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10 Things People Do Differently To Make Their Life Happier

10 Things People Do Differently To Make Their Life Happier

You’ve tried everything and its flat out not working; you just cant seem to make your life happier. You probably have a great family and friends, and happy home but there is something missing. What is that?

Getting to know yourself and why you do the things you do will help, tremendously, and an insight into your own actions can help you make necessary changes as well.What other simple changes can you make to experience a happier life; would you believe me if I told you this was even possible?

Well there are changes you can make and I’m about to share them with you right now.

Here are 10 Things People Do Differently To Make Their Life Happier:

1. They live by their own rules

Its easy to follow along with what everybody else is doing – working a nine to five, following the latest fashion trends, keeping up with the neighbors, latest gadgets and so on. This can get to a point which can make you frustrated, lost and even not quite knowing why. The alternative is to realize your daily actions. Are you doing something because everyone else is doing it, or are you doing what you really want to do? Living by your own rules being consciously aware of your actions, doing the things in life not by any ones standards but your own.

In essence a happier life involves living by your own rules.

2. They accept who they are

You’re not ‘perfect’ and you never will be. This is actually a good thing because all those little quirks and weird (but wonderful) ideas you have make you special, they make you, you. Your gifts and talents are unique and exclusive to you only, your job is figure them out and use them to your advantage.

Chasing perfection is exhausting and a waste of time. Accept who you are, stop trying to be what you’re not and you’ll find true happiness” -Sarah Moores

3. They say goodbye to dream stealers

They are out there and probably closer than you think. In the form of your friends, family, teachers, spouses and society in general. These folk mean well but say the wrong thing most the time. It’s probably hard if loved ones try to sway you from what you want to do that doesn’t fit in with a conventional society, however your dreams are more important than what others have to say. Listening to someones ‘meaningful’ advice doesn’t have to mean you do what they say, especially when it comes to living the life of your dreams.

Beware the dream stealers, stay aligned and hold tight to your vision” – Kate Spence

4. They are grateful for everything in life

I received an email from one of my readers who said she was not happy and couldn’t manifest all the things she had been trying to bring into her life. I told her, instead of trying to ‘manifest’  new things into her life, start to be grateful for all you have. So now you know my secret to happiness; simply, gratitude.

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Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

5. They take full responsibility everyday

This is an important principal, only when you take full responsibility for everything that happens in your life will your life then be transformed. If you blame other people, the weather, or circumstances you are not taking control of your own life. So you’re probably thinking what does it actually mean to take responsibility for your life? It means making choices based on your current situation and no matter what do not not blame anything outside yourself.

You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind but you can change yourself.” – Jim Rohn

6. They follow their dreams while enjoying the present

Following your dreams is possible with a little planning and work put in. To do this you must know your values, strengths and passions. Every great leader knows who they are and what they believe in and stand for. You should too. This will not only leave you with the confidence in knowing who you are and what you will do in life, but you will be way happier guaranteed! While you follow your dreams, don’t forget to enjoy the journey and make your life enjoyable now. Spend time with people that matter and do things that you really want to do.

Live a life you love – one designed for you, by following your dreams and enjoying each day!

7. They read

Reading is a cool and mind bending experience, allowing you to either get lost in an adventure or learn about stuff other people don’t know about. Reading can serve as a getaway and develop your creativity and imagination. It can also improve self worth by learning an area where you struggle, so it’s a great self help tool making your life much happier. Reading provides you with endless possibilities and feelings of emotional learning and fun!

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.” –P.J. O’Rourke

8. They accept other people as they come

You may be the kind of person who finds others annoying by the the things they say or do, they make your life a misery, and when you are around them you get frustrated. You can flip this around by accepting others as they come – their quirks, annoyances, character and who they are. When you do you will find you have mastered the control of your own emotions by staying relaxed when other people used to annoy you. The truth is they are not annoying you they are being themselves.

Most people can’t understand how others can blow their noses differently than they do.” – Ivan Tugenev

9. They learn to be optimistic

I believe optimism is the secret to happiness and health; many studies have shown this to also be the case. Having a positive outlook on life and in everything you do will sure to make your life happier too. When you expect bad things to happen, they will, and you will always find things to be unhappy about. Being optimistic is about seeing past your current situation and seeing a positive end result. Even when this may not happen, optimistic people take on the attitude of getting past obstacles by learning from lessons and mistakes, but seeing a clear positive end result.

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Optimism is the medicine to your health and happiness

10. They know happiness is a choice

Bottom line… Happiness is a choice, you create your own happiness by realizing that happiness comes from within yourself. Happiness is a mindset, the way you manage the outcome to a situation. There are things that can give you happiness momentarily, like, money, cars, clothes, a big house etc, but true lasting happiness stays with you forever when you find it. Put into practice even just some of these things people do differently to make their life happier and you will see a positive change.

Remember:

Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not.” – Valerie Bertinelli

Featured photo credit: Beauty Winter Girl Blowing Snow in frosty winter Park. Outdoors. Flying Snowflakes. Sunny day. Backlit. Joyful Beauty young woman Having Fun in Winter Park. Defocused via shutterstock.com

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More by this author

Diana Reid

CEO - Moxie House Ltd

How To Find Meaning in Life: 9 Simple Ways 10 Things People Do Differently To Make Their Life Happier 15 Things Happy People Don’t Do What To Do As You Get More Stressful When Chasing Your Dreams Top 8 Reasons Why You SHOULD Get Angry

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

What Makes People Poor Listeners?

Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

How To Be a Better Listener

For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

1. Pay Attention

A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

2. Use Positive Body Language

You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

According to Alan Gurney,[2]

“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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Be polite and wait your turn!

4. Ask Questions

Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

5. Just Listen

This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

6. Remember and Follow Up

Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

  1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
  2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

8. Maintain Eye Contact

When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

Final Thoughts

Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
[2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
[3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
[4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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