Parent Magazine St. Johns May 2019 - Page 11

LAUGH. Family life can be funny. Kids say hilarious things. Pay attention and write those gems down. Next time you need a lift, read them. Need more ideas? Look at funny family videos or photos, hang out with lighthearted friends, watch a silly movie or read a humorous book. FOLLOW A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE. Studies find that people who lean on an inner belief system are happier. You don’t have to be religious to be spiritual. You can feel a connection to spirituality through helping others, nature, yoga, music, art, personal meditation or journaling. Michelle Hovick, a mom of one, says the “Elevation” church app is one of her favorite spiritual gateways to a mood shift. PRACTICE GRATITUDE. In a gratitude study at Eastern Washington University, researchers found a positive correlation between gratitude and happiness. “We have found that grateful individuals tend to be happy individuals and that grateful thinking improves mood,” the researchers reported. Try writing down three things you are thankful for each day––small moments count too. GET A GROOVE ON. Whether she participates in a Jazzercise class or switches on upbeat dance tunes in her kitchen, Jessie Mallicoat, a mom of three, says, “If I'm in a bad mood, I put on some ‘dancy’ music and it usually helps.” In fact, studies find that dancing boosts the body’s feel-good endorphins. Dancing has even been found to reverse depression and increase self-confidence. Set boundaries. Moms who are happier make conscious decisions on a daily basis about who and what is allowed into their lives. Switching to this way of thinking is empowering. You don’t have to be harsh or hurtful to accomplish this goal. Politely decline invitations that don’t fit with your priorities and limit interactions with negative individuals. ACCESS GOOD CHILDCARE. Seek reliable childcare in order to feel secure pursuing personal interests, maintaining routine health check-ups and enjoying date nights with your partner. A positive marriage contributes to the overall emotional health and happiness of your family. Having trouble finding a sitter? Check out, or ask other parents for references. AVOID COMPARISON. Parenting philosophies that work well in one family may not work well in another. Thanks to the influx of information at our fingertips, parents have no shortage of advice. Decide which strategies make sense for your family. And beware of spending too much time on social media if you’re starting to feel like you don’t measure up. “Being happy with yourself and how you parent is key to accepting other moms and how they parent, which creates a more supportive parenting community all around,” says Mandy Yokim, mom of two. Freelance journalist, Christa Melnyk Hines and her husband are the parents of two boys. She finds happiness in historical romance novels, sunny days and chocolate chip cookies. Christa is the author of Confidently Connected: A Mom’s Guide to a Satisfying Social Life. S T. J O H N S parent M A G A Z I N E | 11