Ask any mother what she wants most for her child, and she’ll answer “to be happy.” And, actually, that’s ultimately what we all want in our lives and the lives of those we love—happiness. We’re fortunate to live in a time where science has started to crack the happiness code; we now know more than we ever have about it takes to be happy.
It’s not about being more successful or accumulating more stuff—it’s about the way you spend your days (and whom you spend them with).
So, how about sharing a little happiness juju with your mom this Mother’s Day? She deserves a dose of joy for a million reasons—bringing you into this world is just one of them.
Here are five ways to help you and your mom have the happiest Mother’s Day ever (that you can actually do year round).
1. Breathe together.
Did you know that you can make your cells happy? Deep belly breathing actually cleanses your cellular pathways and opens the way for those happiness-inducing chemicals to flow. Most of us breathe in shallow breaths and from high up in our chests. Train your body to breathe deeply by doing 10 deep breaths a day at least three times a day.
Try it by putting your hand on your belly and as you inhale through your nose. Make sure your hand moves out as you inhale and back in as you exhale. This is can be done anywhere. Taking mom to lunch on Mother’s Day? Connect with her by looking her in the eyes and doing this together. Notice how this simple process affects your time together.
2. Meditate together.
Since our bonds with mom, are about love, a heart-centered meditation is perfect thing to share for Mother’s Day. This meditation comes from the HeartMath Institute, leaders in research on the heart and happiness. This meditation takes just about two minutes, but can create powerful shifts in how you feel.
Close your eyes and put the palm of your hand over your heart. Now imagine (picture or feel) that your breath is moving in and out through the center of your heart. On each inhale, imagine that you’re breathing in love and ease. You can either remember a time when you felt love and ease or you can just say the words to yourself internally. Breathe at your own pace in this way for about two minutes. Then open your eyes and notice how different you feel.
3. Color together.
I’ve just discovered coloring and it’s my favorite new activity. When I was asked to author the new Inkspirations for Women coloring book for adults, I was over the moon. It turns out to be the perfect balance of my passion for inspirational quotes and creative action. I didn’t think I had an artistic bone in my body and now I’m exploring color, texture, and beauty in a way I didn’t know before.
And, when I color in community with another person or a group, the experience expands to even more fulfilling heights. So grab a couple of books or print out some pages, bring your crayons or colored pencils and create a coloring sanctuary with your mom. My prediction is you’ll want to do this on a regular basis. It’s a great habit to start.
4. Move together.
Exercise is a fantastic way to get your happy juices flowing. But you don’t need to run a marathon. You can go for a nice walk with your mom. Or try this simple exercise together from the Chinese art of Qi Gong that will increase your blood flow and Qi (energy) in your bodies. I call it “Bounce and Shake.”
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, with your knees bent, and begin bouncing up and down without moving your feet. Bounce your whole body on bended knees as you shake your arms. After two minutes, stop the movement, stand still, and close your eyes. Feel the energy in your body—you’ll probably experience a tingly, yummy sensation.
5. Be grateful together.
One of the simplest yet most profound ways to raise your happiness level is to focus on what you’re grateful for. And writing those things down makes the process even more powerful. Research has shown that people who keep gratitude journals, writing down five things they’re grateful for each day, will raise their happiness level within one month.
How about presenting mom with her own gratitude journal? But, first, take some time to write down all the ways you are grateful to her. Why not put that in the front of her book for her to keep with her always.