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10 Basic Rules of Happiness You Need to Follow

10 Basic Rules of Happiness You Need to Follow

Happiness they say, is a state of mind.

Great riches, the mansion, a swanky boat and a fancy car won’t necessarily make you happy, nor will a life completely without work. In fact, many of the suggested routes to happiness that we’re fed by the powers that be are leading us to early graves and fits of depression.

The basic rules of happiness are quite simple, and here are 10 easy to follow rules that you need to learn in order to be happy.

1. Turn Your Happiness Switch to ‘On’

We are all born with a happiness switch. Remember when you were younger and you’d race home from school with a heart full of joy just because school was out?

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Think back to what made you happy as a child and you’ll probably find it was the small mini-experience that made your heart race, rather than the big wondrous experiences we crave as we get older.

Find that small happiness switch within you and keep it turned ‘on’ to your own happiness level, always.

2. Understand that Happiness is a Journey not a Destination

We’ve all been given a magic book; the book of life. It has a beginning, a middle and an end.

Make sure you focus on fulfillment and enjoy the journey of your story. Live every page, and savor every word, just make sure to live each day as if it were your last.

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3. Learn How to Cope with Frustration

Remember that total control in life is not an option and we all get frustrated for different reasons about different things. A basic rule of happiness is to be able to raise your frustration tolerance and this means letting go of being in control. Too much control kills happiness and feeds frustration.

4. Live in the Moment and Embrace the Present

There’s no use in waiting for tomorrow to arrive, hoping that it will bring you more of what makes you happy. Today is all you have, right now is all you have and you need to find ways to be happy in this moment. Enjoy your family, live your dreams, let your imagination soar, whatever it takes because this is your journey.

If you’re banking on winning the lottery to make you happy, you’re probably on the wrong track for happiness.

5. Understand Your Life’s Purpose

When you’re in sync with your purpose, you are more likely to feel content and happy. If you don’t know what your values and purpose in life really are, then take a good hard look at what you stand for as well as what really makes your heart sing.

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6. Set Achievable Goals and Pursue them Within Reason

Goals are the essence of hope, and they inspire you to get out of bed in the morning. Happy people have short, mid-term and long term goals that they are striving towards, but they don’t pursue them at the risk of their well-being.

Make sure you have goals, but weave them into your life in a balanced way.

7. See the Wonder of the Simplest Things 

Take time out every day and enjoy the simple things in life. Many millionaires have found out that money isn’t everything and chasing life’s big pleasures instead of the small ones is futile in the pursuit of happiness because you are as likely missing tiny sparkling diamonds that are strewn across your life’s path.

8. Give, Give, Give

“Give and you shall receive,” but how about forgetting about the receiving bit and just give, give and give some more? Giving of yourself, your time or a percentage of your money will most likely reward you with huge chunks of happiness – it’s a universal law.

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9. Never Sacrifice Family for Achievement

Just imagine for a moment … you are living in a big house, perhaps the house of your dreams with a fancy car in the garage and money in the bank account for a five star holiday. Wow, you’ve really made it … or have you?  Great wealth nearly always means sacrifice, in the form of large chunks of your time. You might have had to relegate your loved ones to second best, perhaps you have a failed relationship in your wake, perhaps you have missed your children’s childhood years, or been too busy to celebrate birthdays and remember anniversaries. At the end of the day, it’s no good having all life’s fancy trappings if there’s nobody meaningful to share them with.

10. Don’t Let the Past Color Your Future

Your past is over. It’s happened. The water has flown under the bridge and disappeared from view leaving fresh water in its wake. You have no power to change events that have occurred already and happy people know this. Don’t waste time worrying about the past, instead  focus on what you can change or accomplish right now.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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