Science has a lot to say about how we live our lives. Being a part of a family, whatever that looks like, is one of life’s ultimate sources of happiness. Families provide a sense of meaning and belonging.
However, it’s hard to put joy at the forefront of our family life when we’re surrounded by piles of washing, belligerent teenagers, or a toddler with a crayon and a penchant for wall-art. Luckily, science has some ideas on how you can focus on the positive experiences and make those the center of your family life. By putting one or all of these research findings into practice, you can enhance yours and your loved ones’ happiness, even when you’ve discovered your toddler’s latest masterpiece. So go on, find yourself some joy.
1 | Hang it up
Displaying family photos around the home used to be common. Now we’re more likely to take thousands of photos but not display them on our shelves and walls.
Children feel good about themselves when they see themselves in photos. A study found that when children took pictures of themselves and regularly viewed them, they experienced an increase in self-esteem. Seeing yourself represented as loved and important matters, especially in the safest place you have: your home. Children also need to see pictures of themselves with their family as it creates a sense of placement in the world. Children may feel more secure when they know where they belong and who their people are.
Seeing photos of happy times in prominent places around the house reminds children of those good feelings associated with their families. Nostalgic photos can make people feel calm, always a bonus in a household with children. It’s not enough to take thousands of photos of our kids and keep them tucked away on phones and laptops, we need to display them in our homes in order to truly benefit from them.
2 | Experiences, not stuff
Plenty of research has been conducted into what makes a person happy. A lot of people assume that buying stuff rather than having experiences will assist with this, the reason being that stuff lasts longer and can hypothetically bring you joy long after the suntan or the overpriced cocktail has disappeared. However, science disagrees.
The joy of stuff is only temporary and we require a new kick (new stuff) fairly quickly. What does last is experiences. Holidays and experiences with our families form both part of our self-identity and part of…