10 Open Secrets to Family Health and Happiness

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”. Leo Tolstoy’s famous line from Anna Karenina is deep, although nothing can be perfect in this world, and even the happiest-looking family can have its own distinct sources of distress. The real difference between happy and unhappy families is that happy families face their problems as a cohesive unit with a positive attitude.

10 Open Secrets to Family Health and Happiness

Physiological health is elementary for familial well being; but the emotional state of family members and their relationships with each other are equally important. A family seldom becomes happy overnight. It takes time and consistent efforts to forge the emotional adhesiveness that binds families together. There are rules to be followed and routines to be observed; but at the end of the day, it’s all worth the effort, because families can either be resources for support or sources of stress. Here are 10 open secrets for building a healthy, happy family.

1. Encourage Healthy Eating Habits: It might be hard to persuade your kids to take their veggies, but you can condition them to eat healthy if you are yourself a healthy eater. Kids take after their parents, so if you’d rather prefer a beef steak, don’t expect your children to take broccoli.

2. Exercise Together: There’s no better way of ensuring your family’s health and happiness than doing physical activities together. Go for cycling or hiking or swimming as a family; join a gym or yoga classes together; play basketball or cricket in your backyard or go to a skating rink—do anything, but do it often.

3. Take your Dinner Together: Taking your meals as a family at fixed meal times will reduce snacking and unhealthy eating, apart from giving you the opportunity to talk to each other.

4. Avoid Eating in TV Room: Taking your food while watching TV disturbs digestion, and snacking during TV hours adds unnecessary calories to your family’s diet. Declare your TV lounge a no-eating zone to discourage unhealthy eating behaviour.

5. Inculcate Better Sleeping Habits: Sleep-deprived children can have cognitive and behavioural problems. Condition your kids to go to bed early, so they can have a good night’s sleep, and you can have some precious grown-up time.

6. Hug and Kiss a Lot: Physical contact may seem superfluous to some, but hugs and kisses express the warmth of your feelings towards each other. Children need lots of hugs to grow up well, and you and your spouse can definitely use some yourselves.

7. Value Each Other: Take interest in each other genuinely. Ask your kids about their day at school. Encourage sharing your problems and appreciate each other’s achievements. Reward your kids for good behaviour.

8. Minimize Uncertainty: Your kids feel secure when things are predictable. Try to set routines that minimize uncertainty. Establish bedtimes, meal-, TV-, and play-times. Never try to bulldoze your schedule on your kids, but be gentle, rational and firm in getting your point across about having routines.

9. Have Fun as a Family: Go out often for picnics, fishing trips, or any other fun activity that all of you enjoy. However, you don’t necessarily have to go outdoors to have fun. Playing indoor games like cards, scrabble or even PlayStation with your kids can be a lot of fun. Having fun together encourages openness and forges trust.

10. Keep Your Family Your Top Priority: Too many people work longer and harder thinking they are doing this for their families, while actually they are doing it out of their own ambition. Remember, it’s your presence that you family needs more than anything else.

Keep your wishes under check—happiness mostly lies in simple things.

Dr Garry J McCLean is a health and safety consultant and writes for The Workplace Depot website about health issues.

Editorial Team
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