If you want to feel happier, sometimes it can be best to go back to basics and learn from those around us who seem happiest. In my life, that’s probably my 4 year old.
He seems to have happiness pretty much sussed.
We often believe that wisdom comes with age. But sometimes the years cause us to forget what’s really important, as we get bogged down in the details of how to worry, stress and feel grumpy. We can focus so much on teaching our kids the things we think we know, that we can forget how much they have to teach us.
So, just in case you’re up for remembering how to feel happier, here are 10 happiness secrets that my wee one would like to share with us “grown ups”!
- Ask for what you want
We often end up feeling frustrated, or even angry, because others can’t seem to second-guess what we really wanted. “Don’t ask, don’t Get!” is a mantra for my 4 year-old. If he wants something, he tells me. He doesn’t always get it, but he’s always honest about his needs – something vital for feeling happier.
- Say what you’re thinking
When did you last hear a kid do anything other than speak their mind? There’s no pretending; no half-truths (unless you’ve caught them doing something naughty!). Basically, speaking your truth – with compassion and a degree of wisdom – is an essential step towards feeling happier.
- I’ll cry if I want to
Little kids know how to express their emotions. They don’t hold back. Sure, that means that grown ups have to cope with tantrums in the supermarket, but have you ever noticed that, once the emotion is “out there”, kids let it go. Unlike adults, who can hold on to suppressed emotions, resentments and bitterness for decades. So the 4 year-old’s advice is to allow yourself to feel emotions, if you need to. Then let them go.
- You can wear your wellies, too
This one is about being yourself – and expressing the wonder of who you are in all that you do. So if that means wearing Paddington’s red wellies whenever you feel like it, do it! Who cares? And if it bothers you, you might want to check out the next point…
- Don’t care what anyone else thinks
There’s a wonderful time in childhood when we really don’t care what others think. We are so wrapped up in our own world that we don’t realise there are others out there (or in our heads!) judging what we look like or what we do. The thing is that we can go back to that experience whenever we choose. Simply let go of caring what others think about you. It can be truly liberating.
- Spend time with those you love
Have you ever noticed how young children gravitate towards those they love being with and avoid spending time those who make them feel miserable. Is there really any excuse for changing this, as we get older?
- Tell silly jokes
My 4 year-old is just starting to tell jokes. They’re not funny in the classic sense and almost always contain someone wearing a potty on their head, but they get him giggling hysterically, with the rest of us joining in. Laughter really can be the best therapy and looking for the funny side of things – no matter how bleak the situation may seem – can turn life around.
- Get creative
Sometimes we can get stuck in our heads, with problems and worries going round and round. How about jumping in and getting creative instead? Doing something completely different can activate the creative side of your brain and help you suddenly spot solutions that were previously hidden. The 4 year-old’s answer is usually making cakes with Grannie, making up stories with his toys or painting pictures. How about finding your own favourite creative release?
- If at first you don’t succeed…
When a child is learning to walk, they fall over a lot. They can’t quite co-ordinate the movements. Perhaps they don’t have enough muscle strength. Yet they keep on going, towards their dream of walking. They never give up hoping. They know they can do it. And we encourage them, excited by every faltering step. How about doing that for ourselves, with our grown-up dreams? Instead of giving up at the first hurdle and then beating ourselves up over it?
- Go and pick a daisy
As grown-ups, we rarely take time out to wonder at the beauty of the little things in life. Stopping to admire a sunset or marvel at the beauty of a tiny daisy can help us get things back into perspective, feeling happier, fast.
If you were a 4 year-old, what would your happiness secrets be? Perhaps you could share them with us, via the comments box, below? I’d love to hear from you!