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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

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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