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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 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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