10 Ways Children Show US the Way to Happiness

From Elephant Journal

1. Cry. Then, forget what you were crying about. If you’re unhappy, go there. Like #1, don’t reject feelings because they aren’t “approved.” Be negative. Regret mistakes. Wallow in heartbreak—briefly. Then, move on.

2. Work hard at Playing. If your work isn’t fulfilling you, get a new job. Seriously. That’s not advice for yuppies—that’s advice for living. If you’re a writer, get a job watching a parking lot or hotel, where you can read. If you enjoy manual labor (my house painter friend loves to paint—especially when the paint is “eco” and non-fumey—he loves the exercise, the money, and being out-of-doors), god bless: no type of workplay is any better than any other (you’ll discover that, parents, when you buy your child a pricey, silly present only to find them playing with a cardboard box, an hour later). In Buddhism, we call it “natural hierarchy—do whatever you 1) love that you’re 2) best at and 3) is of most service to the welfare of others. You do those three things, and work becomes joy…you know, playtime.

3. Get in water once a day. Swim. Bathe. Children swim. A lot. They love water. Old wrinkly cranky uptight stressed cool people don’t jump in water enough. I should know. I’ve been both.

4. Laugh. Children are good at laughing. I’m really popular with children—mainly ’cause I got this whole wink/jump around/laugh/run around/make funny noises/make weird faces moves. They go crazy for that stuff. Last time I laughed? Yesterday, probably. I can’t remember. I smile a lot. I make jokes and all that. I listen to jokes and all that. I remember almost laughing today. I probably laughed a bunch, but forgot. Anyways…that’s my point: we get old when we can’t remember the last time we laughed. Americans spend millions and billions on bodywork and moisturizer and exercise and plastic surgery and hair tinting…when laughter, free, will make you look ravishing and happy and keep you healthy. Get on it.

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