health

How often do you sit down and try to work out how happy you are?

By HELEN VNUK

I was interviewing an actress a few months back, and I was asking her the usual questions about her life, when she suddenly turned the tables and started questioning me.

Are you happy?” she asked. “How has the past year been for you?”

Put on the spot, I answered honestly. “I think I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I have two kids, and they make me happy, every day.”

As Michael J Fox says, “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.”

I hadn’t really thought about it until she asked. How often do you sit down and try to work out how happy you are? Sure, motherhood can be stressful and demanding, but every day, without fail, my kids make me smile. Not just smile, but laugh.

Before I had kids, I used to dwell on little things. If I stuffed up at work, or had a disagreement with a friend, or a random stranger was rude to me, I would stew over it, thinking of what I should have said and done differently. Now I have kids, I let go of a lot of those little things that used to bring me down. I am happier. I can’t help it. Just being around my kids gives me regular injections of happiness. They’re natural mood lifters.

I wake in the morning to the sound of footsteps pattering down the hall, a smiling face peeping around the bedroom door, a tiny warm person snuggling into the space between my husband and me. There’s always room for one more in our bed. Or two.

Just as an FYI, this post is sponsored by Tourism Fiji. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words. 

I watch my kids turn the world into their playground. The couch is a mountain to be climbed up, and the cushions make caves to hide in. Sometimes they just run around and around the living room in a circle, chasing each other, giggling and giggling.

My four-year-old son is full of questions. Right now he’s obsessed with knowing what’s real and what’s not. “Are pirates real? Dragons are real, right? Are crocodiles real?” I love knowing how his mind works.

Every day, after school, my daughter runs out of her classroom and into my arms. When she was in kindergarten, her class teacher tried to stop her, because it’s against school rules for children to run on the asphalt, but in the end the teacher just had to give up and let her go.

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At night, I climb onto my son’s bed and open a book. My daughter puts down whatever she’s reading and climbs on the bed with us. Sometimes we read one of the same books I loved as a child, like The Monster At The End Of This Book. My son asks for one more story. It’s getting late, but we read another, and another.

Just before I go to sleep I check on them in their beds. They look so beautiful when they’re completely still, so innocent. I just want to protect them from everything. My son is clutching his toy cat, and my daughter has fallen asleep holding a book. I gently slide the book out of her hand, put a bookmark in, and pull up both their quilts.

I still stuff up at work. I still have disagreements with friends. Random strangers are still rude to me. But it only ever takes a bit of time with my kids to make me feel better. A hug with those little arms wrapped tight around my neck, my face buried in that soft hair…

Everyone has their own idea of what happiness is. For me, happiness is two giggling, ticklish, mischievous kids. I’m smiling as I write this, just thinking about them, tucked in their beds.

Happiness has found me.

What makes you feel happy every day?

We know what will make you happy today. Flicking through this gallery!

Years from now, your kids won’t remember a high score on a video game or how many likes they got on a photo. They’ll remember playing in the white sand, snorkelling through crystal clear water, making best friends with locals, and spending time with you. Fijian culture is built on family, as a result Fiji is one of the safest and most welcoming family holiday destinations in the world.

Find out more at www.fiji.travel

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