Play more with your kids. A New Year’s resolution? Maybe. But, many people fail grandly at New Year’s resolutions. Planning to create some new habits instead re-frames goals so that you are more likely to succeed. Here’s more on how that works.
Automatic is Easier
Habit is just a behavior that has become automatic through repetition. It takes away extra decision making and conserves energy. It’s easier to do something once it has become a habit. It becomes the norm and it doesn’t take very long to turn something into a habit. If a new behavior is fun and makes you feel good, calm, healthier, happier, more successful you are much more likely to turn it into a habit. So, play more with your kids, for fun and health and happiness.
Laughter and Eating Vegetables
Laughter is the partner of play. It lowers blood pressure, stimulates the immune system, and oxygenates the blood by making us breath harder. It also stimulates the flow of lymph, the substance which carries toxins out of the body and contains white blood cells for fighting infections. Playing with your children is bound to produce laughter because, well, all those silly Knock Knock jokes they make up are hysterical. Laughter also increases endorphins in the brain. So, laughter every day.
Eating more vegetables might not directly relate to laughter, but it WILL make you and your family feel better, be less sick, and live well for longer. Remember the “Try for Five” approach to eating fruits and vegetables? Five a day. Now we are encouraged to eat six to eight servings a day, which is not impossible. One or two at breakfast – Fruit Loops don’t count. Morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack – one each. One or two with dinner. That’s seven or eight right there. Once you make this a habit you won’t think twice about doing it and it will be a way of life from then on.
You know this feels good when you do it. I do notice, though, that people feel a little antsy when they begin slowing things down because they have been used to filling every minute to feel productive, or to keep up. We live in a quiet, rural place and when new people first move here we notice they bring the urgency and frantic pace with them from their old home. The exact thing they wanted to leave behind. It takes time to adjust, of course. It will take you time to get things slowed down, too, but it happens when you keep after it and you will never go back. Here are some ideas to get you started…
- Leave earlier and travel more slowly
- Take less with you
- Plan fewer things each day and get them done
- Do things less elaborately
- Drop your shoulders and move slower
- Enjoy the red lights – a moment to sit and look around
- Go to bed earlier
Where do you find quiet and how often do you seek it out? Sometimes it comes along accidentally like when no one else happens to be home but you. Deliberately adding more quiet to life takes effort because, like slowing down, quiet feels a little weird at first, but not for long. You can teach your children from a very young age to value quiet by modeling it yourself. Turning off sound producing equipment and talking less helps. Even a few minutes makes a difference. Health benefits of quiet are substantial.
Do Things with Your Hands
Everything has a machine that will do a task, or we just go buy things ready made because it’s easier. We aren’t using our hands enough. Hands are connected to the brain and they are meant to be constructive. To make things. To do work. When we don’t use them enough we aren’t complete and can start to feel anxious. Watch your children and you will see hands everywhere, building, creating, touching, playing, carrying, making messes. Everywhere. Find more things to do with your own hands or play more with your kids. Do you want to do more art, make cinnamon rolls and knead the dough, sew, build raised beds for a garden?
Books. Not just a Kindle, or Facebook news. Read something that has words printed on it. Enough said.
Happy New Year. Happy All Year.