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4 Steps to Declutter Your Soul and Become a Happier Person

4 Steps to Declutter Your Soul and Become a Happier Person

Luckily, more and more people are decluttering their lives, getting more organised, and understanding that we need less of the material things in order to have more freedom.

One aspect often gets forgotten, though, and that’s our spiritual well-being. It’s as important as physical health, but we seem to skip that part when changing ourselves and improving the quality of our life.

We are constantly bombarded by all the thoughts in our heads – which are too many and, often, too negative – that give birth to stress and anxiety. And then, the stress and anxiety from there lead to all sorts of unpleasant situations.

Being stressed out prevents you from keeping your focus and keeps you from doing your best at work and/or school. Anxiety doesn’t let you enjoy life for what is today because you always worry about what might happen tomorrow. Negativism turns you into a complainer and impacts those around you too.

I can go on like that forever because the consequences of not decluttering your mind and soul are endless. For now, let’s concentrate on finding a solution. How can we declutter our mind and spirit to live more peacefully, happily, and freely?

Here are some great ways:

1. Leave behind the past.

A negative mental pattern we develop unconsciously is to often think about events from the past and bring all the bad feelings into the present moment. As a result, we literally relive it and feel awful again.

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Be it a breakup, a painful memory, a mistake you made, or how others treated you when you were insecure – all this must be left behind. It belongs in the past and if you think about it, you evoke the same emotions when you bring those old wounds back into the light. In turn, it ruins your present and your whole day.

Don’t let it happen anymore. Practice letting go. When you notice another thought about the past popping up in your mind, stop, remember that it’s already in the past and there’s nothing you can do about it, come back to this moment, breathe deeply, and let go of it.

Having such an attitude towards anything related to the past will make you a happier person in no time.

2. Stop overthinking.

Less is better. That’s the case for the number of thoughts in our mind too. Thinking might be good in many situations in life, but when it’s purposeless and only makes us worry and imagine negative scenarios, an empty mind would be a better option.

Overthinking means constantly trying to figure out how things will turn out, what people think about you, what might go wrong, whether or not what you want to do is worth it, etc.

The main similarity between all these is that they are pointless. Such thoughts stop you from taking action, make you feel awkward when socialising, and turn every moment into desperate anticipation of the next one.

How do you declutter your mind and soul if overthinking has become your habit?

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By getting better at emptying your mind with daily exercises.

It doesn’t need to be anything complex. Start meditating for five minutes every morning. Then, add another session before you go to bed.

Simply find an isolated place, sit down, start breathing deeply, and focus either on your breath or on one positive thought you think of.

The point is to practice mindfulness and to quiet your mind. It won’t happen from day one, so be patient. Do it the next morning too, and feel how it gets easier over time.

Soon, you’ll turn that into your constant state of mind and unnecessary thoughts won’t have any place there. It will be only freedom, contentment, and presence.

3. Limit the information you consume.

Information overload is a real thing. There’s so much going on at any moment that if we want to stay up-to-date, we risk losing our sanity.

Social media doesn’t make this any easier either. Every time you scroll down your feed on one network, you might feel overwhelmed by seeing all the stuff being posted, you might want to read more about it all, might feel bad about something, or might start comparing your life to how others are living theirs and feel depressed.

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That’s just five minutes of someone’s day.

Then you open your inbox and see tons of news emails, each with different links that make you want to know more.

Later in the day, you receive even more information from all types of sources, other people bother you with their problems, devices are everywhere, someone texts you, or you receive notifications every 15 minutes, and that just never stops.

Unless, you decide to put an end to it.

You can’t have peace of mind with all these facts in your head, 90% of which are absolutely unimportant.

So, here’s the solution:

  • say a big “no” to most of these sources of information
  • set a limit for using social media and checking email
  • don’t read stuff that doesn’t concern you or the industry you work in
  • unsubscribe from all newsletters and only check out the sites that truly provide meaningful information
  • practice emptying your mind a few times during the day

4. Replace expectations with acceptance.

Think about this. We expect so much from ourselves and those around us, that this prevents us from being who we are and taking risks, from enjoying other people’s company, and being grateful for having them in our life.

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Expectations are bad. We are never satisfied and there’s always something else to expect.

So let’s ditch them. And replace them with something better – acceptance.

I’m talking about accepting yourself for who you are and smiling for this, but also knowing you can always improve if you work hard and believe in yourself.

I’m talking about accepting every person in your life as an individual, and not waiting for them to react in a certain way, not judging or blaming them. Simply being there for them, accepting their lifestyle and qualities, and appreciating having people who love you.

That small change will make a big difference in all of your relationships and will make you happier every day because you won’t be expecting so much, and won’t be stressing over not meeting these expectations.

Now that you know why simplicity is good for us in general, and that it’s also beneficial to our peace of mind and happiness, you won’t live your days unconsciously anymore.

Take one little step today, like saying “no” to a thought from the past, quieting the voices in your head before bed, or smiling for what you already have, and see the instant transformation in your mind.

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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