The dictionary says that happiness is the state of being happy! Some people seem to be really unfortunate but they are still happy.

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1 Women's and Children's Health Network Being happy Kids' Health Topic What is happiness? The dictionary says that happiness is the state of being happy! It also says that good fortune, feeling content, pleasure or gladness can make a person feel happy. One thing is for sure and that is that money cannot make a person happy, nor can having all the things that anyone could want. Happiness is more about feelings and interactions with other people than having things. Building happiness into your life Some people seem to be born happy. Nothing seems to get them down, they can always see the best of every situation and they seem to smile their way through life. Some people seem to be really lucky, always in the right place at the right time but they still don't seem to be happy. Some people seem to be really unfortunate but they are still happy. Some people seem to have everything going for them but still do not seem to be happy. No matter what kind of person you are, you can do some things to build happiness into your life. Family ways Spend time with your family. Be kind, friendly and helpful to each other. Do things together like eating meals together, helping with chores around the house and yard, and supporting each other in homework, sports interests and hobbies. Try to get time for yourself with just mum or just dad so that you can have fun together, or learn how to do something like cooking or gardening, fishing or knitting. Enjoy being in a family, doing the sort of things your family likes to do - like family traditions such as getting together for birthdays and festivals - building up good family memories for the future. Some kids may not be living with their own family. Maybe they are in foster care or with other adults who care for them. If you are in care you can still be happy helping, sharing and caring for each other. Music Music can be a great way to make you feel happy. You can listen to it, or even take up playing an instrument. Many schools will offer a musical instrument program and often you may not even have to buy an instrument. You may be able to use one from school or hire one from the music

2 branch of your local education authority. Some local bands may have instruments to lend to people keen to learn. You may join a choir or just enjoy singing by yourself. There are lots of music sites on the Internet so you can try out all kinds of music to find out what you like and what makes you feel happy. Listening to music can change the way you are feeling because there are so many different kinds of music. Join in and get involved Someone once said, "Life is not a rehearsal. This is it!" When you are young you can try all sorts of things to find out where your talents are. If your class is having a dress-up day - dress up! If someone has come to school to teach a new sport - join in and try, no one else will be any good either! Join something like a sports team, a choir, a youth club, scouts, a chess or computer club, or take lessons in dance, martial arts, swimming, horse riding or whatever is on offer near where you live. Then when you are not at the lesson, you can practise your skills until you feel good, proud of your progress and happy. Don't be the kind of kid who stands around watching other kids have fun. Get in there and have a go! Put away put-downs Have you noticed how some people just love to put other people down? Often they are people who won't have a go themselves or like to make themselves feel better by making others feel worse. Ignore put-downs from other people! Don't use put-downs yourself! Just have a go and feel happy when you manage to do something or get better at something that you have been practising. Encourage other people to try - after all, they are not skipping or jumping or playing soccer, or whatever it is they are doing, for Australia are they? They don't have to be very good at it. It's just for fun, so have fun and be happy! Get passionate People who get really involved in something, who strongly believe in something, who get really passionate about doing something they believe in - these are the people who are busy in their lives: doing something they feel is worthwhile doing something that helps others working in a group to change things for the better. These are ways in which people can help others and themselves feel happy. So take up a hobby, start collecting things, building models, join a group and get passionate! - 2 -

3 Enjoy the world Turn on the news and we can all hear about the awful things happening around the world. Look around and see what an amazing world we live in. How amazing are sunsets, flowers, baby animals, rainbows, smiles and millions of other great things in the world around us! Take pleasure in our beautiful world and feel happy. You don't need to learn to draw, take photos or paint pictures. Just walk down to the beach, along the road, round the park, and enjoy looking around. Take snapshots with your mind so that you can remember the sights, sounds, tastes and feelings that made you feel happy. Pets and animals You may not have a pet of your own, but pets are so good at making people happy. Pets help people feel happy by being affectionate, needing to be looked after, and maybe needing exercise, which is good for you too. If you don't have a pet you can still enjoy the pets of your friends or other people in your family. Even pictures of pets and young animals like lion cubs can be so cute that you feel happy just looking at them! Watching films or videos about animals or visiting wild life parks or the zoo can cheer you up if you are feeling a bit down. Some kids like to make scrapbooks or do projects on animals, and then they have these great pictures to make them happy at any time. Animals love people who love them and they don't care how rich, pretty, clever, fashionable or anything else they are! Help out the family Every family has ups and down. Sometimes there are sad times and sometimes even bad times. Think about the other people in your family and try to help them to feel happy. If things are tough at the moment, try not to make things worse by fighting with your brother or sister or expecting all the attention that's around to be given to you. Don't ask for expensive stuff when you know that times are tough. Be ready to do extra jobs to help out the family. Help your little brother or sister learn to read or do maths. Working together to keep the family going can be a very happy experience for everyone involved. Work hard at being a friend Some kids seem to make friends easily while others really struggle. If you have a friend, work hard at being a good friend. Be a good listener, keep secrets, encourage your friend, and share things with her or him. See the topics Friendship and Making friends for some ideas on how to work hard to make and keep friends. Why? Because having friends makes you happy

4 Real friends are very hard to find, but can make you feel really happy that you have someone to share your life with. Stay fit and healthy Isn't it awful when you are sick and you feel all yukky and sad and unhappy? It's much better when you are fit and healthy. So, try to keep fit and healthy by exercising daily. There are lots of things that you can do to keep your body feeling fit. The great thing about exercise is that it releases chemicals called serotonin into your brain and these chemicals make you feel HAPPY! Look at our topics on Fitness and Exercise if you want to know more. Make the most of yourself We can't all look like film stars so we have to make the most of what we've got. Keep yourself looking clean and neat. Take care with personal hygiene. Look after your clothes so that you look tidy. Brush your teeth and your hair (not with the same brush!) Look happy. Look interested in the world around you. Use good manners so that you are pleasant to be with. Have a positive attitude and look for the best in people. Just practise giving everyone you pass a great big smile and see how many smile back. How good does that make you feel! And how happy! Time out to be you You spend all of your time with yourself, so learn to like yourself. Encourage yourself. Don't let that voice in your head tell you any negative stuff. Make it say things like, "I can't do this YET but I'm getting better." Train that voice to be positive and encourage yourself to get out into the world and live your life. Everyone deserves to be happy. Sometimes you have to work hard at building happiness. Dr Kate says "Often it is the small things that make people happy. Try to be kind and smile at people. You will help them to feel happy and will build happiness for yourself. Did you notice that building happiness is something YOU can do? Other people cannot make you happy, just as they can't make you angry. You are responsible for your own feelings. You have to work for happiness as you have to work for anything else." - 4 -

5 What makes some kids happy? "I feel happy when my baby sister smiles at me." Tina "I felt really happy when I finished all my work on time. It was a first for me!" Jake "I feel happy when Dad comes to watch me play footy." "I feel happy when my family decorate the Christmas tree together." Caitlin "I feel happy when I do a chore and Mum says "Well done and thank you." I feel proud too." David "I feel happy when I play well and the coach says I did well." Josh "I felt happy when I won an Australian Idol competition at my school and everyone voted for me. I thought that they didn't like me much before that." Joel "I felt happy when I learned a really hard move in Jump Rope and I can do it every time now because I practised hard." Rachael What makes you happy? - 5 -

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