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15 Things Happy Families Do Differently

15 Things Happy Families Do Differently

Family life can be challenging at times. There are so many people’s feelings, lives, and emotions to consider along with your own. Not to mention, you expect them to be considerate of you! But creating a happy family doesn’t have to be a big chore or cause a lot of fights. Call a family meeting and gather around your computer screen to read these fifteen tips and find out what happy families do differently.

1. They each choose to be part of the family.

Families don’t work if certain members don’t want to be there. Being a family is like being a team – you’re together for better or for worse. Each member needs to make a conscious decision to be a part of the family, and that means to do their part, being considerate of everyone else in the family.

2. They build strong social ties.

Families are teams and need to stick together, sure, but they also need to build strong social ties. Don’t just wave at your neighbors as you go by – stop and have a conversation! Attend church or community organizations together and make friends from the same central location. Know each other’s friends – at least their names and defining characteristics, so you not only know who your family is spending time with, but can ask questions that go deeper than, “Did you have a good time?”

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3. They stick together through the good and the bad.

You can’t ditch your family just because the going gets tough. You might think your parents are getting too intrusive and want to hole up in your room, or your kid might be getting on your last nerve, but you have to stick together and work it out. You can’t call yourself a family only when things are good.

4. They are allowed to be true to themselves.

Just because you’re all a part of the same family doesn’t mean you all have to be the same person. If your oldest child is into soccer, don’t force your youngest to play too, especially if they seem more into art. While doing things together, like going on hikes or vacations, is always beneficial, don’t force anyone to have an interest they don’t feel naturally, just because the rest of the family does.

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    5. They make quality time for each other.

    Speaking of going on hikes and vacations together, spending quality time together as a family is crucial for happiness. You can’t feel happy as a family if you’re never together! Quality time doesn’t have to mean that you’re out spending money at a game or museum. Quality time can be as simple as having dinner together once a week, or cleaning the house together every Saturday.

    6. They go out of their way for each other.

    You’ve seen the movies where the bigger brother sticks up for his sibling who’s being bullied. It’s heartwarming, right? That’s how families are! They stick up for each other. They go out of their way for each other. You have to love each other every day (regardless of how unlovable some members may seem at times) and sacrifice your own feelings for the good of others.

    7. They take responsibility for their own happiness.

    You can’t depend on anyone else to make you happy. This goes for friends, partners, and family. You have to be able to find happiness in yourself before you can bring anything to the family. Depending on others just means you’re putting unreasonable demands on them, and potentially damaging their own happiness. If every member of the family focuses on keeping themselves happy, then that’s all they’re bringing to the table – happiness! Think of how enjoyable family dinners can be when no one is moping and everyone is smiling.

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    8. They keep promises.

    You can’t depend on anyone if you can’t depend on family. If you’ve promised to sit front row center at your child’s holiday performance, you better be there. If you promised your parents that you’d improve your grades, you better study hard! Keep your promises to family so they’ll know you’re reliable. On the flip side, also make sure that you’re making promises you can keep. Don’t get in over your head and find yourself floundering to prove yourself to a family member.

    9. They are patient.

    Don’t expect everything all at once. Change takes time, and family members should understand this and be patient. It might take time for your child to realize he needs to fold and put away his laundry. It might take a few reminders before everyone picks their damp towels up from the bathroom floor. Losing your cool and yelling never helps; be patient and kind and you family will want to change to help out you – and the family as a whole!

    10. They forgive.

    You might have to grovel to get your friends or partners to forgive you when you slip up, but families don’t hold grudges. These are the people who are with you day in and day out. They know you better than anyone, and they know you’re human. Everyone makes mistakes, so family, who truly loves you, is going to understand a slip up and forgive you and keep loving you.

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    11. They use caring words to communicate.

    Families don’t use harsh words to cut each other down. They don’t fuss or nag to get their points across. They use caring words to communicate. This fosters an environment of love and support in the home, so everyone knows that they can speak their mind and be heard without starting a fight, as well as being able to take anything spoken at face value, not as a hidden critique.

    12. They share their emotions.

    It’s natural to want your own space in your home, but don’t close yourself off too much. Happy families share their emotions. This will help create a happy home because each family member will know how the others are feeling. If there is good news to be celebrated, it will be shared. If there’s a problem that can’t be overcome by one person alone, that can also be shared. Your family is your best support system – take advantage of that, and be there for them.

    13. They are each other’s biggest cheerleaders.

    Families support each other. They rally behind the others when they have a tough test or major presentation. They help build each other up when confidence is needed, and keep each other from falling too far if something doesn’t go as planned.

    14. They all pitch in.

    There’s more to family life than a chore chart – though that can be important, too! Family members need to pitch in regarding all aspects of life. If everyone has assigned chores around the house, one member won’t feel like all the demands fall on their shoulders. Pitching in can also include anything from being available for emotional support to helping find car keys on a busy morning.

    15. They practice gratitude.

    When your family members pitch in, remember to show some gratitude! Just because you’re all related and live together doesn’t mean you can take each other for granted. Always let your family know how much you appreciate them and love them.

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    Last Updated on August 13, 2020

    12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

    12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

    As a mediation teacher, I am constantly confronted with these two questions regarding the benefits of meditation:

    1. Why can’t I enjoy the benefits of meditation continuously?

    I ask back: Is it maybe because you see mediation as a technique, performance, or some exclusive activity? The answer is: yes!

    Or, because your mind is constantly evolving on the past negative attachments and traditional habits? After careful thinking they answer: yes, probably!

    Although meditation is very simple and challenging at the same time, in the above mentioned case, it’s not easy to benefit from meditation, especially when approached with the idea that it has to be learned, studied, or applied. Meditation is to be seen as a natural, mental cleansing process that happens on a basis of awareness on a moment-to-moment experience. When that takes place, the benefits of meditation are continuous.

    2. What is the purpose of meditation?

    The purpose of meditation is to accomplish a level of consciousness for mastering the mind and uniting with the finest, deepest, and subtlest part of yourself as a being.

    It is a conscious process of observation of the mind—helping the meditator to understand the structure of its mind and the quality of its content. During this process, countless benefits of a physical, mental, and spiritual/philosophical nature arise for the meditator.

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    Meditation as a Fixer and Benefactor

    In this article we’ll have a look at the primary and the ultimate benefits of mediation, which improve your body and mind at the same time. For the sake of clarity, readability, and tangible experience, I have separated the benefits into three groups.

    You can change just about anything you don’t like about yourself (psychologically, as well as physically) through meditation. However, this is only possible with a specific approach, when your brain allows the benefits of meditation to do their work.

    This means not to interrupt the benefit with other thoughts, but to let their effect implement itself in your body and mind. This approach is crucial.

    The following exercises will make you feel the benefits of meditation instantly, but the continuity of the benefits of meditation on your body and mind depend on the discipline of your brain, how you manage external stimuli and your thoughts.

    Less Physical, More Psychological

    Even though the practice of meditation is more psychological and less physical, the first benefit we’re going to experience is both physical as well as mental.

    This benefit happens literally immediately, right at the moment of meditation. It is the essence of mediation basically.

    The First Benefit of Meditation

    The first benefit of meditation is twofold:

    1. Improving inward attention (sharpening the mind)
    2. Relaxation of the body

    Let’s do it right now. This benefit consists of only one step, and it is very simple to perform. It goes like this:

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    Sit still and pay attention to your exhalation.

    That’s it! Technically, the whole journey into the world of mediation begins here and nowhere else. And right here, you benefit from this step in the following way:

    When you pay attention to the flow of your exhalation (gentle, deep, effortless exhalation), your body begins with the process of relaxation instantly (your heart rate slows down, your nervous system calms, and tension in your muscles is relieved).

    When the nervous system calms, your mind calms down, and, more specifically, less thoughts are produced by your mind. How, exactly? By applying one of the most valuable mental skills—attention—the mind follows the breathing and has no space and time to generate any other thoughts. Only when the attention goes off the breath, other thoughts are constructed, and the mind is accelerating with thought production again.

    Keeping the First Benefit Effective and Ongoing

    Here you apply the approach of not letting the relaxation and attention process get interrupted; rather let the effects of these benefits implant in your body and mind as deeply as possible.

    This is to say, the instant relaxation and inward attention happen at the same time when you follow the flow of your breath. Repeating this process—creating a constant rhythm out of the breathing and the attention—you create a process of meditation.

    Keep your attention on the flow of your breath and see how the calmness of body and mind begin to rule your present moment. The longer you stay connected to your breathing, the stronger you’ll feel the benefit. Start with 3-5 minutes at a time without doing anything else, and increase to 10-20 minutes and onwards.

    Can you think of a better, simpler and quicker exercise that can relax the body and improve attention in this way, at this speed?

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    This benefit takes you to the second one.

    The Second Benefit of Meditation

    While still working with the first benefit of mediation, you slowly start to see the second benefit of mediation, which is fourfold. I call it the major value of mediation:

    1. Energy (physical and mental strength)
    2. Observance
    3. Peacefulness (stillness, and space of mind for deeper observation)
    4. Patience

    Peacefulness is the source of a blissful life. The energy is the fuel to express that blissfulness. Whatever we want to accomplish in life we need: 1) Physical and mental strength, 2) Observance of that energy, 3) Peacefulness—the calmness and stillness that creates space for freedom of being and creative thinking, and 4) Patience for the process of accomplishment.

    You can only get creative in thinking and boosted with physical and mental energy when you get in touch with the deepest levels of yourself—when you harmonize your mental and physiological activities. How do you do that? Let’s try it right now:

    This step involves the observation of the two separate movements of your breath. After paying attention on your exhalation, you have prepared your body and mind to really see and feel what true peacefulness and true energy means.

    1. Energy

    Keep your attention on your inhalation (inhaling gently, deeply and lightly) and feel the new energy (new oxygen) flowing in your body. The inhalation is the symbol for aliveness and vitality. It is the the primary act that connects the baby’s body with the outside world after coming out of the womb[1]. Each inhalation is a new opportunity for your body to revive, regenerate, and renew itself.

    2. Observance

    The observance comes during the process of meditation, enabling you to see the physiological benefits of introducing new energy to your body. Use that benefit by utilizing its effects, and create deeper observation into yourself. With every single inhalation, this observation will enable you to generate even more energy, mentally and physically.

    3. Peacefulness

    Keep your attention on your exhalation, and feel how, out of the relaxation, peacefulness is spreading throughout your whole body. The exhalation is the symbol for relaxation and peacefulness. Only through meditation can you realize what absolute peacefulness means.

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    4. Patience

    The meditation delivers the previous benefits to you immediately and opens up the possibility for many other benefits and great virtues. A specific one to mention, which is essential for reaching the ultimate benefits of meditation, is patience. If you have experienced the aforementioned benefits, it means that you have invested a certain amount of patience into mastering yourself and your mind.

    The Ultimate Benefits of Meditation

    Patience is a key quality when it comes to the ultimate benefits of meditation.

    Since the mind is the tool that reveals everything, mediation is the method for the proper utility of the tool.

    The above mentioned benefits of mediation lead to the ultimate benefits of mediation—qualities that depict what makes a human being human. As you dwell in a meditative state of being, the following benefits begin to emanate:

    • Diligence: the persistence for righteous effort to reach an intrinsic value; inner strength.
    • Temperance: to express self-control and show excellence in managing the physio-biological and mental necessities
    • Courage: using righteous effort and braveness to look into the weaknesses of yourself and at the hardship of your life, endure it and patiently overcome the obstacles
    • Loving kindness and Compassion – a capacity to care, understand, and tolerate other people’s state of being, wishing them freedom from suffering.
    • Wisdom: the moment when you feel that mediation gives you the feeling and the knowledge that what you do relating to life and practical affairs is just.
    • Equanimity: that puts you in a state of composure, and you experience an ongoing blissful state of being.

    These are the 6 ultimate benefits of meditation that put your body and mind in a state of health and balance.

    Final Thoughts

    Mediation exists to put order in your mind and awaken the best of you, to reconnect you to your goodness and your inborn intelligent capabilities.

    Meditation is the window to your true Self. It gives you a panoramic view of your heart’s greatness. It shows you the true meaning of love, freeing you from the dungeons of ignorance and despair. The power of meditation dismantles the evil that’s trying to cloud the beauty of your heart.

    Your heart, body, and soul are the bridge over which the challenges of life frequently carry their heavy load. Meditation is the support of that bridge. Make use of that support.

    More on Meditation

    Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Medline Plus: Changes in the newborn at birth

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