“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” — Christopher McCandless
Think about how you last felt when you stumbled out of bed on a winter morning and made your way out into the cold? Were you feeling happy? Approachable? Now, think about how you felt on a summer morning, the sun shining through your window, the day inviting and heavenly? Did you suddenly feel like saying hello to people, getting out into the community, and letting someone else have the last biscuit at the coffee shop? Did you feel like today might be a “yes” kind of day?Advertising
Studies have shown that human beings are much happier being approached on sunny days than on cloudy winter days. From our brain patterns to our warmed hearts, we are more willing and open to possibilities and ideas when the sun’s rays find us, and research has revealed there might just be some science behind “summer love.” Read ahead to better understand why taking advantage of these happy fair-weather moods can help you get ahead in life.
People Want To Help Each Other Out
Recent studies indicate that in the warmer months, people are more helpful to each other. An experiment was conducted with hitchhikers in France to ascertain if the weather affected choices such as this. Hitchhikers posed on overcast days and then on sunny days, and the difference was enormous! Perhaps it was a feeling of safety, or perhaps drivers were just in a more relaxed and happy mood, but the sun shining allowed many more people to stop and give strangers assistance.Advertising
People Are More Open To Romance
Studies also showed that people are more open to love when the sun is shining. It is similar to the feeling we have in regards to S.A.D. — when we are in the throes of spring, we feel fine, but when winter comes, we tend to get a little blue. We have lost all the prettiness of spring, the visual stimuli that surrounds us and sends happy signals from our brains. We instinctively believe that the sun makes us happier, but we also feel it. The sun allows vitamin D to shoot into our skin via ultraviolet rays, and when we have high levels of vitamin D we have higher levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that is connected with our positive mood.
So if you are looking for love, there are plenty of reasons that a sunny day will up your chances. You will be feeling more positive and hopeful, and the people you meet will also have higher levels of happiness, goodwill, laughter, and openness. They don’t call it a “spring fling” for nothing.Advertising
People Tend To Splash Their Cash
Studies report that during the summer months people are willing to spend their cash more freely. This goes for the spring too. When the sun is out, people want to leave their homes, they want to bring in the light, they want to be done with the grey and gloom of winter!
Researchers investigated the idea of spending on warmer days compared to cooler ones. They took data from stores over a period of years and conducted separate tests to investigate people’s willingness to pay for different products in different environments (for example, an airplane ticket, a gym membership, tropical juice, a newspaper). The results all indicated that humans were more likely to spend during the warmer times of the year when they were not hibernating and bunkering down. When the summer months arrived, they wanted to get cracking on life, on fitness, on lending a hand to their neighbor – even on love!Advertising
“If you want to shine like a sun, first burn like a sun.” — A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Featured photo credit: Picjumbo via picjumbo.com
Last Updated on May 21, 2019
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:
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.
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.
You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.
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.
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.
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.
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,
“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.
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.
More Articles About Effective Communication
- Conflict Management Styles for Effective Communication at Work
- 13 Best Communication Books for Stronger Social Skills & Relationships
- How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home
- 7 Most Important Communication Techniques to Master in the Workplace
Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com
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