75% of all mental health starts before a child is 18; this is a great concern to myself and many other parents. You may be asking, ‘how can I help my child with this?’ Well, there are some simple tools which I am going to outline below.
A beautiful thing you can do with your children is teach them an attitude of gratitude, this is proven to not only make them happier but can actually rewire your brain, and its kind of hard to be sad while focusing on gratitude. Writing 3 things you’re grateful for daily for 21 days can actually rewire your brain. Research shows that practising gratitude deepens relationships, increases happiness, and improves physical and mental health.
How smiling helps us make the feel good chemical
Researcher’s had proven that intentionally exercising your cheek muscle and eyelids muscle can actually make us feel better. How? By holding a pencil with your teeth, or simply, smiling on purpose daily!
So, what is going on in our brains when we smile? Imagine we are in an amazing situation, like winning the lottery, learning a new skill or getting a hug. When our brains feel happy, the feel good chemical is produced and neuronal signals are transmitted to your facial muscles to trigger a smile. This is the start of the positive feedback loop of happiness. When our smiling muscles contract, they fire a signal back to the brain, stimulating our reward system, and further increasing our level of the feel good chemical. In short, when our brain feels happy, we smile; when we smile, our brain feels happier.
Fake it till you make it! Yes, if you want to be happy, just smile. Thanks to the positive feedback loop of smiling, we can alter our brain’s emotional processing pathway to feel happier with a simple smile.
What is ‘Emotional Intelligence’ and why your child needs it
Emotional Intelligence is how you handle your own feelings and how well you can empathise and get along with others, it’s a key human skill that includes self-awareness, self-discipline and empathy. It has two different parts; The first is the ability to understand, identify and control your own feelings and the second has to do with ability to influence the emotions of others.
Why I think emotional intelligence is important for our children and us as parents:
It’s important to not allow our emotions to control our lives. When raising children, it can boil down to ‘do I want to help my child or hurt them?’ No parent is perfect but with effort and persistence, we can teach our children to be authentic and grow. Is it hard to always choose the right emotion and not go on and react to surrounding stressors? Yes, we are human but with time these things do get easier until one day it’s easy to not react and follow old patterns.
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