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10 Signs You’re Genuinely Happy (Though You Don’t Realize It)

10 Signs You’re Genuinely Happy (Though You Don’t Realize It)

The world is chasing after lavish parties, dreamy vacations, expensive weddings, weekend getaways and high-tech gadget acquisition. In wanting to be a part of the in-crowd, it’s easy to spend a lot on luxury items and the hullabaloo around them. However, in spite of the extravaganza and buzz, there may still be a part of you that doesn’t feel genuinely happy. Is this the way things are, or do you just overthink it at times?

No, don’t sulk over the lines above, they are not there to tell you what you should or should not be doing. Instead they are intended to help us understand why we think that we are not genuinely happy. Maybe your life is becoming more complicated, but there are signs that you can still be genuinely happy thanks to the simple and free (almost!) things in life.

And if you need a reminder, here is my list of the happiness-inducing simple things in life for the keeps, for the weeks and for the eternal times to be.

1. You learn something new every day.

    You may not realize this, but with everything that you learn, good or bad, you imbibe something new. Even though you might feel it’s just a part of your routine or something you had to do, learning new things can make you happy and strong. It might be something that you had been stockpiling away for a long time but never had the time to actually do. It could be something you have yearned for, not yet heard of, or something unique. It could be simple things like swimming, driving, or learning a form of dance, or something major and unfortunate like a heartbreak or passing away of a loved one.

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    2. You take a vacation all by yourself.

      Remember the time your dad taught you how to ride a bike? Well, you actually learned the skill when you figured it out all by yourself, when your dad let go his hands on your back or the handles. Similarly, you learn and experience things best when you are all by yourself. Once you take a vacation alone, you tend to find all the routes and figure out the maps by yourself. You decide on whether to laze by the beach or to take the train or the taxi. This definitely makes you genuinely happy from within. Most importantly, you learn to be fiercely independent, mindful, and enjoy your own company.

      3. You spend time with nature.

        You would never realize how much sheer happiness this one can bring you. Whether it’s the rainy season and the leaves are all drippy droopy, or the early morning when the dew drops glisten in the rays of sunlight; the sunset that gives you the endearing hope of rising again or the twilight that gives way to darkness. Nature is symbolic of life and takes away all the worries and tensions that we have in this world for a while.

        4. You love your body.

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          Remember the time you were excited to wear your favorite black dress for a date and couldn’t fit into it? Or the time you were trying to fit into your old jeans and got stuck? While you don’t want to be as skinny as a supermodel, start working on those love handles now. If you don’t get much time to exercise, you need to make the time to walk, jog, do yoga or swim in the mornings, evenings or weekends. Try to feast more on fruits, veggies and salads, but do allow yourself little treats at times. You will slowly start feeling more fresh, active and beautiful. You’ll feel happy to love and take care of your body.

          5. You start cooking.

            Studies have proven that food cooked by you own hands is more healthy, tasty and beneficial to your body than that from a restaurant or takeout. Now you may not like the taste of it initially, or find the time for it, but start slow, maybe on weekends. It’s also amazing how much you learn about different cultures just by tasting (or cooking) their cuisine. In fact you can experiment a lot when you cook by yourself and can win over your friends, your partner or your boss. Definitely an underrated pleasure and a sign of genuine happiness.

            6. You do something that scares you.

              Well, it doesn’t sound like a pleasure, at least not in the beginning, but then once you overcome your fears, you may well start slowly enjoying  something that scares you, even if you don’t realize it’s happening. I find it hard too, but past experiences have made me realize the reasons why was I was scared in the first place. It could be anything ranging from watching a horror movie, moving out of home, or traveling on a flight for the first time, to bungee jumping, scuba diving or a wild life safari. Studies have shown that the kind of hormones that get released when you have an adrenaline rush give you pleasure and are responsible for your happiness.

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              7.  You learn a language.

                Odd though it may seem, this is something simple that can make you very happy, and it rates very high on my personal list. Not only do you learn how to twist your tongue and develop a new accent, it is actually very useful and can take you places. Studies have proven that your brain starts functioning faster, you start feeling accomplished, and you inwardly get very happy once you start learning a new language. You could land a new job, make some friends, or maybe even make a new life altogether. And the amount of pleasure? Infinite.

                8. You shop till you drop.

                  Now this doesn’t necessarily mean clothes, shoes, accessories or expensive gadgets. It has been tested and proven that shopping is the best mood lifter when people are down. Shop for some cheap junk jewelry at flea markets, the groceries, art, or maybe just some books or music. It’s not just the amount of money spent on the shopping that matters, it’s the sheer pleasure, the achievement of finding a bargain, or the memories you recall when you use those things that matter and actually make you glad.

                  9. You listen to, enjoy and dance to music.

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                    OK, maybe you had a break up or a fight with your partner or just a terrible day at work. How can listening to some dumb songs or tunes make you feel better, you say? Well, it can for sure. Just turn on the radio or load you favorite playlist and hum along. Of course it isn’t going to solve any of your problems, but it can lighten your spirits and make you forget things for a while. In fact starting your day with some music is definitely going to give you the right attitude to face your problems. A spring in your step for the day and you are ready! You never realized the power of music before and how much it could make you happy, did you?

                    10. You laugh out loud a lot!

                      Remember the time when you laughed till your stomach hurt? That is a sign of a simple thing making you happy, a big one indeed. This is the oldest trick in the book and you already know about it, so what’s the big deal? But how many of us laugh about things whole-heartedly every day with all the stress and tension going on? Barely a few. The easiest thing is call up an old friend and you are guaranteed to laugh remembering the old times. Also, most importantly, don’t just laugh, laugh it off. Those funny times, those awkward times, those not so pleasant times, and the perceived problems that you are facing right now. Whenever you do so it not only increases your blood circulation and immune system, you feel better and happy.

                      Happiness is a state of mind, as a wise person once said. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the list above proves the statement to be true. Life is filled with simple pleasures, the little satisfying effects you never really anticipate, but always take great pleasure in. With very few exceptions, I believe these simple pleasures hold universal appeal. They are the gifts of life that we each subconsciously celebrate in our own unique way, though it’s easy to forget what we have.

                      Featured photo credit: Genuine Happiness in Nature via wallpapersus.com

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                      Last Updated on April 11, 2019

                      How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

                      How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

                      Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

                      I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

                      I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

                      Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

                      How Communication Skills Help Your Success

                      Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

                      Create a Positive Experience

                      Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

                      When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

                      What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

                      Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

                      As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

                      Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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                      Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

                      Help Leadership Skills

                      It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

                      Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

                      As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

                      Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

                      If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

                      Build Better Teams

                      Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

                      In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

                      If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

                      When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

                      Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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                      How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

                      There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

                      Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

                      1. Listen

                      Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

                      Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

                      People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

                      Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

                      Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

                      2. Know Your Audience

                      Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

                      Here is a good way to think about it:

                      Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

                      You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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                      3. Minimize

                      I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

                      He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

                      Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

                      State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

                      The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

                      4. Over Communicate

                      So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

                      What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

                      Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

                      Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

                      Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

                      There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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                      5. Body Language

                      The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

                      When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

                      In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

                      When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

                      Conclusion

                      Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

                      Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

                      There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

                      Now go communicate your way to success.

                      More Resources About Effective Communication

                      Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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