Impact of outlook
Research has shown that your mindset affects how things turn out. Worry, fear, anxiety, and negativity rarely improve outcomes and often create problems, resulting in bad examples for our children and how they relate to the world.
In “The How of Happiness,” Sonja Lyubomirsky says science has shown that while 50 percent of the difference in our happiness levels can be accounted for by genetics and 10 percent by circumstances, 40 percent is due to behavior, our daily intentional activities. We have a great capacity for control over our happiness and that can translate to our children.
Form a positive viewpoint
Count your blessings. Be thankful. Look on the bright side. You’ve heard them all. So how do we make ourselves grateful when we run up against challenges, setbacks, and stresses?
• Live like your life depended on it. Your health, wellbeing, perspective and ability to handle challenges are dependent on how you view life. Try a few new approaches. This can have a significant effect on you and on your children.
• Imagine a positive outcome. When you’re faced with a difficult problem at work, an opportunity to take on a new role, or a chance to join a new endeavor, anticipate a good result. Those who expect success have more chance of being successful.
• Appreciate events. Be grateful for the opportunities you receive, the connections you have, the chances you get. Every few days, try writing down what you are grateful for.
• Reach out to improve someone’s life. Connect with others. We were made to be in relation with others. Take a risk to make something better for someone. Extend yourself. Expand your friendships. Look for ways to help. It will reap rewards.
• Be satisfied. Stop reaching for possessions to make yourself happy. More is not always better. Appreciate what you have. Value your friends, family, and blessings of all sorts.
• Indulge in the daily. Focus on what you are doing, take time to really taste, touch, smell, hear and see during the day. Whether it’s a sunset, the scent of spring, that bowl of frozen yogurt with your daughter, the fresh breeze on your skin, reading to your child, or a meal with friends, be present.
• Focus on what’s important. Let go of the incidental. Don’t worry about the insignificant.
Happiness comes from the degree to which you feel and show appreciation and connect with others, not from money, position, possessions, or achievements. Your attitude can have a direct impact on your children and their ability to withstand challenges, recover from setbacks and generally succeed in life.
Tom Tozer and Bill Black are authors of “Dads2Dads: Tools for Raising Teenagers.” Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @dads2dadsllc. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.