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In the face of adult struggles, it’s easy to feel weighed down by everything. You might feel like you’re losing your spark. Being a grown-up is tough. Bills to pay, mouths to feed, and sometimes it seems like everyone forgets to say “thank you.” No one wants to spread that burden to their children, however. Bring joy back into your life by practicing it.

Snuggles, not Struggles: How to be a More Lighthearted Parent

Kids love to play. Becoming more lighthearted leads to a more playful parent. That’ll lead to more quality time spent between you and your family. Leave behind the yuck of the world by consciously altering your perspective. You might have to fake it at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll be all play and no work. 


The laughter of your children is infectious. Smiling can be similarly magical. Simply pretending to smile can increase dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins: the happy chemicals. Start by tricking your brain: act like you’re already in a good mood. It will spill over, not just to you, but to everyone around you. Your children are especially in-tune to your moods, so when you’re happy, they’ll follow your lead. 


Meditation doesn’t have to be a practice of sitting motionless in a dark, silent room. Simply allowing yourself time to decompress and process the day is enough to get your mind and attitude back on track. Daydream. Reflect. Pause and appreciate. 

Find Joy

Find joy in the little things. Notice small things that make you happy: the smell of a new book, two of your favorite songs in a row on a playlist, or the tastiness of that forbidden brownie. Remind yourself what you’re grateful for and take a moment to appreciate them. It makes a world of difference.

Be Spontaneous

Start by looking at the world through your children’s eyes. You’ll notice that they don’t care what others are thinking; if they’ve got the wiggles, they’re inevitably going to dance them out. If they want to be a tiger, they’re going to roar all the way to the zoo. Give yourself the grace to do the same: be silly. 

Drop everything and shake it like a polaroid picture. Learn a few good jokes and crack them, unabashedly, no matter how dorky they might be. Wave and smile wide at a stranger. And don’t worry about the mask being in the way: people can tell you’re smiling because of that handy duchenne marker that brings the light of a smile to your eyes. 

At the End of the Day

When all is said and done, have FUN. Support this kind of home by allowing yourself to relax and feel good about yourself. Give yourself permission to make mistakes, too. Some days you just might not have it in you to be silly. Practice makes perfect, though, so just get back up and try again tomorrow. Happiness is contagious; it all starts with you. 

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