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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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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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