6 Secrets to Happiness for Teens and Youth
Why does happiness seem so difficult to achieve? And, as much as parents are trying to raise well-rounded and happy children, many of these kids will inevitably become unhappy adults.
I’m sure there is many reasons, but I always say we MUST actively teach our children that happiness isn’t based on the things that are destined to change over time or on the things that can be taken away from us at any given moment.
We live in a society that’s very much focused on pleasing the 5 senses with the things that only money can buy. We are focused on outdoing our neighbour to prove that we are better. We are focused on pushing our kids to outdo the neighbour’s kids. We are focused on pushing our kids to be the best that they can be in the area we have chosen for them.
It’s time to remember:
Life is not a competition. We cannot choose our kid’s career path based on the things important to us. We cannot chose our kid’s identities and interest. We cannot plan out our kids entire lives based on our ideas and beliefs of how life works. It’s time to spend time on the things that really matter.
It’s time to demonstrate to our kids that happiness is a state of mind that is nourished over time.
How do we do this?
Nourishing this mindset is not about telling our kids to “just be happy with what they have because there are a million of kids in the world who have much less.” This is too abstract for teens anyways. They only know the world as they see it.
Instead, we can teach youth (through words and our own example) to practice a lifestyle that will nurture this new thinking style.
Here are 6 secrets that breed a mental state of happiness. GUARANTEED!
- Be yourself: It’s hard to be yourself when you don’t know what to look for that will define who you are. The same is true of teens and youth who are just beginning to form a picture of their identity. Start with guiding your teens to understand their strengths, values, and interests. This is a part of building a picture of all the wonderful qualities that make up who they are.
- Do things you genuinely enjoy: Once your teen starts getting an idea of what he likes to do and what’s important to him provide opportunities for him to be a part of the activities he enjoys, activities that will foster his identity. Remind him that he can’t choose his passions… his passion has chosen him. It is his job to honour it.
- Hang out with people who Love YOU: Everyone has someone (or a group of ‘someones’) who doesn’t like them. Sometimes this dislike is warranted but many times it’s not. It’s important youth learn to let go of these negative people and hang out with those who love them and support them unconditionally. Family, friends, coaches are all examples of people who might fall into this category. Remember that everything naturally gravitates towards love (e.g., plants, animals, children and adults) and everything thrives when it receives a healthy dose of love.
- Be kind: There is nothing more pleasing to the heart than being kind to someone. And being kind without an ulterior agenda to someone on a regular basis has continually been shown to improve one’s level of well-being and happiness.
- Be thankful and appreciative: Yes, it’s true there are a lot of wonderful things out there in the world that your children don’t have and will probably never have. But there are also many many wonderful things they do have. It’s difficult to develop a state of happiness if their mind is trained to constantly focus on those things others have. It’ll leave them yearning, pining and feeling empty and disadvantaged. Instead make it a daily family practice to say one thing out loud everyone is thankful for.
- Move around: Our bodies evolved to be able to move. And with the movement of our bodies come the release of the good-feeling chemicals in our minds and bodies. As long as we spend a majority of our time unmoving, those chemicals stay dormant.
Best Wishes to Your Family