Raising Happiness

 

May Your Holiday Glass Be Half Full…

December 23, 2008 | The Main Dish, Posts with Videos | 1 comment

Though this is a stressful time of year – this year perhaps more than ever – it is finally time to kick back and enjoy our families over the holidays. Two things to remember:

  1. A crazy pile of presents isn't going to make your kids lastingly happy, so let it go if that last gift you ordered online never came. (Or if you weren't able to buy gifts this year.) Kids who focus on materialistic stuff aren't as happy as others, and they are more likely to get sick and have behavior problems. Use this time to refocus kids on the things that really matter.

  2. Time with you, their loving and joyful parents, IS quite likely to contribute to their long-term well being. What kids really want, and need, is your love and attention. (Yes, even your moody teenagers.) The holidays spawn loads of family traditions—baking cookies, picking out a tree, caroling, parties to catch up with people you love, watching Christmas specials on TV, lighting the Menorah. Family traditions and togetherness DO offer lasting happiness. Social scientists have studied this specifically, and they've found that the people who spend more time with family (and also those who have more religious experiences) during the holidays are happier than those who focus on gifts.

If you are a part of the 1 million plus people loving Kelly Corrigan right now (because you watched the video in my last posting about strong women), you'll like this holiday video about her family's holiday traditions. (I'm it in too, espousing the science of raising happy kids over the holidays.)


How to Make Your Holidays Happy

© 2008 Christine Carter, Ph.D.

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Video — Transcending: Words on Women & Strength

December 19, 2008 | Posts with Videos | 2 comments

Sorry to those who subscribe to the blog via email and couldn't see the embedded video in the last posting, Strong Women, Close Friends. Here is the link: Transcending: Words on Women & Strength by Kelly Corrigan

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Strong Women, Close Friends

December 17, 2008 | The Main Dish, Posts with Videos | 0 comments

"Throughout our lives, friends enclose us, like pairs of parentheses," writes National Book Award nominee Beth Kephart. "They shift our boundaries, crater our terrain. They fume through the cracks of our tentative houses, and parts of them always remain…Friendship asks and wants, hollows and fills, ages with us and we through it, cradles us, finally, like family. It is ecology and mystery and language, all three."

I have been blogging about the importance of strong social connections for happiness for a month now, maybe more, and all the science in the world probably doesn't illustrate just how darn meaningful friends are for a life well lived as this little video by Kelly Corrigan does. It is moving, I think, because it is true: the support — emotional, practical — we get from our friends buffers us from stress and anxiety and depression (science bears this out, of course). Our friends help us turn difficult and painful moments into meaningful ones flooded with love and compassion. They help us celebrate the good times, drawing out the pleasure that comes with life's joys.

What does this have to do with raising happy kids? EVERYTHING. Our grown-up friendships, especially the really meaninful ones, model for our children what we want them to have throughout their lives.

I hope you enjoy this video — the last minute still makes me weep and I've seen it 50 times. Forward it to all of the amazing women in your life, those who make it possible for you to transcend the mundane or the painful so that you might lead a life worth living.

Transcending: Words on Women & Strength by Kelly Corrigan

If you are a big Kelly Corrigan fan, check out our video series on the right hand side of the GreaterGoodParents.org homepage. (Also: buy her book, The Middle Place. It is a terrrific memoir very relevant to parents!)

© 2008 Christine Carter, Ph.D.

Join the Campaign for 100,000 Happier Parents by signing this simple pledge.

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Follow Christine Carter on Twitter

Subscribe to the Happiness Matters Podcast on iTunes.

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