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Mastering The Art of Happiness (9 Tips to Get Started)

Mastering The Art of Happiness (9 Tips to Get Started)

As we get older, we begin to understand that a fulfilling life is one in which we are unapologetically happy.

However, finding and maintaining that happiness can be evasive for some; even though the potential for happiness is all around us!

If you’ve always thought of the potential of mastering the art of happiness, but was never quite sure where to begin, we’ve got you covered.

In this guide, we’ll break it down for you so achieving happiness isn’t just attainable, but actually quite simple!

Happiness Is Simple

If you want to live a happier lifestyle, here are 9 tips that will help you to get started on the road to happiness!

1. Acceptance is Key

It becomes easy to lose track of your happiness when you are consistently fighting against the current of your life.

All things, no matter whether they are good or bad, enter our lives for a reason; and, we choose how to respond to each situation.

Rather than pushing each of these situations away when they don’t appeal to you, attempt to embrace them and find solutions that help you come out a victor on the other side.

When you begin to go with the flow and work with what you’ve been given, you’ll find that you become much happier overall.

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2. Positivity is All Around You

Everything has a positive aspect. Everything!

Even the most painful or difficult situations have a silver lining to them. When we fail to recognize these positive aspects and only focus on the negative outcomes or qualities of a certain person or situation, it makes it easier for sadness and doubt to creep into our lives.

The next time that you are dealing with something painful or difficult, try to take a step back from the situation and assess it logically.

Is there something in this situation that could be perceived as positive?

If you search deep enough, you are certain to find some type of positivity. Never give up!

3. Fill Your Life With Love

A life filled with activities and relationships that do not fulfill you is a waste of your time and will not make you happy. As life goes on, we lose track of our hopes and dreams and begin to settle on what we think we should be doing rather than what we want to do.

Although this is a habit that is hard to break away from, settling can make us rather unhappy. The solution? Start taking a look at each area of your life and decide whether or not you feel fulfilled.

In the areas where you feel as though you are lacking, take some time to figure out what may make you feel happier. For example, imagine that your job is not quite what you thought it would be when you first started, and definitely not the job that you dreamt about when you were growing up.

While some people would stick with this job despite this major issue, consider the idea of making a job change. The reason you make this change is because you know that you will be happier doing what you want to do rather than what is expected! Although it will take some time, the end results will be worth it.

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4. Make Every Minute Count

The honest truth about life is that we only have so many minutes on this planet. Why waste them being unhappy?

You should be living your life to the fullest and getting everything you want, rather than spending your time doing things that don’t matter to you. If you have moments where you feel unfulfilled, or you are voluntarily spending time with people that make you less than happy, reduce these tendencies.

It can be hard to remember that there are so many hours in the day but it is a very motivational piece of information.

To remind yourself of this key piece of information, put a sticky note down in a place where you find yourself repeatedly throughout the day or set the reminder as your phone wallpaper.

This way, you will always remember that each minute counts and that you need to chase what you want in order to lead the happiest life possible. Prioritize your time as though it is precious–because it is.

5. Practice Self-Care

Self-care is one of the most important things to do to stay happy and maintain your overall mental health. What is self-care? To put it simply, self-care is the practice of engaging in activities that help you to mentally recharge.

For example, a self-care day may involve an hour of intense journaling, a trip to the spa where you get a full body treatment, and a couple of hours of your favorite movies. No matter what you do, self-care activities will always help you to center yourself and make you feel more relaxed.

There is no rule as to how often you need to practice self-care to stay happy and healthy. Just practice it whenever you feel that you need it! Of course, don’t neglect your obligations, but certainly don’t feel guilty for giving yourself a mental recharge every once in a while. In the end, these small acts of self care will make a big difference.

6. Seek Out Exciting Experiences

A stagnant lifestyle can become a boring and unsatisfying lifestyle rather quickly. Even the happiest of individuals can find themselves unsatisfied if they continue to live the same day repeatedly.

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You should always be seeking out new experiences to learn more about the world around you and to discover new passions and interesting (and inspiring!) people. The best thing about new experiences is that they often don’t have to be large or expensive to be satisfying.

Sit down with your phone or with a piece of pencil and a paper and jot down some of the things that you have always wanted to do. After you’ve finished your own personal list, do some exploring on the internet and come up with some ideas of activities that you’ve wanted to do or places that you’ve wanted to visit as well.

Once your list is full, make it your goal to tackle these items one by one. Eventually, you will have fulfilled these passions and you can begin to create a list of new ones! Before you know it, you’ll look back on what you’ve accomplished and feel incredibly fulfilled.

7. Set Goals and Dominate Them

There is nothing quite like setting a goal and successfully following through on it. In fact, this is one of the main confidence-building methods recommended for those who are trying to work through their depression.

Without goals, life can become very bland and you may lose focus on what truly matters to you. Goals are what give you purpose and motivation to live through each day doing what it is that will make you happy.

One great source for goal-making and following through on your goals is Zig Ziglar’s Wheel of Life. This source will teach you about the main categories of life goals that you should be setting for yourself, and how you can be strong on your follow through as well!

8. Express Endless Gratitude

Being grateful is truly a blessing. Through gratitude, we learn that there is always something beautiful going on in our lives. Even during the darkest of days, you can still be grateful for something as simple as getting eight hours of sleep or having a stranger saying hello to you on the street.

To start practicing gratitude, all you have to do is begin reciting the things you are grateful for daily. One popular method for showing gratitude is to grab a journal and to write down three things each day that you are grateful for.

After a while, you will begin to notice that your perspective towards life has shifted and you will begin looking for the positive rather than focusing on the negative!

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You’ll find it easier to focus on all the things that you are grateful for without trying, which will being a great sense of joy to your everyday life. This comes in handy especially during times of stress; in these times, remembering the things you are grateful for can be incredibly beneficial.

9. Volunteer Your Time 

As Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” We all get a little too tangled up in our own lives and thoughts sometimes, that we can forget there is a whole world out there filled with situations and people who are just as complex as we are.

Volunteering helps shed some light on that reality and it gives you the opportunity to reach out, help others, and make a difference in the community or in the world. When you have the ability to make a major difference in someone’s day, happiness is sure to flock to you.

Helping others will also make you consider all the things in your own life to be grateful for, and again, this gratitude will take you quite far in your pursuit of happiness.

Happiness is All Around

While happiness may seem hard to obtain, the truth is that it is all around us and you just need to know where to look, what to do, and how to appreciate the pockets of happiness in life.

By following the guidance within these 9 suggestions above, you will be living the happy life that you have always wanted in no time.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Jenn Evelyn-Ann on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Dylan Buckley

Dylan is Lifehack's Motivation Expert specializing in self-development, with extensive experience working for life coaches and startups.

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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