Expand the good, and the good gets better?
OK, no judgment. I will start with that. But awareness is the first step to making positive, compassionate change inside, so I ask the tough questions. And truth, these are q's I ask myself as a parent, too.
How many times have you started the day rushing, complaining, focusing on alllll the many things you have to get done? I know, it's a lot. Maybe you start talking out loud to your partner, with your kids around, about all the things - the to-dos, the people, the annoyances, the frustrations, the worries, the headaches. And without realizing it, you've set the tone, rushed the morning, and brushed off 10 awesome things that happened in that hour together because you weren't in the present moment.
Big bummer. Happens to all of us. But here's the thing, we assume that when happy moments happen, we pay attention. Unfortunately, that's not exactly true.
I am not one to harp on the obvious but where we place our attention has a huge factor on our happiness. In other words, if we're not focused on the good, can we really feel good?
There are many ways that we are told to manage anxiety, work on the negative thoughts, flip our worries and build resilience. But what about finding ways to deal with and expand the good moments?
One of the easiest and happiest tips I have added to my Life Toolbox is Savouring.
The act of Savouring is a newly studied mindset tool that addresses how we focus on the good and expand good moments in time.
Think about these examples:
your child laughs and you sit with that memory in real time for a moment, take it in; or call someone to tell them about the silly, goofy smile you see in front of you.
you give your kid some awesome advice and have a great time connecting, then you give yourself a (literal!) pat on the back, saying "hey, good job!"
you focus on the senses, eating an ice cream with your family, actually be a kid enjoying every. single. last. bite. YUM!
play baseball with your family and you jump up and down, screaming joy when everyone hits the ball - effort over skill of course :)
you sit in the shower, bath or bed at the end of the night and think about the good moments that happened in the day, tagging, remembering, the little things - smiles, giggles, popsicles, bubbles, dirty feet, spills, jumps, high-fives, hugs - that remind you that you are doing a good job
All of these examples are ways you can be present, reflect and expand good moments and feelings. And guess what? When the brain gets this hit, it starts to search for more. Really, it will seek more of this good savoring, naturally, overtime.
Now I know that this simple task can be difficult. I know being in the present can be difficult in a busy household with lots to do. Our mind isn't organically designed to be present, call on good memories, or savor good moments. And our daily interactions as humans is a lot of times about past or future living - did you hear what happened? Are you ready for that test? What do you want to do this weekend? Can you believe it's going to rain this afternoon? I want that bag she's wearing, where can I get it? Are you ready for summer camp? Think that we will be in the same cabin? This makes it extra hard for us to stay in the good moments and really appreciate the good we have right now.
But please, don't let that discourage you. In fact let it fuel your well-being and moments of joy! Savouring present moment happiness has proven, backed-by-science benefits, of building stronger relationships with loved ones, increasing emotional intelligence, and really flexing the internal happiness muscle.
And lastly, the more you do this act and verbalize it with your family, the more they will get the benefits too. All of this can be done as a family, quickly, easily, with focused attention on the good.
Here are a few weekend prompts to help you out:
- How does your ice cream taste?
- Let's look at some old photos (good memories from when they were little)
- I love spending time with you in this moment doing...
- Top three memories from camp last summer?
Enjoy and expand this weekend x