Pregnant and Happy

We all have a desire to gain happiness and to live a life consistent with finding joy.  Is happiness financial?  Studies show that after an average income of $75,000, the millionaire does not have more happiness than the individual making $75,000 per year.  Studies comparing lottery winners with paraplegics indicate that both can be equally as happy.  So what does it take to get there?  Is happiness within?  Is it a frame of mind?
 

We can all engage in healthy practices of happiness.  Pregnancy is a time that can offer a great source of happiness for expecting parents.  During the critical time of pregnancy, stress hormones can adversely affect the development of our child in utero.  The field of psychoneuroimmunology teaches us that positive emotions impact us even on cellular levels while improving our health and helping our immune system to resist disease.  Are we born happy or can we build these positive states?  We have all heard the old adage that happiness comes from within.  Happiness can also be achieved by using skills to flourish.  According to Positive Psychologist Martin Seligman, the PERMA model can help to guide us.  This pneumonic explains that we need five factors to achieve happiness:  Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Achievement.  Dr. Seligman’s first factor, positive emotion, includes engaging in gratitude, pleasure, peace, and inspiration.  Find activities that facilitate positive emotions such as laughter.  The second factor to happiness is engagement, where we choose flow experiences or activities where we are engulfed in our tasks or projects, losing a sense of time.  When we are engaged, we lose track of time and we intensely focus on the present moment.  Positive relationships are a third and important predictor of happiness.  We are social beings and positive relationships help us on the path to well-being.  Finding meaning is the fourth step to feeling good.  We all seeking meaning in our lives, and contributions towards our values will facilitate our happiness.  Finally, we all wish to be accomplished and to achieve our goals.  Self-mastery of goals and building skills are important as we all desire to flourish.  During the amazing time of pregnancy, engaging in these five factors of happiness can foster the healthy development of your child.  Exemplifying these five factors post-delivery can foster a healthy environment for the child as well as the family. 

Dr Lamees Khorshid, Health Psychologist

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