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11 Simple Ways to Become a Better Person

11 Simple Ways to Become a Better Person

Nobody’s perfect. Most people are aware of their shortcomings and want to become better. It will impact their profession, their relationships, and their body image. Here are 10 tips to become a better person. If you are perfect, there is no need to read on!

1. Show some respect

If you are late, rude, or do not reply to phone calls, messages, and emails, then there is something wrong. Here are the main areas where you can make sure that you are not offending anyone. If you can tick these off, be pleased with yourself. It means that you show respect for people and their time:

• You are always punctual.
• You reply to messages and phone calls the same day.
• You deal with emails within two business days at the most.
• You are totally reliable – you do what you promise.
• You show respect for people’s opinions but are not afraid to express your own.
• You recognize people’s efforts and can say thank you in an appropriate way.
• You never change arrangements at the last minute, unless there is an emergency.

2. Work for a healthy body and mind

“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” Buddha

Obviously, a healthy mind and body are inextricably linked. They go hand in hand. Exercising regularly helps the body to stay in good shape. There is the added bonus that endorphins are produced after exercise which lift your mood and can stave off depression. Study after study has shown that exercise may be far more beneficial than anti-depressants for the treatment of depression and anxiety.

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3. Learn how to be assertive

“The minute you start compromising for the sake of massaging somebody’s ego, that’s it, game over.” Gordon Ramsay

You can be a better person by empathizing and sympathizing with people. There is a risk of going too far with this and you end up by being a doormat. You may be putting the other person’s needs first and neglecting your own. You may have to make compromises which are not to your advantage.

When you reach the stage of being the world’s best empathizer, it is time to make two lists. The first is full of all the things you have done; the second is what you have gotten back in return. No prizes for guessing which one is the shortest!

Then you make a third list containing what you expect to get back and actually mention these things at the appropriate moment. The objective is to get two lists which are the same length. This is when you have to be assertive.

4. Eat well

Being a better person depends very much on what you eat. If you do not make any effort to eat a healthy diet, you will find that your health is at risk. Diabetes and obesity may start to stalk you. You start to feel unwell and that destroys your good mood. You become less sociable. It is a downward spiral.

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5. Broaden your horizons

Everybody loves routine. It is comforting and leads to a sense of well-being. But when that comfort zone becomes a rut, then it is time to sit up and take notice. Doing exactly the same things, watching the same TV shows, and hanging out with the same old people will ensure that your life is like a nuclear fallout shelter!

Time to go to new places, do different things, and eat ethnic cuisine. Make new friends and promise yourself to do one different thing each week.

6. Be a hero

It does not take much to be a hero. Simple acts of kindness will not cost you anything. Help people with photocopies in the office, or offer to carry shopping bags for an older person. Spread a little karma and you will be rewarded.

7. Listen up

Being a good listener has many great advantages. It demonstrates that you are empathetic and at the same time, lets you off the hook in making any comments. Just listen!

8. Gravitate towards positive people.

“Positive anything is better than negative nothing.” Elbert Hubbard

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This is a no-brainer. Negative people will dispense bitterness, regret, pessimism, envy, and sorrow. Positive people radiate joy, gratitude, hope, optimism, and energy. These people can inspire and uplift. You choose!

9. Be thankful

Once you start counting your blessings, you almost immediately become a better person. You can keep a gratitude journal where you jot down things for which you are truly grateful. There are numerous benefits for your health. You are in a better mood and you feel more relaxed and less envious.

At your job, you can make faster decisions, work better, and you get on well with colleagues. Research done by psychology professor, Robert Emmons, at the University of California shows innumerable health benefits. He says that gratitude is the best approach to life.

10. Look at nature

Be inspired by a beautiful sunset, a starry night, or an awesome dawn. Any activity which makes you aware of the beauty of nature is bound to make you a better person. In fact studies show that people are more empathetic and have nobler goals after exposure to nature.

11. Help somebody

When you help a person in need, you are not just empathizing. You are taking it a step further and showing your concern for a fellow human being. It makes you feel grateful. You also feel more confident in yourself and less preoccupied with your own problems.

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So, how did you do? Do you think you can be a better person or do you think that you do all these things anyway? If that is the case, congratulations! If you are not scoring 100%, well, not to worry. All you need to do is to start with just one and work on it. One day at a time.

“When characters change on screen, it makes you feel better about yourself. You think, ‘Oh, I change too, I’m constantly becoming a better person.’” Jason Reitman

Featured photo credit: John Goodridge via via Flickr

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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 August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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