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Want Genuine Happiness? Science Says You Only Need Friends And Health, Not Wealth

Want Genuine Happiness? Science Says You Only Need Friends And Health, Not Wealth

A recent study from The London School of Economic and Political Science[1] has found that most human misery is linked to failed relationships, mental illness and poor physical health, rather than money problems.

The study was named the Origins of Happiness, and it analysed data from four countries, including Germany and the United States.

The study, which was led by researchers at the London School of Economics (LSE), found that eliminating anxiety and depression would reduce overall misery by a whopping 20%. On the other hand, eliminating poverty would only reduce misery by 5%.

To some people this result isn’t surprising – including lead researcher Lord Richard Layard. He said that on average people haven’t become happier in the last 50 years, even though the average income has more than doubled.

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This may be because humans are more emotionally connected to their health and their relationships than they are to their money. That isn’t to say wealth isn’t important; wealth can certainly improve life in a materialistic sense. However you cannot form a bond with money.

Lord Layard believes that this research could be used to improve the overall happiness of people across the world, as governments could start to measure people’s happiness and satisfaction levels based on their relationships and health.

You can also use the research to become happier!

What You Can Do To Be Happier

The research found that the most important things for your happiness are your relationships and your physical and mental health. For that reason you should focus on improving your well-being, rather than your finances.

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Here are some tips to help improve your relationships and your physical and mental health.

How To Improve Your Relationships

Fix the failed relationships in your life. If a friendship ended and you were okay with that, you don’t need to try and restart it. Instead focus on the relationships you still feel bad about; maybe you need to apologize to someone for your past behaviour, or perhaps you need to assert yourself. This will make you feel much better about the situation, even if the friendship doesn’t improve.

Focus on the people that you love. Dedicate time every day to nurturing the healthy, happy relationships in your life. Phone a friend or family member you haven’t talked to in a while. Cook a meal and invite friends and family over.

If you are lonely or want to make more friends, find people with similar interests. Start by looking online for interesting forums that you could join or for meet-ups in your area that you could attend. You can also look for local classes, such as yoga or cooking classes.

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How To Improve Your Physical Health

Aim to drink 8 glasses of water each day. Water helps to remove toxins from the body and it hydrates your organs, so this is an easy way to improve your health.

Make sure that you get at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

Exercise for 20 minutes, five days a week. You can go for a brisk walk, or you can jog, or you can dance — anything that gets your heart going!

Eat healthy, small, nutritious meals throughout the day. Make sure that your diet includes vegetables, fruit, whole grains and protein. (And don’t forget to occasionally enjoy some chocolate!)

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How To Improve Your Mental Health

Keep yourself occupied. Join a club that sounds interesting, build a cupboard, write down your feelings, feed the homeless, speak to a friend, run a hot bubble bath – anything that you think sounds enjoyable and productive.

Switch up your surroundings. If you’ve been in your room for days, put on your coat and go for a walk outside. You could visit a café or go to the park – anything that gives you the chance to get away from the negative thoughts.

Consider speaking to your doctor, therapist, or counselor for additional support and help. Be honest and open about your mental health.

Reference

[1] The London School of Economic and Political Science: Happiness depends on health and friends, not money, says new study

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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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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