Parenting: 5 Ways to Get Instant Joy

The holidays are such an amazing time of year, and sometimes with all the celebration and gift giving, grouchiness and stress also creep in. Add to that the normal stresses of being a parent, and the emotional mix can be quite scary.

There's plenty of advice out there on cultivating long-term parenting happiness, but this post is about getting a faster dose of happiness that can uplift your mood right away. So with that, here are my 5 quick ways to get a boost of instant joy and happiness when you feel the Grinch coming on...though these tips work anytime of the year.

1. Make a short audio recording of your baby or kid laughing, and have it easily accessible. I have a 10 second recording of our daughter belly laughing when she was 9 months old and without fail, I'll smile when I hear it. I used the Voice Memos app on the iPhone. For Android, I hear Google Keep is good.

2. Take an embarrassing photo of your kid and favorite it so you can find it quickly. Just taking the photo will probably be enough to get your jollies, but the possibilities are endless! One of our favorite photos is our kid on the potty.  Mind you, all you see are her legs, the pants and half of the toilet seat. It's a photo that won't keep her from being a Supreme Court Justice later in life, yet it's still entertaining.

3. Surprise someone with an act of kindness. This is probably the most powerful one on the list. You could buy someone's coffee, put some money in a stranger's meter that's about to expire, compliment a new acquaintance on their smile or outfit, or unexpectedly pay for a friend's lunch. Research has shown doing kind acts can reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure and all-in-all, give you the warm emotional fuzzies for an extended time. Nice, huh?

4. Tickle a loved one. There's a reason Tickle Me Elmo was all over the place years ago. All that laughter can't help but put a smile on your face. I'm personally a fan of the sneak tickle attack; the tickle screams are louder. 

5. Give someone a long hug, and make it almost uncomfortably long, at least 20 seconds. If you ever been on the receiving end of a wimpy hug, you know how comforting it is to get a substantial hug. Like random acts of kindness, hugging is a stress reliever and lowers blood pressure. So get in there!


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