep your brain challenged.
Participate in hard work
Why does hard work make you happier? BBC published an article on the effects of hard work on happiness. Swedish researchers from Gothenburg University demonstrated that hard work is good for emotional health because it is the actual process of working towards a goal that makes people more satisified than the actual reaching of the goal. Emotional highs (without working) dissipated much quicker than emotional highs that followed a period of hard work.
Control your emotions
With emotions running unchecked, it can be hard to experience the joy in your life. Emotions are part of life; we all experience an incredible range of emotions, but that doesn't mean that we are defined by those emotions nor does it mean that those emotions control us. The first step to controlling your emotions is acknowledging them. Once you are aware of your emotions, it is much easier to work through them.
What better way to be happier than to practice positivity! Every day, make it a point to practice positivity. This could be something as simple as thinking about the highlights of your day as you snuggle into bed. Or, it could be something like keeping a daily journal of all of your positive moments.
The best way to be happier is love. Spread love everywhere you go. This doesn't mean just rainbows and butterflies. Love isn't a feeling; it is a decision; it is to willingly act for the good of another. Love is holding a door open. Love is giving the last piece of cake to your husband. Love is reading the extra bedtime story when you just want to go to bed. Love is making your spouse's morning routine easier by making his/her lunch. Love is going the extra mile to make sure your child is comforted. There are infinite ways to show love. Love. Love alone is the key to happiness. Let everything you do be rooted in love.
Are you committing to any of these resolutions? Let us know!
In November, social media is plastered with gratitude posts and 30-day thankful challenges. We all feel a little warmer and kinder to others, but what about the rest of the year? Often, when parents are thinking of ways to make their home more loving and peaceful,they focus first on eliminating yelling and harsh discipline. But having an attitude of gratitude year-round is an expressway to happier living.
How an attitude of gratitude can affect your life
When you're consciously grateful, you're more likely to live with a glass half full.
When you're grateful, you are more aware of all the good in your life and the good people around you. With that much goodness, you're bound to feel a little good yourself.
Feel more rested
A happy heart falls asleep quicker and easier. A troubled heart tosses and turns. I don't know about you but I sure like my sleep. Bring on the gratitude journal.
When you look for things to be thankful for, the bad stuff doesn't seem so bad. When I have a lot of big projects coming due, I find myself saying things like "At least, once I'm done, I'll have time to read my new book." I'm less stressed because I'm grateful for something in the future.
Decreases blood pressure
When you're less stressed, your blood pressure improves. Win win.
Reduces risk of depression
This is linked back to the glass half full perspective of life.
Being grateful and practicing gratefulness helps to improve your emotional intelligence. This has the nice affect of reducing toxic negative emotions from your life.
Leads to stronger relationships
A beautiful affect of a grateful heart is that your relationships will become stronger, deeper, and healthier. Why? Because you appreciate more nuances of the relationship. If you are whizzing through life, you might miss out on the little things. And people, life IS the little things. My husband preps the coffee maker for me every morning. All I have to do is hit "brew" and my miracle drug pour into the carafe. It's a little thing, but I am grateful for it. Not because it gets me my caffeine fix faster, but because it reminds me how much my husband loves me, and I am surely grateful for that love.
While you're working on improving your attitude of gratitude, it may flow over into your spiritual life. After all, should we not be thankful for this beautiful life we are given?
What are some ways that you practice gratitude?
The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.
What is peaceful parenting?
Peaceful parenting consists of philosophies and theories in which parents use love and the parental-child bond to guide children on the right path in life. Studies continually report that children are more receptive to parental guidance when parents instruct (rather than punish) and empathize with them. These children are capable of internalizing self discipline and as a result are happy children.
Why peaceful parenting?
Peaceful parenting works. We've all heard the saying "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" and there is a truth to that. I know firsthand that when I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, I bring a gloomy cloud that looms over us all. When I overreact to small messes, I know I cause my children to spiral into emotional messes. They are little and rely on me to teach them proper emotional responses. How can I teach them if I myself cannot control emotions? I also know that when I am cheerful and chipper (or at least force a smile when I'm over it all) that I can spread that joy to my kids. I have the power to be their calm. When they see me react with patience in a calm manner, they are able to hold onto peace.
If I am the barometer and set the mood of the day, then following peaceful parenting practices helps me create a peaceful home enviornment. A peaceful home allows children to thrive and be happy. Peaceful parenting does not at all mean permissive parenting. Permissisve parenting results in unhappy children who constantly tests the already-lax limits of their parents. Children are hardwired to enjoy limits; it helps them feel secure.
On the other hand, strict parenting frequently results in children who are angry because they cannot ever please their parents. These children grow to resent all parental guidance and as a result, they do not (and cannot) internalize self discipline.
What does it mean to be a peaceful parent?
At the heart of peaceful parenting is the desire to teach our children and bond with them, guided by love.
It's not easy to wake up one day and decide to do away with harsh punishments and timeouts. Peaceful parenting requires work, a daily reaffirmation of your committment. There will be times when you are tested. You will want to yell at your kids and stick them in a time out. But stick with peaceful parenting and you will see that not only will your children become happier, but you will as well.
Hygge, pronounced hyoo-ga, is a word has taken the internet by storm. In fact, hygge was short-listed for Oxford Dictionary's Word of the Year. While the Internet may be obsessing of this word, it is nothing new. Hygge is a Danish word and the entire concept of hygge defines an element of the Danish culture.
So, what does this word mean?
Hygge refers to a quality of coziness that leads to feelings of fulfillment and contentment. The practice of hygge allows people to focus on what matters - each other. A perfect example of hygge is a cozy dinner in front the fireplace or a playful romp in the yard with the kids. At the heart of hygge is the forging of a bond between people. And for parents, this is the ultimate way to bond with your kids.
Hygge and gentle parenting
At the core of gentle parenting is the desire to create deep and strong bonds with our children. Practicing hygge creates the perfect environment for that to occur. Without the distractions of technology, dial it back a bit and really connect and focus.
Ideas to practice hygge with your children
Need a few ideas?
Through practicing hygge, you are intentionally acting in a way that strengthens the bond with your children. If you have a lot of distractions in your life, it may be hard at first to practice hygge, but after consciously practicing it, you'll see the difference in your family.
What ways do you practice hygge? We'd love to hear your thoughts!
Ahh, summer! A time for sunscreen, barbecues, pool trips, and toes in the sand. And books. Don't forget the books. What's summer without a reading list?
Here's my list (so far):
1. Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
Why am I reading this: I like unusual books, and this one is written as a series of letters from an aspiring writer who has a serious book obsession.
2. ToddlerCalm: A Guide for Calmer Toddlers & Happier Parents by Sarah Ockwell-Smith
Why am I reading this? Because of this line right here: "It may be hard to parent a toddler, but it is so much harder to be a toddler." Part of the journey of life requires us to walk in other people's shoes (i.e. empathy) but we often forget to walk in the littlest shoes. I'm on a mission to make sure I'm doing the best job I can as a mama, and to me, that means always working on being better. "Better" is not an endpoint, but a continual journey as I learn to love and raise my kids better and better each day.
3. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
Why am I reading this? Well, I haven't opened this one yet. It's in my kindle so I know it's coming soon, and I cannot wait. I read The Cuckoo's Calling, the first of the Cormoran Strike series, and was mesmerized. The Silkworm is the next in this series.
4.The Paris Wife by Paula McClain - Again, this book is loaded in my kindle but not yet started.
This book is about the love between Ernest Hemingway and his wife, Hadley. It won the GoodChoice awards for historical fiction, and I just so happen to love historical fiction so I am excited to read this.
UPDATE: Finished this and was not disappointed. If you love historical fiction, go for it!
I just know this list will triple in length by the end of the summer!
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"Mama, will you play with me? Mama, stop typing. Please play sand with me."
Those sweet little words from a three year old revolutionized the way I view time. What am I doing with each second? I'm certainly not living in each moment the way a child does. He lives in each moment with reckless abandon; after all, the present moment is all he experiences. Children live in the present, the here and now.
His words made me stop. I froze. I thought about time and the way I use it. I want to be more like him.
It's one of the very few things that money cannot buy. You can't hurry it up, slow it up, get rid of it, or get more of it.
But you can waste it, squander it, cherish it, savor it, soak it in. You care in control of how you use it.
You cannot ignore time; our lives are set by it. We awake each day by a clock; a clock dictates our work day, our eating schedules; we make plans with a clock at the center. "I'll meet you at 6 at the pub." "Your doctor appointment is scheduled for 10:30 am." The clock rules our lives.
But only if you let it.
Why not... try something different. What if YOU controlled the clock? What if you told the clock how it would work for you, not the other way around? How, you say?
By never wasting one second. Time cannot be your enemy when it is your friend. And it all starts with a simple mind set change. Rather, than see time as a cruel master driving our day, what if you looked at time as a gift. A beautiful wonderful gift from God. And beautiful wonderful gifts are not enemies; we cherish those gifts and make sure no harm comes to them. The same goes for time.
It is a gift.
"When a little girl rescues a strange beast from the woods, she takes him home. But for some reason, the little beast is not happy! There are two sides to every story, and this funny and charming tale is no exception. Author/illustrator Fiona Roberton offers both points of view in this discussion-starting tale of the importance of seeing the world in different ways."
A Tale of Two Beasts
This week's book review showcases an illustrated children's book A Tale of Two Beasts by Fiona Roberton.
Although I bought this book for my three year old for Christmas, it quickly became one of my favorites. I read it to my sister and she too was quick to state that she wants her own copy. What sort of children's book captivates two grown women? One that teaches a lesson that all of humanity could benefit from - the same lesson we've heard over and over since childhood: Don't judge someone until you walk a mile in their shoes. Every story has two sides, and you never know what the other person is going through.
Often, it is much easier to learn a lesson when we can see what the lesson looks like. What does it look like to not judge someone until you walk in their shoes? What does it look like to try and see someone else's perspective? That's the great thing about stories. Stories use examples to teach us lessons; it's why stories are such great tools for learning.
Roberton's book does not disappoint. In an unique story telling method, she does more than tell a story; she shows the story. She shows exactly what it looks like to see the two sides of a story. We see a little girl who mercifully rescues a sad little wolfie from the woods, but then we see the (not sad) beast who was ruthlessly kidnapped and whisked away from his beloved woodsy home. Two sides: one story.
It's a lesson we all could implement just a little bit more in our lives. Being aware of someone else's journey helps us use a little more mercy and a little more kindness in our interactions.
What's in your book queue?
Let us know what you're reading to your kids!
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Three years ago, my family and I were on a retreat - not as participants but as leaders. During one small group exercise, we began to have a conversation about consciences. Although we talked about many things, the main idea kept coming back to one point: our consciences are not megaphones, but rather they are tiny little whispers coming from within. Of course, those little whispers are easy to ignore at first, but slowly and steadily, like The Tell Tale Heart, they become impossible to ignore.
That being said, I think I was there on that retreat for a reason. Like I said, I was there as a leader, not a participant, but I ended up getting answers to a question that had been nagging me for quite some time.
And I had the answer all along... I only had to listen in the silence. This is why so many people seek nature in times of stress or turmoil. Our daily lives can be so noisy and distracting that we fail to hear our own thoughts. How can we learn anything or make good decisions when we can't even think? Nature and silence allow our own thoughts to be heard. When we can hear those, we can hear our soul, our heart.
What answers are you looking for? Are you waiting for the megaphone or neon sign to illuminate your path? Maybe, like mine, your answer has been there all along... in the silence and calmness of your heart.
Today is a guest blogger from ... 2010?! Yep, the following is a blog post I wrote in 2010. Oddly, yet in a perfectly circular way, this still applies 100% to today. Enjoy this blast from the past!
"I'm going to start a new blog. This one is about my life - my experiences as a newlywed, a student, a preschool teaching assistant. I'm at a crossroads in life... things are changing a lot. I don't mean that in a bad way either. I just got married, just started a new job, and am trying to finish my last semester of my undergraduate degree. So I figured, I would share my life experiences because I'm sure I'm not the only person in the world who is trying to get her life going in the right direction.
I guess I'll start with my reason for the name of the blog. "A Time For Daffodils" is my favorite poem... there's a time for everything. Everything has a reason. This relates perfectly to my life. There is a time for everything. It's time for me to be part of the "real world." There was a time when I could carelessly waste my summer days and chase down the ice cream man, but my time for that is over... until I'm chasing my kids who are chasing down the ice cream man. Haha.
Anyway, there's a time for everything. I hope that this blog can give guidance to others who are learning the challenges of "growing up." We all have to do it, but it's nice when you know someone else is going through the same thing.
I think it is a very profound poem... it has a slightly different structure than what we normally see with poems because of the parentheses... I know im a geeky English major but I just got really excited when I figured it out so i wanted to share it with you. "
a time for daffodils
in time of daffodils(who know
the goal of living is to grow)
forgetting why,remember how
in time of lilacs who proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so(forgetting seem)
in time of roses(who amaze
our now and here with paradise)
forgetting if,remember yes
in time of all sweet things beyond
whatever mind may comprehend,
remember seek(forgetting find)
and in a mystery to be (when time
from time shall set us free)
forgetting me,remember me
Are you at a fork in the road? What helps you make decisions as you travel on your path? Comment below- we'd love to hear!
Monday... Monday was a typical Monday - stressful, exhausting, you know the drill. I kept working though because I knew that my hard work was going to pay off. Nothing worthwhile ever comes easily.
As I was finally hopping into bed, I felt compelled to share my motivation with others. After all, it was this following sentiment that got me through a rough Monday, and I thought others would benefit as well.
It's true - if you want something, GO GET IT!
And I'm learning to listen to my own advice!
I've wanted The Freedom Journal from the moment I heard about it. It's a journal created by John Lee Dumas of EOfire, and it's aimed at helping you achieve your #1 goal in 100 days. Anyone who knows me knows that I love books, lists, journals, diaries. It had "Katie" written all over it. I FINALLY bought one and have not looked back. I cannot wait to see where it leads me.
What is your #1 goal? What would you do if I said you could accomplish in 100 days?Would you take the journey?
Wife & Mama with a passion for peaceful parenting, natural living, homeschooling... and my daily café au lait.