It is human nature to seek happiness, yet we struggle to define what happiness actually is, and how we know when we have attained it. Moreover, it can be different for every person. More than just the absence of distress, different psychologists and religious leaders have identified elements that are important generating happiness. Overarchingly, the consensus is that happiness is a process we need to cultivate within ourselves.
We believe that there are 5 pillars vital to teaching children and adults alike a positive path to mental and physical wellness that set us onto the right path of being happy.
Gratitude is a practice of positive psychology, moving away from the mindset of fear and conflict to shift our focus onto the presence of what we do have in our lives that brings us joy. This can be anything large or even seemingly insignificant, such as appreciation for the love of a pet, or the glimpse of sunshine in the sky. The more we practice gratitude, the more it becomes a state of being. Gratitude also physically affects us by releasing feel-good hormones (dopamine) and reducing stress hormones (cortisol). This in turn helps to lower our inflammation, blood pressure, and increase immunity.
As children grow, their lives become more and more complex. Building up our personal resources and strengths to be able to manage stress in our lives and develops our feeling of control and self-efficacy. We face challenges everyday. Learning how to deal adequately with them not only improves the situation but also our self-esteem.
Relationships are an integral part of being human; they are where we receive support, share joy and sadness, and learn about the world around us. A hallmark of healthy relationships is having empathy for the people around you; caring for another person and being able to put yourself in their shoes. Developing empathy is a matter of listening to others, having respect for their needs and sharing thoughts and feelings.
We experience many things and achieve many little goals throughout the day. Sometimes when they become routine, we tend to overlook them and forget them before the day is out. Practicing mindfulness gives greater awareness to what we are doing and how we are feeling. When we are more engaged we feel valuable and confident. When we are more aware of our body and our feelings, we understand our needs and values better.
Yoga is an all-encompassing form of self-care. We need to take care of ourselves to set the groundwork for us to be able to perform the other pillars, and to have the capacity to give to others. Yoga focuses on movement and breathing to help build strength, flexibility, and the release of toxins. Regularly practicing yoga encourages us to implement a routine of movement, sleep and nutrition to feel more balanced and grounded.