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10 Lessons On Happiness That All Women Turning 30 Should Know

10 Lessons On Happiness That All Women Turning 30 Should Know

Sometime around next year, I am turning 30. A new milestone, in my personal opinion. Despite, getting elevated by that mere thought of turning 30, and planning to celebrate it in style, there are some things that, we, the soon-to-be-30 women, should need to remember. It doesn’t matter whether you are married and have kids, whether you are a successful entrepreneur, you are single, or are a housewife, whatever it is you are, you should always keep in mind that happiness should never, ever depart from your life.

I know some women who are yet to turn 30 simply get into some kind of “depression” in regards to their age. If you remind them of their upcoming birthday, they would say, “thanks for reminding me of my age! Grr!” To them, I would say, age is just a number. It is how you prefer to live your life, that matters. And to them, I would also say (as well as the rest of the near 30s women from round the globe) here are 10 lessons for you on happiness that you should know before (and maybe after) you turn 30.

1. Value your relationships.

By now, you are, more or less, settled in life. You have an amazing job, companionable colleagues, a sufficient amount of finances to live you off agreeably. Or, you have a house full of playful, tiny members, running around the house, and your time is spend cooking, cleaning, babysitting, and doing everything in between, leaving you totally exhausted at the end of the day. Despite your day starting at 6:00am and concluding at 10:00pm, don’t forget those valuable people who have moulded you the way you are. Call your parents, contact your siblings, and communicate with your friends. Try to make it regularly. Talking to them can relax your mind. Remember, they are the ones who stay with you through thick and thin.

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2. Don’t rush, take it slowly.

This is in regards to everything in your life. Don’t be impatient. If you are dating someone, take your time to decide whether your partner is the right one for you, whether you want to spend the rest of your life with them. If you love doing something, do it. For example, don’t change your career because it will make you earn more. Do that thing which you love the most. Even if it takes time to grow into your choice of path, let it take time. Being 30 doesn’t mean you have solved the puzzle of your life. You are still young.

3. Everything is not about your work, you have a life, too!

Moulding up your career and life brings me to this point. There are so many of the young you’s out there who would dedicate their entire life to their work. And here, I am not talking about only office related services. It can be household chores, it can be anything that is monotonic. There’s a saying that all work but no play makes Jack a dull boy. We all need to play every now and then. Utilize one of your weekends and plan a day out with your pals. Watch movies, visit outskirts of your city, travel. Different activities will unclog your mind.

4. Money can’t buy happiness.

Women, you can contend that shopping is your happiness, and for that you need money. Can’t argue with this. But does happiness entirely depend on money? Not really. There are those little things in life that matters most. For example, a long phone conversation with your bestie. Those lazy vacations you spend with your family at home. Or bathing in the sun, reading your favorite book in your favorite park. The silly laughs and the lamest jokes. And no, just because you’re an “adult” doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy all these over and over again.

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5. No one’s picture perfect.

The models you adore on the glossy magazines are photoshopped. So don’t fret over making yourself copy the supermodels. They have flaws, too. And they are beautiful. So are you. Embrace yourself, embrace your flaws.

6. Build your life on experiences.

Experience is the best way to learn new things in life. It is believed that through experiences, one can learn first-hand lessons, more important and valuable than what one learns at school or through text books. Traveling is one form of a first-hand experience. The more you travel, the more knowledge of the world you acquire. The more you taste various cuisines, the more you get to know about diverse cultures. The more you socialise, the more you can understand human nature. The more you show interest in miscellaneous topics, the more you get to expand your knowledge. So, the next time you want to learn dancing, go for it. Don’t stop yourself.

7. Comparisons create unnecessary pressure.

This is one thing, us who turn 30 soon do naturally. We try to compare ourselves with others our age. That is quite wrong, to be honest. It simply puts lots of pressure on yourself, leading you to depression, and frustration, and all those negativities. Why would you care if your friend is rich enough to spend thousands per month? Or if she is settled down in life with husband and kids? Everyone has their priorities. Everyone shapes their own life. You are doing it, too. Don’t grumble about what others have or do.

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8. Failure is the pillar of success.

Nelson Mandela once said, “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

Aim for success, but don’t expect it to come to your door the very first time. You will always fall down. This will teach you what went wrong. That lesson will take you further in life. Picking up on your failures will eventually lead you to success.

9. Allow your heart to talk once in a while.

By now, you are pretty much accustomed to seniors advising you to “use your brain, rather than your heart”. But sometimes it is also advisable to use your heart rather than your brain. For example, the other day, my daughter had fever early in the morning. By the time she had to go to daycare, her fever was gone and she was playing. My brain was telling me that she is fine and you can go to work. But my heart didn’t want to leave her. I ended up listening to my brain (it’s wise, right?). By the fourth hour at my office, a call came that my daughter’s fever rose again and that I should come immediately. Little decisions like this in life need the heart, too.If your heart says do this, I think you can always give it a go. See where it takes you.

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10. Don’t forget to laugh out loud (lol)

Cracking jokes, laughing hard till you snort, this is an important part of life. You have enough time to enjoy life. Being 30 is never ever considered to be old enough to take life seriously. You can easily be silly in public with your people. Do whatever makes you laugh, makes you fall in love with life. We are still young to rejoice life to the fullest!

Featured photo credit: paultarasenko via shutterstock.com

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Sumaiya Kabir

Sumaiya is a passionate writer who shares thoughts and ideas to help people improve themselves.

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

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Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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