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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 August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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