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2018 Oct

What's Your H.Q.?

Surprisingly, most people don’t talk about how happy they are. When we do start a conversation about being happy, we can better understand each other’s values and goals.

What is your Happiness Quotient these days? Have you stopped to think about how happy you are (or aren’t) lately? What about your kids? Do you ever talk about happiness with them? Like, what does happiness mean? And who are the happiest people you know and why? And how happy are you? And if you’re not very happy, what do you need to be happy?

These questions are pretty fundamental, but surprisingly most people don’t talk about how happy they are. When we do start a conversation about being happy, we can better understand each other’s values and goals.

Our country’s Declaration of Independence says life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are among our unalienable rights. Notice it says pursuit of happiness. We have to seek it in order to find it.

Happiness is something we all want. So maybe we should pay more attention to getting it. We have to start by figuring out what makes us happy.

Here’s a fun rainy-day activity for your family. Everyone starts by making a list of the things that make them happy. Be specific. Once everyone has a list, you can share it with each other. Maybe come up with some categories for what makes you happy, like people, activities, and things, and see which category is emphasized more.

Next you can talk about ways to fill your lives with more happiness. This can involve goal setting. For example, if riding horses makes your daughter happy, then you can discuss how she can incorporate horseback riding into her schedule. Maybe she has to babysit to earn money for lessons. Or maybe she has to give up another activity that doesn’t make her as happy in order to have time for riding. If your son likes to go fishing, then talk about how he can fit in more rod-and-reel time.

This activity can also open up discussions about ways we spend our time that don’t make us feel happy and fulfilled. How can we “reboot” our routines to ensure that we are enjoying life more—not less? Even something as unpleasant as cleaning house can become more enjoyable if we play our favorite music or plan a special reward for when our chores are finished. It’s all about attitude.

The last step is to get some poster board, markers, magazines, and glitter—gotta have some bling!—and everyone can make a collage or vision board, where you can draw or paste pictures of the things that make you happy. These posters become concrete reminders to keep the pursuit of happiness prominent in our day-to-day lives.

Hope these ideas inspire you and your loved ones to discover more happiness this month. It’s out there waiting for you. All you have to do is find it!

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and co-publisher of Tidewater Family and Tidewater Women magazines. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.

Website: www.peggysijswerda.com

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