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14 Seemingly Trivial Things That Make You Happy Every Day

14 Seemingly Trivial Things That Make You Happy Every Day

Happy people know that mindset can be the most important piece to the happiness puzzle. Once you understand that your happiness is not reliant on external things like clothing, career, and dress size, you can focus on cultivating happiness from within.

Here are some simple habits you can adopt to change your mindset and increase your happiness.

Get a good night’s sleep

It’s not rocket science: sleep affects mood. After a sleepless night, you may be more irritable and vulnerable to stress. After a good sleep, your mood returns to normal. Humans don’t function well when they are sleep deprived.

Studies have shown that people who are not getting enough sleep lack the adequate levels of the hormone hypocretin, which has been proven to govern joy and happiness. This means that having a good sleep contributes directly to your happiness.

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Spend time in nature

According to a recent study, people who spend 30 minutes a day outdoors report a significant increase in their sense of wellbeing, vitality, and energy, while feelings of stress and negativity, along with sleep disturbances, were all reduced

Drink, touch, and float in water

Neuroscientists, poets, and biologists have all linked our brains to water. Water soothes us, reduces anxiety, and connects us to nature. Water consumption increases our brain’s ability to transmit information. The sensory stimulation of touching or floating in water relaxes us. Even the sound of water can soothe.

Smile

The recent discovery of mirror neurons has proven what happy people have long known: if you are surrounded by smiling happy faces, your brain responds by causing you to smile. The brain secretes the chemicals to increase your happiness when you smile. So, smile and notice the world smiling back.

Make eye contact

Social connection is one of the keys to happiness. The simplest way to establish connection is with eye contact during conversation or just in passing. I like to practice making meaningful eye contact as a way to spread happiness everywhere I go.

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Adopt a good attitude

Optimism is a state which correlates with, but is not identical to, happiness. If you are a person who is looking forward to a life “half-full” rather than “half empty,” you will have a better chance of obtaining more life satisfaction and enjoyment, more satisfying work and marriage, better health and longevity.

Be present

People who meditate report higher levels of happiness, but until recently there was no proof that the meditation was causative. That was, until Matt Killingsworth built an app, Track Your Happiness, that let people report their feelings in real time. Among the surprising results: we’re often happiest when we’re lost in the moment. On the flip side, the more our mind wanders, the less happy we can be.

Dream big dreams

One’s sense of purpose is deeply entwined with happiness. People who have big dreams and actively work towards them are happier. So, surround yourself with other dreamers and with people who are your cheerleaders.

Connect with “your” people

These are the people who are on a similar path and inspire you to keep going. I call them my tribe. You can find your tribe on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, at school, at work, or at the gym. People who feel connected feel happier.

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Enjoy good food

Deepak Chopra advises you to ask yourself: “What am I hungry for?” then really listen to your body. Eating a balanced diet of fresh food makes you feel better, and it tastes great too. It’s amazing how much junk food is consumed simply because we think we don’t have the time to eat well. Nourish your body. It will thank you.

Notice moments of intuition

When the telephone rings and you know it’s your mom, or when you think of a friend you haven’t seen in years and then run into them the very next day — this is your intuition. Develop awareness of things that appear coincidental and start to trust that they aren’t. You will begin to trust your gut instinct with confidence. This self-awareness brings a sense of bliss, which is closely related to happiness.

Listen to music

When you play a song and chills run down your spine, savor this feeling. The ability to be powerfully moved by music is like a little vacation from your daily routine. Think of it as a mini spa for your soul.

Exercise

In addition to being great for your physique, exercise also initiates the release of chemicals that increase positive emotions. Get out and hike, run, swim, or try some Zumba, and notice how quickly your mood changes.

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Laugh

The chemicals released by your body during laughter are transformative and healing. Find time every day for a little bit of laughter.

Happiness is a practice. Just like going to the gym or eating a healthy diet is a lifestyle, so is living a happy life. Once you begin to cultivate the practices to support your happiness, you will begin to notice changes in your relationships, your career, and your attitude.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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