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10 Things Every Woman Needs For A Happy Life

10 Things Every Woman Needs For A Happy Life

It is fascinating to read about 900 working women who were asked to record what they had done the day before. Were they happy with what they noted down? Unfortunately, no! They were shocked to see how many things they had done that they hated doing. In other words, they were missing out on happiness. So, read this post to discover 10 things every woman needs for a happy life.

1. Savor happy moments

Instead of worrying all the time and fretting about getting from A to B, try savoring happy moments, feelings and sensations. Worries will do nothing for your happiness.

“Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that—thoughts.” – Allan Lokos

Dr. Fred Bryant from Loyola University Chicago is an expert on this, and his book called Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience, is well worth reading.

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Why not try to prolong the pleasure on some of the following:

  • Enjoy the smell and taste of coffee or other things you eat and drink. Turning off devices and TV really helps.
  • Concentrate on the here and now.
  • Note what you can be thankful for.
  • Wallow in pleasant memories.
  • Bask in the pride of having achieved a mini goal today.

These happy, savoring moments put worries in their place.

“What worries you, masters you.” – John Locke

2. Discover your favourite exercise

There’s no need to list all the health benefits of regular exercise here. But did you know that exercise can ward off depression and in some instances works better than antidepressants? Study after study shows how endorphins (often nicknamed the happy chemicals) are released in the brain after any type of exercise. Mood is improved and there is a general feeling of happiness. Don’t miss out on this marvellous tonic. Choose a sport you really like and you will be getting a dose of happiness on a regular basis.

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3. Look after your friends

Did you know that the number of social contacts and friends you have affects your longevity, health and happiness? Support from friends in times of stress and the comfort and joy that they can bring are obvious indicators. About 5,000 adults were tracked for nine years in Alameda County (near San Francisco). Results showed that there was a definite correlation between the number of social contacts and healthy old age. Those who lived in isolation died younger.

4. You need a sense of humor

“A cigar may just be a cigar, but a joke is never just a joke.” – Sigmund Freud

Laughing at jokes, making jokes or just laughing at funny videos on YouTube are all ways of making you happier. It is true that you can use jokes to help lessen the pain of trauma, illness and mental stress. That is good for your happiness as humor helps you see the positive side of life and can make you more resilient. Watch this video and see how cancer patients who were happier and had a sense of humor had much better chances of recovery.

5. Reading helps you dream

Reading can inform you, help you fantasize, take you to exotic locations and is a wonderful escape valve. Have a list of books to help you reach your reading goals. We should also never forget to encourage our children to read from early on in life, so that they too will experience the joy of reading for:

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  • Knowledge
  • Entertainment
  • Inspiration
  • Curiosity

6. Find a mentor

Many women in their careers need to have a mentor who can be there to guide, instruct, advise and encourage. This is a much more practical way to progress than admiring an idol from afar!

It is tempting to look for someone with a similar background and experience to your own. If you do that, they will not be so quick at identifying your weaknesses or needs. Try to be transparent about giving feedback on the outcome of their advice. Do not be afraid to tell them if you chose not to follow their suggestions.

7. Get a hobby or interest

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Director of the Quality of Life Research Center at Claremont Graduate University, has done some fascinating work on the study of happiness. He defines a deeply satisfying experience as a state of consciousness (‘flow’), which is the basic ingredient of happiness. One of the best ways of encouraging this state is to have a passion, interest or hobby: sport, art, literature, cooking or whatever. It is while you are absorbed in this activity that you can reach this state of flow. Best of all, you are unaware of time passing while doing it. It is one of the best recipes for happiness.

8. Build your self-esteem

Did you know that there is a part of the brain, the anterior cingulated cortex, that is particularly active in generating all those negative thoughts and all those doubts about your beauty, talents and intelligence? Guess what? In women this part of the brain is actually larger than in men! So there may be a neurological explanation for all those doubts that erode your self-esteem.

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Read the book The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, a neuropsychiatrist at the University of California in San Francisco, to understand more about this. To put it briefly, labels you inherit in childhood tend to stick, your failures take up far too much room in your brain and you end up having problems in building your self-esteem. The best way to combat all this is to start reading about female heroines who made their mark against all the odds. With time you can change your negative way of thinking and start singing your own praises for a change. You can ignore what magazines tell you that you should look like and find clothes that suit your body shape better.

9. Don’t forget loving relationships

Can surgery, sex or money make you happy? You have never had it so good in that you can choose your life partner and there is no obligation to enter marriage or have children, in most countries. Yet women in western society have to do a complicated juggling act to appear beautiful, to be successful at work, in marriage, and parenting, and running a home that meets with peer and family approval. This materialistic attitude forgets one important factor. The happiest women are those who are involved in loving relationships (family, partners or friends). You never worry too much about wearing the right shoes. You are far too involved in something much bigger than yourself.

10. Be grateful

Happy women feel grateful a lot of the time. You may keep a gratitude journal if that suits you. But the main thing is to think that life is a precious gift. Just say thank you as often as you can.

What makes happiness in your view? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Featured photo credit: Personal Excellence /Christine Chua via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Freelance writer

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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