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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 February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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