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13 Things Happy People Choose to Do Every Day

13 Things Happy People Choose to Do Every Day

Many of us have met someone who exhibited a positive attitude, but how many of us have met someone who chose practical, concrete steps to maintain it each day? If you have met someone who fits the bill, don’t feel alarmed or surprised. They do not follow a wizardly badge of honor. In fact, there are numerous heartfelt lessons and fascinating tricks that we can learn from happy people. Learn how to choose to be positive from these 13 things happy people do every day.

1. They choose to exercise.

It’s common knowledge that exercise can rejuvenate organs such as your heart and skin. But according to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, your brain may greatly benefit too. In this study, researchers tracked 180 college-age students for eight days and discovered that those who were more physically active reported greater general feelings of enthusiasm and excitement than those who exercised less. Some people may not enjoy exercising, but happy people try to dedicate at least a small portion of their day to staying in shape.

2. They choose to use positive self-questioning.

The ancient Greek philosopher Epictetus was quoted as saying, ”Men are disturbed not by things, but by they view which they take of them.” If that’s true, what’s the support structure for erroneous perceptions?  Perhaps it may lie in the negative questions that we ask ourselves. Maybe the actual problem is how you investigate the issue, rather than the actual problem itself. Happy people may not always notice it, but they make a deliberate effort to steer their self-questioning into an enlightening experience rather than bringing them down. They also choose to use positive language, like ”What can I do?” over ”I can’t do this.”

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3. They choose to get enough sleep.

Has someone ever encouraged you to stay up all night in order to study for an exam or watch a late night show past one in the morning? It’s probably not a good idea to listen to them. In fact, a good night’s sleep is not only crucial, but linked to happiness. According to a 2013 study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, out of the 100 participants studied, those who experienced more positive emotions had better sleep habits. In turn, happy people don’t waste time playing video games at midnight when they could be snoozing, and they don’t toss and turn worrying about something beyond their control. Instead, they make a full effort to get a good night’s sleep every night, and remain rested throughout the day.

4. They choose to be grateful.

Someone once told me that being grateful is like stopping to smell the roses when there is more work to be done. But gratitude is a highly beneficial practice that anyone can adopt. A 2003 study published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that the participants who wrote in a gratitude journal on a weekly basis felt better about life, and were more optimistic about the coming week than those who didn’t. They may think some things are bad, but happy people make a timely effort to appreciate things like life and their home as gifts worth respecting and paying attention to.

5. They choose to contribute to their communities.

Although it may be wonderful to have close connections with your family and to strengthen relationships with a group of friends, sometimes nothing else compares to contributing to something beyond, like your community. Joining a community can give you an opportunity to find a purpose, regardless of how lost and confused you might seem at the moment. Whether it’s joining a community club, volunteering at a shelter, or becoming part of a local organization, helping your community can make you truly happy.

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6. They choose to focus on their families.

Looking for a reason to hug your child, compliment your spouse, and help carry groceries for your mom or dad? Published in 2003, a study in the journal Child Development studied 1,703 high-risk adolescents. The researchers found that the participants who had parents involved in their lives exhibited fewer mental health problems than those who had less developed relationships with their parents. What does this imply? Dedicate at least a small portion of your day only to your family. Though they may be busy at times, happy people choose to put in an extra minute (or hour!) devoting only time to bonding with their families,

 7. They choose to be polite.

People deeply appreciate it when you are polite. All you need to do is hold the door open for someone, or even respond back with a ”hey” when they greet you. Do you notice how their mood perks up a little? The truth is, presenting yourself with courtesy can help make someones week, day, and even month, better. Happy people don’t want to miss the opportunity to enhance positive relationships with people, while feeling good about themselves. Being polite is a great way to achieve that.

8. They choose to make time for friends.

Friends are the type of people who walk besides us, rather than ahead or behind, as the author and philosopher Albert Camus once said. Grabbing a coffee, going to an exciting new movie, or simply doing something interesting with friends more often just might be the key to a happier life. It doesn’t matter if they have one friend or twenty, interact online or in real life—happy people value relationships, particularly the friendships in their lives, and are willing to spend a portion of their day exploring the world with them regardless of how many difficulties or setbacks they may face in other areas of their life.

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9. They choose to dream positively.

Contrary to popular opinion, dreaming isn’t an unproductive use of time; rather, it’s the exact opposite. Dreaming, specifically visualizing relaxing and calming places, things, and events, or guided imagery, may help reduce and manage stress, according to a 2008 issue of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter. It also suggested that guided imagery can help with tension before surgery and coping with headaches, among other things. Happy people aren’t afraid to dream of wonderful, pleasant things—and believe that they will happen too.

10. They choose to spend time outside.

If you aren’t already motivated to go outside, read this: a 2010 issue of Harvard Health Letter declared that spending time outside, especially engaging in physical activity, can actually make you happier. Go outside for a bike ride, kick a soccer ball with your kid, or even sit out on the patio. You’ll be glad you did. Maximize the benefits by combining time with family or friends, and you’ll likely be happier. It might seem like staying inside the comfort of your home is the best way to relax, but happy people tend to agree that spending time outside is the way to go if you truly want to embrace the world, and yourself.

11. They choose to eat a nutritious diet.

Can you eat your way to happiness? Perhaps so. The University of Warwick studied the eating habits of 80,000 people in England. The 2012 study concluded that mental well-being apparently increased with the number of daily portions of vegetables and fruits that the participants consumed. Well-being peaked at seven portions per day. It’s a no brainer that a healthy diet can equate to a healthy body and mind. The point is, healthy people are happy people, and they focus on eating nutritious foods, but still allowing themselves to indulge in delicious alternatives to unhealthy treats and snacks.

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12. They choose to help others.

Being willing to help others may make you happy. A 2006 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science monitored participant’s brain’s in an MRI scan while they contemplated charitable decisions. When the participants donated money to the charity, the part of the brain responsible for positive emotions and producing feel-good chemicals was activated. Choosing to help others such as participating in your community, helping friends or family, or finding a purpose in work may go a long way. Happy people choose to help others, because they know it will help themselves.

13. They choose to embrace their positivity.

At every moment, there is a lot of negativity occurring. But there is also an innumerable amount of beautiful, warm, amazing, things to do, people to meet, and places to go. You don’t have to be always smiling and laughing to be happy, just so long as you embrace the upbeat spark within you and choose to make it grow into something greater. Happy people, if they are truly happy, aren’t afraid to smile in uncertainty, and remain hopeful in serious times.

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Last Updated on May 22, 2020

What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

The word “leader” makes you think of people in charge, high-ranking people: your boss, politicians, presidents, CEOs…

But leadership really isn’t about a particular position or a person’s seniority. Just because someone has worked for many years doesn’t mean s/he has gained the qualities and skills to lead a team.

Getting promoted to a managerial position doesn’t automatically turn you into a leader either. CEOs and other high-ranking officials don’t always have great leadership skills.

So what makes a good leader? What are the characteristics of a leader?

Good leadership is about acquiring and honing specific skills. Leadership skills enable you to be a role model for a team in any environment. With great leadership qualities, successful leaders come in all shapes and sizes: in the home, at school, or in the workplace.

The following are some of the many characteristics great leaders exhibit.

1. A Positive Attitude

Great leaders know that they won’t have a happy and motivated team unless they themselves exhibit a positive attitude. This can be done by remaining positive when things go wrong and by creating a relaxed and happy atmosphere in the workplace.

Even some simple things like providing snacks or organizing a team Happy Hour can make a world of difference. An added perk is that team members are likely to work harder and do overtime when needed if they’re happy and appreciated.

Even in the worst situations, such as experiencing low team morale or team members having made a big mistake at work, a great leader stays positive and figures out ways to keep the team motivated to solve the problems.

Walt Disney had his share of hardships and challenges, and like any great leader, he managed to stay positive and find new opportunities. In 1928, Disney found that his film producer, Charles Mintz, wanted to reduce his payments for the Oswald series. Mintz threatened to cut ties entirely if Disney didn’t accept his terms, and Disney chose to part ways. But in leaving Oswald, Disney decided to create something new: the iconic Mickey Mouse[1].

The key is to break down huge challenges into smaller ones and find ways to tackle them one by one.

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Think about the lessons you can learn from the mistake and jot them down because sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn.

2. Confidence

All great leaders have to exhibit an air of confidence if they’re going to succeed. Please don’t confuse this with self-satisfaction and arrogance. You want people to look up to you for inspiration, not so they can punch you in the face.

Confidence is important because people will be looking to you on how to behave, particularly if things aren’t going 100% right. If you remain calm and poised, team members are far more likely to as well. As a result, morale and productivity will remain high, and the problem will be solved more quickly.

If you panic and give up, they will know immediately and things will simply go downhill from there.

Elon Musk is a great example of a leader with confidence. He truly believes that Tesla will be successful, which he has shown many times through his actions. He converted 532,000 stock options at $6.63 each, their value on Dec. 4, 2009, before Tesla went public. It was a hefty bargain considering Tesla’s stock price stood at around $195 per share at that time. He doesn’t apologize for his beliefs and has drawn fire from just about everyone for his political actions.

You can’t instantly become a very confident person, but all the small things you do every day will gradually make you more confident:

  • List 5 things you like about yourself every day (something different every day), and you’ll appreciate yourself more.
  • Work on your strengths and do your best to enhance them.

3. A Sense of Humor

It’s imperative for any kind of leader to have a sense of humor, particularly when things go wrong. And they will.

Your team members are going to be looking to you for how to react in a seemingly dire situation. It would probably be best if you weren’t stringing up a noose for yourself in the corner. You need to be able to laugh things off because if staff morale goes down, so will productivity.

Establish this environment prior to any kind of meltdown by encouraging humor and personal discussions in the workplace.

As a president, Barack Obama exuded confidence and calm during stressful situations. But he was also known for his “dad jokes,”[2] his genuinely funny speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and appearing on Zack Galifianakis’s Between Two Ferns.[3] Obama’s sense of humor made him grounded, realistic, and honest, which no doubt helped during some tense moments in the White House!

Learn to laugh at yourself. Confident people laugh about their own silly mistakes, and when you do this, others will also trust you more because you’re willing to share your experiences.

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Be observant and learn from the jokes others make. You can also get a lot of inspiration from the internet.

4. Ability to Embrace Failure

No matter how hard you try to avoid it, failures will happen; that’s okay. You just need to know how to deal with them.

Great leaders take them in strides. They remain calm and logically think through the situation and utilize their resources. What they don’t do is fall apart and reveal to their team how worried they are, which leads to negative morale, fear, and binge-drinking under desks.

Great leaders do, in fact, lead, even when they’re faced with setbacks.

Henry Ford experienced a major setback after designing and improving the Ford Quadricycle. He founded the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899, but the resulting cars they produced did not live up to his standards and were too expensive. The company dissolved in 1901. Ford took this in stride and formed the Henry Ford Company. The sales were slow and the company had financial problems; it wasn’t until 1903 that the Ford Motor Company was successful and put the Ford on the map.

Get to the root cause of any problem so you can prevent it from happening again and learn from the mistake.

By asking “why” 5 times (or more) on why something happened, you can find out the key factor that caused the problem and can find the best solution to tackle the problem.

You’ll also learn how to prevent this from happening again in the future after finding out a problem’s root cause.

5. Careful Listening and Feedback

This is far more complex than it actually sounds. Good communication skills are essential for a great leader. You may very well understand the cave of crazy that is your brain, but that doesn’t mean that you can adequately take the ideas out of it and explain them to someone else.

The best leaders need to be able to communicate clearly with the people around them. They also need to be able to interpret other people properly and not take what they say personally.

The Dalai Lama, as a symbol of the unification of the state of Tibet, represents and practices Buddhist values. The Dalai Lama’s leadership is benevolent and aims toward truth and understanding, alongside the other Buddhist precepts. This is a great example for all leaders: if you want to give good directions to others, you have to get feedback from others to understand the situation properly.

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Encourage communication between team members and establish an open door policy.

Practice not interrupting team members when they’re talking. Instead, summarize what they say and ask for feedback after you have talked about your ideas.

6. Knowing How and When to Delegate

No matter how much you might want to, you can’t actually do everything yourself. Even if you could, in a team environment that would be a terrible idea anyway.

Good leaders recognize that delegation does more than simply alleviate their own stress levels (although that’s obviously a nice perk). Delegating to others shows that you have confidence in their abilities, which subsequently results in higher morale in the workplace, as well as loyalty from your staff. They want to feel appreciated and trusted.

Although Steve Jobs was known for focusing in on the smallest of details, he knew how to delegate. By finding, cultivating, and trusting capable team members, Jobs was able to make Apple run smoothly, even when he had to be absent for extended periods of time.

To know when and how to delegate work to team members, you have to be very familiar with each of them:

  • List out all of their strengths, weaknesses, and personalities.
  • Talk with your team members more to know about their passion and interests.

Take a look at this guide and learn more about delegation: How to Delegate Work Effectively (The Definitive Guide for Leaders)

7. Growth Mindset

Any good leader knows how important it is to develop the skills of those around them. The best can recognize those skills early on. Not only will development make work easier as they improve and grow, it will also foster morale. In addition, they may develop some skills that you don’t possess that will be beneficial to the workplace.

Great leaders share their knowledge with the team and give them the opportunity to achieve. This is how leaders gain their respect and loyalty.

Pope Francis has been unusually popular with many Catholics and many non-Catholics. His position isn’t totally traditional, which is part of his appeal, but he also has admirable leadership skills. Pope Francis’s TED talk[4] drew attention because he encouraged leaders to be humble and to demonstrate solidarity with others. This inclusive, kind, and respectful style of leadership is incredibly important for any situation.

It’s important to spend time talking with other team members individually to understand them.

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Find out team members’ current challenges and try to give feedback and encouragement so they will grow and do better.

8. Responsibility

Great leaders know that when it comes to their company, work place or whatever situation they’re in, they need to take personal responsibility for failure. How can they expect employees to hold themselves accountable if they themselves don’t?

The best leaders don’t make excuses; they take the blame and then work out how to fix the problem as soon as possible. This proves that they’re trustworthy and possess integrity.

Howard Gillman is the chancellor of UC Irvine. You might have heard of how the university rescinded a bunch of acceptances, and then changed its mind[5], This past spring, an unusually high number of accepted students decided to matriculate; the school initially responded by rescinding offers over things like missed deadlines. But the college realized this was a mistake and reversed its decision. Gillman and the university accepted responsibility and decided to move past their earlier bad decision.

Always ask yourself what you can do better or what you should change. Take responsibility and think about what you can do better to prevent this from happening next time.

9. A Desire to Learn

It’s safe to say that all great leaders will have to enter unchartered waters at some point during their career. Because of this, they have to be able to trust their intuition and draw on past experiences to guide them.

Great leaders know that there’s always something to learn from everything they have experienced before. They are able to connect the present challenges with the lessons learned in the past to make decisions and take actions promptly.

You can either recall what you’ve learned from your memories or search your notes (ideally, a software that you can access anywhere with things well-organized).

Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, has mostly made the right calls. But in dealing with huge amounts of money, Buffett has also made several multi-million (and sometimes multi-billion) dollar mistakes. He has stated that buying the company Berkshire Hathaway was his biggest mistake[6]. From that poor choice, he realized that it was unwise to pursue “improvements” and “expansions” in the existing textile industry. Despite mistakes like this, Buffett has invested wisely, and it shows.

To effectively learn from the past, write down lessons you’ve learned from any mistakes you’ve made. Have all the lessons well organized, and when similar things happen again in future, take these lessons as references.

The Bottom Line

Leadership traits are learnable. If you practice consistently, you can be a great leader, too.

Make small changes to your habits when you work with your team, wherever that may be. Most of us aren’t presidents or CEOs, but we all work with other people, and our actions always impact others. This gives every person the chance to develop leadership skills and to stand out from the crowd.

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Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

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