I invite you to join me on this project and share your #contentedfamily moments…
Being content feels awesome. To feel content is to be at ease with the world and the moment you are in; the here and the now. How many of us though, put conditions on ourselves to determine how happy and content we actually are?
I will be happy when I get a new job.
I will be happy when finish decorating.
I will be happy when my husband learns to pick his pants up off the floor.
I will be happy when the baby sleeps properly (this is my personal favourite).
The reality is though, once you have that job, house, clean husband (apparently they do exist), then what next? If we never learn to be content and fulfilled with our life, how it is now, then nothing external will bring us the joy we desire.
There has been a lot of research done in this area. If we make a conscious decision to be happy and to look on the positive we can carve out more successful and contented lives. A leading positive phycology researcher from the University of North Carolina, Fredrickson, published a paper way back in 2008 in which she explored how the human brain deals with positive and negative thought.
In this well respected piece of research she discusses our need, as a species, for negative thoughts and emotions. They do serve a necessary and evolutionary purpose. If we are confronted with a danger that is literally life or death we need to focus 100%. Being afraid or anxious physically shuts our brain off from seeing other opportunities that could distract us from the immediate danger.
In our modern world though, we have less need for flight or fight reactions and yet we are bombarded by a fear focused media and daily stresses that cause the same processes in the brain. I have no doubt that the school run causes my brain to react in the same way as if I had just been confronted by a bear! Or at least it feels that way at 8.57am! The reality of this is it shuts our mind off from seeing opportunities for happiness and positive solutions to our problems.
The contented family project is my personal attempt to find joy in the everydayness of life. To look for solutions that will help me deal with those mum moments that make me want to literally scream. I am no expert but I will look for those who are and try to practically apply their advice to my own parenting tool box. I am also keen to hear tips from anyone who has found ways to bring more contentment into their family lives, so please share.
A big inspiration for this project is my children. Like most parents I know, I want my kids to be happy more than anything else, mastering trigonometry seems insignificant in comparison with emotional well-being. Despite this, as a society we invest so much time, attention and money, teaching them academic skills, but do we actually teach children to be happy?
The Contented Family Project aims to do just that. I want to teach my children how to manage their emotions by learning to manage mine first. When I feel happy and content I will know my mission is working and I aim to fill my everyday life with more of these moments.
These will be my #contentedfamily moments.