5 steps to a flourishing family (the first one may surprise you!)

Most parents would give just about anything for a little more peace, love, and happiness at home. It should be no surprise that research shows that happiness at home begins with flourishing in our personal lives. David "Dr. Dave" Schramm, PH.D and CFLE,  said, "When we flourish first individually, then we are more likely to be happy collectively." Here are his 5 tips to help you and your family flourish.

• Create a happy morning routine - happy people do not repeatedly hit the snooze button and then scroll through social media for an hour. Happy people start their day in a positive way with small wins. This could include drinking 16 ounces of water, making your bed, exercising or yoga, meditation, prayer, reading, showering and then getting ready for the day. When people look good, they feel good!

• Practice gratitude ¬- studies have shown that people who write down three things they are grateful for each day for 21 days are happier. But here`s the catch - they must be three different things each day and they need to be very specific with as much detail as possible. In addition to feeling gratitude and writing it down, research shows that when people express their gratitude and love to others, it creates a boost of positivity and happiness as well. Here`s an idea: for one week text 2 before 10. That is, before 10am, send a text message or email to two different people (each day) who you love or feel the need to express gratitude. Be specific with your words. This will not only make them happier to hear from you, but research shows this grows our social connections.

• 20-second rule - too often in life we either delay or ignore doing things because they take a bit more time and effort than we have in the moment. But we can train our brains to enjoy small wins by completing tasks that require just 20 seconds or less to complete, such as sending an email, wiping down a counter, making our bed, or loading dirty dishes. Checking off small tasks often brings a feeling of accomplishment that is just what you need to tackle larger tasks.

• Focus on experiences instead of stuff - most people, including children, tend to remember and cherish experiences more than gifts. Presents and the latest gadgets do bring momentary pleasure, but it seldom lasts longer than 72 hours. However, experiences, even small things like visiting a park, camping in the living room, or roasting indoor s`mores, are often remembered much longer. Plus, experiences are much more likely to strengthen relationships.

• Share happy thoughts at the end of the day - one way to help focus on the positive and cement happy times in our brains is to share them. This can be done during dinner time or even right before you go to bed. Sharing what went well during the day trains the brain to scan for positives and parents get the added benefit of learning about the best parts of everyone`s day!

Find more from Dr. Dave on Facebook or by visiting www.relationships.usu.edu.

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