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Want More Peace in Your Life? Try These 5 Simple Steps

Want More Peace in Your Life? Try These 5 Simple Steps

We live in a fast-paced world. We all deal with many things in life that cause us stress. Oftentimes, we have so much going on in our minds we forget what it feels like to have peace of mind. If you have ever felt that you have too many thoughts running through your head, I have a simple practice that might help give you peace of mind.

An article titled The Health Benefits of Journaling claims, ” A pen coupled with paper can serve as a powerful life tool.” I agree wholeheartedly with this statement. I have been writing in journals and notebooks for as long as I can remember. Writing in them is more than just keeping a diary. I write down dreams, goals and aspirations. I write down what I am thinking, feeling, and going through at the time. It’s one of the safest, practical, and most helpful ways I have to work through whatever is going on in my life.

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I write every day, but it’s not imperative that you do. What is important is that you have a place to turn to help organize and understand what is going on in your mind. In the article Mindful Journaling, the author states, “Practicing regularly can increase mindfulness, self-awareness, deepen one’s sense of mental and emotional clarity, and generally improve one’s sense of self, and self-efficacy.”

If there are times in your life that you crave more peace, try these five simple steps to start practicing the art of journaling.

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1. Buy a notebook or journal and grab a pen or pencil. I have used both journals and composition notebooks. (Amazon sells composition books for around $2 a piece and journals ranging from $10-20.) It depends on how much money I want to spend at the time. I also like a good writing pen. I always thought fine point was best, but I have become fond of gel pens with a medium point (I have used these paper mate pens and have enjoyed them. They are less than $1 a pen).

2. Throw out all rules. This writing is for your eyes only. You don’t have to have nice handwriting (you just need to be sure you can read it). You don’t have to use proper grammar or punctuation. You don’t have to organize your thoughts first. You just need to write without thinking too much.

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3. Ask yourself the question that needs to be asked. If you are trying to decide something, you might do the old pro/con exercise. Make a line down the middle of the page. Write pro on one side and con on the other. Proceed to make a list for both and see which one wins. If you are feeling stressed, maybe just ask a question: Why do I feel so stressed? or What is bothering me? You might ask the question, What do I need to do to bring more peace in my life?

4. Start writing. Answer the question or questions as honestly as you can without censoring. If you have several things bothering you, write out each point and see how you respond. Keep writing until you have written all you can think about that particular point.

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5. Take a short break and then go back and read what you wrote. Chances are you will see things more clearly. You might see that the concerns in your mind aren’t nearly as bad as you thought they were. You might see very clearly what changes you need to make in your life. Or, you might see that nothing is that big of a deal and nothing needs to change at all.

Featured photo credit: Ramiro Ramirez/Flickr via flickr.com

More by this author

Tomi Rues

Adjunct college teacher, notebook/journal designer, author

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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