1) Happiness is not just about joy.
Happiness seems to be becoming a buzz word these days. But there's also differing schools of thought on the pursuit of happiness. Some say that the pursuit of meaning and purpose, not happiness, is the right way to go.
Yossi Ghinsberg, an adventurer, author, entrepreneur, humanitarian, and motivational speaker, says
I go for happen-ness. Because happen-ness means that I can deal with whatever that happens in my life.
In other words, being resilient. I'll talk more about resilience in another blog post, but for today's post, the key takeaway from Inside Out is that:
You don't have to feel and act happy all the time. It's perfectly normal and ok to have other emotions, including sadness. What's important is to accept those feelings as they come, and then let them go - like a wave. Do not try and coop them up or reject them, because then it becomes a suffering.
2) Don’t try to force happiness.
Did we unwittingly put pressure on our kids to be the happy child? Or subconsciously, getting them ice cream to "Cheer up"?
Experts say that a better way would be to deliberately carve out time for experiences that we personally enjoy. It could be playing a sport, making DIY crafts, watching a movie with the family.
Again, trying to be positive does not mean we deny negative feelings.
3) Sadness is vital to our well-being
Tough emotions like sadness, fear and anger tend to be uncomfortable, which is why many of us try hard to avoid them. But these are important emotions as through them, we can better understand ourselves and they form the basis of our connection with others.
But in encouraging kids to accept their feelings, we must also take great care to differentiate (and help kids differentiate) sadness and depression.
We need to create safe and trusting environments for children so they will feel safe asking for help if they feel sad or depressed.
4) Mindfully embrace—rather than suppress—tough emotions.
Don't say "You shouldn't feel like this".
A few years back, whenever I was upset, I would say "Let me be. I'll get over it" a fair bit. Little did I know, that would have an impact on how my kid addressed her emotions.
Rather than getting caught up in the drama of an emotional reaction, we can practise mindfulness by observing the emotion, and not judging whether it's the right or wrong emotion. Give it space to choose a healthy response.
Indeed, a 2014 study found that depressed teens and young adults who took a mindful approach to life showed lower levels of depression, anxiety, and bad attitudes, as well as a greater quality of life.
With this in mind, we've incorporated Mindfulness and Search Within Yourself modules in all our courses - so that kids don't just learn the hard tech skills, but the more critical soft ones. Check out the website