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10 Adorable Characteristics Happy People Have

10 Adorable Characteristics Happy People Have

Everybody wants to be happy, but how many people can say they are? A recent study shows that only one out of every three Americans is actually happy. On a list of the top 20 happiest countries in the world, America just barely ranks at #17. This is kind of ridiculous when you think about all the freedoms and conveniences Americans enjoy that less wealthy nations will never experience. Even if you are not happy, it is likely you know someone who is. Think about how much you adore them and why. Observe them closely for a while and you might notice a surprising amount of room for growth in your own habits. Here are some of the things happy people do to make life better for everyone around them.

They Are Nice

It might seem like an overly general term, but happy people are usually nice. They are well-liked and pleasant to be around. They are respectful, warm, considerate, and helpful. They don’t get jealous. They don’t waste time gossiping and complaining. They seem to have infinite patience and give freely of themselves. Traits like these can only stem from a deep-seated sense of contentedness. Nice people create a social climate that puts everyone else at ease.

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They Are Honest

True happiness cannot coexist with lies. Those who lie to themselves are more likely to lie to others and struggle with unhealthy relationships. Honesty starts with an informed sense of self. Happy people know who they are and aren’t afraid to show it. They are consistently themselves and do not feel the need to wear masks or pretend to be something they are not for any reason. Life is a lot less complicated when you allow yourself to be the same person at all times. By letting go of lies, happy people set an inspiring example which encourages those around them to flourish.

They Are Cooperative

Happy people are not overly concerned with dominating, yet they tend to come out on top. Victory is meaningless to the happy person without a team to share in the glory. There is a reason why it is customary for people who win awards to stand up and give a speech about all the people who helped them along the way. It is because nobody gets there alone, and taking all the credit for yourself is just mean. The idea of winning or dominating denotes pushing other people down on your way to the top. Those who recognize the efforts of others and freely share the joys of success tend to live much happier lives.

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They Have Beautiful Smiles

There is a huge difference between smiling for the camera and smiling as a function of happiness. Anyone can show their teeth. Happy people smile with their entire bodies, and sometimes with all the energy in a one-foot radius. A real smile cannot be faked. When you run around emanating a radiant glow in response to all the joys of life, you are bound to attract some admirers.

They Are Well Adjusted

Happy people revel in life’s small pleasures. This gives them access to sources of joy that pass most people by. At the same time, they don’t get bogged down by the petty little details that seem to keep plenty of others stuck in the dumps. They know what is worth savoring and what to disregard. Happy people have a rational sense of scale to keep them grounded. The resulting positive perspective can turn any problem into an opportunity for growth.

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They Surround Themselves with Happy People

Whether they actively seek out other folks with similar habits or they have the effect of raising the positive charge everywhere they go, happy people do not often stand alone. Glee is contagious. Groups of people tend to observe each other and subsequently imitate the most attractive behaviors they find in those around them. If enough folks agree to treat each other the way they would like to be treated, the result will be infectious and irresistible to bystanders.

They Are Spontaneous

A good relationship with the value of each passing moment is an essential component of happiness. If living in the present is so easy to do, why is it so many people are preoccupied with thoughts of the elsewhere, the future, and the past? Happy people are comfortable in their skin. They are content and aware in whatever moment they inhabit. This allows them to see opportunities for fun and adventure which others might overlook. It is part of why happy people are always the life of the party.

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They Are Good Listeners

Communication is about more than just barking a bunch of orders and wondering why nobody is listening. Harmony cannot exist in a vacuum. Can you imagine trying to sing in a barbershop quartet without being able to hear the other singers? In order to create a resonating chord, you must listen to what is happening around you and find just the right place for your own vibrations. Happy people are always looking for new perspectives as a way of informing their own. The feelings of others matter deeply to them because they know the greater good involves far more than just their own desires. Happy people have made a lifelong commitment to constantly learning, and they know the only way to do this is to be quiet and listen.

They Expect Less

It stands to reason that if you expect less, you will be satisfied with less. This mindset allows a more sustainable and unmaterialistic approach to life. Those who focus on what others should be doing for them are often disappointed more often than they are satisfied. True happiness comes from within, not from deeds or objects originating outside the self. Happy people know this, and they expect more from themselves than they do from external sources. They are more likely to accept than to demand, simply because a state of acceptance is a much healthier place to be than one of constant unmet demands.

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They Don’t Judge

Nobody likes being judged. This is because the majority of judgments we make about each other are false and misinformed. Happy people understand through their own experiences that life is a perpetual learning process and everything we go through changes us in some way. With this knowledge, it just doesn’t make sense to hold a bunch of grudges. Happy people accept that we all struggle with different weaknesses, and everyone has the potential to figure things out in due time. This makes happy people better and more patient companions than those who are always judging others for their weaknesses.

The road to happiness is not an easy one to travel. It requires a sense of humble honesty which does not come naturally to everyone. Happy people are popular and successful for a reason. Anyone who smiles that much has got to be doing something right. It’s time you realized how much you have to learn from them. Happy people do not want you to be jealous. They want you to share in their joy by opening yourself up to the lessons all around you. They want to learn from you while inspiring you with their example. This is why we love happy people, and the world would probably stop turning without them. Hug your local happy person today. Let them take you by the hand and lead you toward a better life.

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

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Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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