PRACTISING THE HAPPINESS HABIT AT HOME
START YOUR DAY WITH A SMILE
When my baby was about six months old he still spent the night in a cot attached to our spousal bed. Aside from the practical benefits of having him so close at night one of the reasons I loved having him there was the gummy smile I got every single morning.
His smile made me smile. It still is one of the happiest memories of babyhood I keep close to my heart. So I have tried to take this lesson from my baby: a day that starts with a smile is a happy one. I take his smile and raise him my own! I make a point to greet every member of the family with a smile first thing in the morning and, unsurprisingly, I get a smile back in return. I’m not sure if this increases my sons’ well-being but I can feel my heart lift when we start our day like that.
SURROUNDED BY SMILES
I realise that some of our favourite family pictures are linked to this weird tradition that we have. We don’t visit shopping malls often, but when we do go to one of the ones close to us we have set up a tradition that we take a photo in the photo booth that they have there. The pictures now span several years from when Duncan and I were a carefree couple, to the arrival of Joe and then Oliver, as well as some extra strips with much-loved family members and friends (we take our guests to the booth too). It is a wonderful collection and the pictures are all truly happiness-capturing. They are mostly of smiley faces, but also some silly faces too. I catch myself smiling at these pictures every time I see them, so I decide to put them somewhere prominent and share them with the kids often. On the fridge they go!
A RITUAL OF HAPPY THOUGHTS
As I find myself more and more aware of when I smile (and when I don’t) I realise that a lot of the time my smiles are not only connected to what is happening in the moment, but are also linked to happy memories. I take the thought a little further: there are things, actions and phrases that I associate with people I love... Thoughts of my loved ones pop into my head every time I do any of the above actions... The thought of them unfailingly puts a smile on my face. It is not difficult to share these thoughts with my kids, in the hope that they too associate an action with a loved one. It is easy and ends up being lots of fun. It is also a way for me to share with my kids family traditions and stories that would otherwise be lost for ever.
TECH IT UP
Smilefy your mobile phone: pick a picture of a loved one with a smile on their face and make it your screensaver on your mobile phone. Every time you look to see if there’s a message, or even just look at the time, you should get a boost of happiness! On some phones you can go further and add pictures to your closest contacts – I have a lovely picture of my husband and youngest son set up so every time he calls they appear, all smiles.
Choose a joke app and put it on your mobile or tablet. You will get the joke of the day automatically to your device every morning and you can share a laugh with the whole family!