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15 Simple Things To A Happier You In 2017

15 Simple Things To A Happier You In 2017

In a world where life is going 100 mph, it’s often hard to be present. Most people don’t know what ‘being present’ even means. People are so bombarded with distractions from daily life that their minds are full, their hearts are sad, and their anxiety levels are soaring.

People are striving to be happier, but they don’t know how to achieve it. “If I get this job, I will be happier.” “If I buy that new iPhone, that new dress, or go on that dream holiday, I will be happier.” “If I lose 6lbs, I will be happier.” “If my partner gives me more attention, I will be happier.” Often, the happiness that we get from attaining those things is only short lived. Little do we realize that the power to be happier is inside us; it starts with us, it ends with us, and no material item, person, or place can make us happier – it has to come from within. Try some of these simple things for a happier you in 2017.

1. Embrace yourself.

They say if we spoke to others how we talked to ourselves, we wouldn’t have any friends. Make 2017 the year that you are kind to yourself. Say nice things to yourself, love yourself for who you are. Take a moment to realize how amazing your body is and instead of focusing on how it looks, thank it for everything else. Our bodies do so much more for us than we give it credit for. Practice self-love, find beautiful words to say to yourself, and ignore that “horrible voice” that just brings self-doubt.

2. Be kind to yourself.

Some days we are on point; we can seem to glide through the day and be the best version of ourselves. Other days, everything seems to go wrong. Learn not to punish yourselves on those days; listen to your body and ask it what it needs. If you need a day on the sofa in your pj’s watching movies, then do it. If you can’t be bothered to do the endless list of chores that you have set yourself, then don’t do it. We strive too much to be perfect, but life isn’t like that. Be kind to yourself this year!

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3. Don’t compare yourselves to others.

In a world where social media can make other people’s lives look perfect, we need to remember that it’s often fake; just like the movies, it’s often not real life. Comparing yourself to others is the worst thing that you can do for your self-esteem. Take a moment to look at all your personal achievements, no matter how small they may seem. We all have something, every single one of us. Spend less time looking at other people lives, and start to realize how great you are!

4. Don’t always listen to the negative noise.

We have an inbuilt “pain in the butt” noise called ‘self-doubt.” That noise is there for a reason; to help us survive. However, in a world where there is no longer a Saber-tooth tiger chasing us, we don’t need to fear for our lives as much as our brain thinks we do; be mindful of this. That self-doubting voice can get really loud sometimes, but find the strength to push through it. You got this; you are braver and stronger than you believe!

5. Learn to love yourself.

I say this in a non-narcissistic way of course. Loving yourself is not posting selfies onto social media looking absolutely fabulous and hashtagging the living daylights out of the picture. Self-love is about being kind to yourself and nurturing yourself; it’s about doing things that make you happy. Spending time with friends and family, walking in nature, yoga…whatever it is, make 2017 a year where you do more of this. Appreciate yourself for the wonderfully unique person that you are.

6. Go for walks in nature.

It’s so important that we take some time most days to switch off and walk in nature. Don’t put pressure on yourself to go for a long walk or hike, just start small. If walking is new to you, just try a few minutes a couple of times a week; aim to do this without your phone or music device. Listen to the birds and the trees, and let your senses awaken. We are so connected to our phones these days that we are aren’t giving ourselves any free time to “just be.”

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Whenever you can, kick off your shoes and walk barefoot. There is something so enriching and calming about walking barefoot; some call it “earthing.” When we walk barefoot on the earth, we can be recharged by the planet. Make sure that you look up; we are all so used to looking down at our phones that we forget to look above us. Watch the clouds, notice the birds, and stare at the stars; your inner child will thank you for it!

7. Try meditation this year.

So many people avoid meditation, since they feel they can’t switch off. Even thinking about mindfulness or meditation can be so daunting; our minds are now so full of data and images from other people’s lives, that our thoughts are in constant overdrive! The very best thing that you can do for yourself is to give your mind a little holiday! Even a few minutes a day, a couple of times each week is a step in the right direction.

8. Don’t go to bed or wake up with your phone.

We have now become so surgically attached to our phones that we check them as soon as we wake. Our ancestors would wake with the sun; now we wake with the blue light from our phones. Take a few moments to wake up naturally. Hug your partner or your dog, cuddle your kids, open the blinds and watch the world wake up. Give yourself some time until you start connecting with the outside world, if only for a few minutes. Try and leave your phone out of the bedroom; it’s difficult, but worth a try, and you might find that you fall asleep quicker and sleep better!

9. Look at yourself naked in the mirror and thank your body.

In a society where we see “perfect bodies” all over magazines, television, and social media, it can make us feel insecure about our bodies, but they do so much more for us than just “look good.” Bodies keep us alive, and they allow most of us to walk and talk and connect with others. We have arms to hug the people that we love the most, we have legs to allow us to walk in nature, swim, and run. We have eyes to see and ears to hear, yet we get angry at ourselves because we don’t have the perfect beach body. Embrace your incredible body. Stand naked in the mirror and thank your body for all the wonderful things it does for you. Remember that even the people in the magazines and on social media don’t look that, either! Be real, be you, and be kind to yourself.

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10. See yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you.

Our “negative voice” can be so mean to us. Look at yourself from the eyes of someone who loves you: your parents, your grandparents, friends, partner, or children. See how much they love you for who you are. The things that you may dislike about yourself may be the very thing that makes you perfect to them. You could even ask them, “What is something that you love about me?” Their answers could surprise you!

11. Connect with your children more, instead of your iPhone.

You are right in the middle of finding the perfect Instagram filter. You captured the perfect shot, and you are hashtagging the heck out of it and uploading it to social media.Your little three-year-old, who’s just given you a perfect smile for the picture, runs over and wants you to look at the dead spider with missing legs. You know what happens next, right? You shrug them off and tell them you are busy. No one is perfect, so let’s not beat ourselves up here. However, sometimes happiness is found in the simplest of things, and spending two minutes talking about where the spider’s other legs might be, or where its Mommy and Daddy may have gone, could make your soul smile. Trying to be more present with our children can make us happier. Children see the world from a different perspective than us; they notice things: clouds, nature, dead spiders with missing legs, and we all need a bit more of that in our lives.

12. Listen to your gut!

Our guts are so intuitive, yet we’ve stopped listening to them as much as we should. Instead, we listen to that negative inner voice which only creates doubt and anxiety. In 2017, make it a year that you are going to listen to your gut; go with it, trust it, and believe in it, because it has the answers to your problems that your head hasn’t quite worked out yet.

13. Do more of what makes you feel good.

If coffee makes you feel great, then drink it and enjoy it, but if makes you feel edgy and jittery, think about a different drink. If alcohol works for you then great, but if it doesn’t and it makes your feel anxious and depressed the next day, then you know what to do. If pumping iron in the gym makes you feel awesome, then do more of that, but if it doesn’t and you are the sort of person who needs the grounding and calming from yoga, then do that. This is your life, your journey, and your body and mind. Feed your soul with things that work for you.

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14. Take a moment to breathe.

In the western world, we have become a society that does a million things at once. We can achieve so much while waiting for the kettle to boil. We answer emails and texts while in the bathroom. No one is beating you up for this, but we aren’t allowing ourselves any quiet time every single time we do this. Taking just ten slow breaths in and out can help us to achieve a calmer mindset. So, next time you want to try and fit in twenty things while the kettle boils, just take some time to stop and breathe instead. Or, next time you are at the traffic lights and you reach for your phone, stop and use this time to practice slow breathing. Try and get slow breathing into your daily routine: shower, brush teeth, slow breathing.

15. Start to believe that you are enough.

Billions of people share this planet, yet you are so unique that there is only one of you. You are on this planet for a reason; only you know that reason, so embrace it, and if you don’t know what it is yet, make 2017 the year that you find it! Be proud of who you are, be proud of your achievements in life, no matter how small. We are all part of this planet; we are all connected, and we all have the ability to love. It’s one of the greatest gifts that humanity can offer, but this year, make sure that you love you!

2017 can be a year for great progression! In numerology, 2017 is considered as year 1 in the new 9-year life cycle, which means it’ll be a year for plenty of new elements and lots of hope! The best gift that you can give yourself is not to dwell on anything that happened last year. Whether 2016 was a good year or a bad year for you, it is now in the past, and this is a new year with new hopes, dreams, and opportunities.

Try not to worry about what will be or what has been, just aim to be more present in the everyday moments. This year, embrace yourself and give yourself a pat on the back for all that is great about you. Be your biggest fan, because with a little self-love and self-care your happiness will reflect off of you like sunshine!

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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Susy Parker

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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