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20 Poisons To Your Happiness

20 Poisons To Your Happiness

We have all, at one point or another, poisoned our own happiness, whether it be through worry, fear, or just poor decision making. Life can certainly throw a person into a tailspin but the real culprit isn’t the adversity, it’s how we perceive and respond to the adversity that determines the outcome. Sometimes it is simply a matter of wrong motives in life that can lead us down the venomous path, rather than the path that leads to the antidote.

1. Your jealousy can ruin any relationship.

Your better off dealing with jealousy head on when it rears its ugly head. Most people don’t want to admit when they have been bitten by the green-eyed monster but it can happen from time to time. There are people who exude jealousy to the point that it ruins relationships. It usually stems from feelings of inadequacy, and those are the things that a person must take a hard look at in order to salvage their relationships. A happy person is one who is free from jealousy and it shows in healthy relationships.

2. Your desire for superficial things in life can poison happiness.

It is often said that the happiest people are those who do more for others, rather than themselves. If your the type of person that pursues the superficial things of life: wealth, cars, name brand clothes, etc. then it is safe to say that you are poisoning your own happiness in life. The desire of the perfunctory will only lead to more dissatisfaction because our brain is hard-wired at a threshold for such things; it’s called hedonistic adaptation. Living a life of modesty will bring you more happiness in the long run.

3. Your grudge-holding will destroy your happiness.

I once knew a man who held a grudge against his father for leaving the family. His grudge festered within him like a cancer and destroyed any hope of his living life to the fullest. The Stoic philosophers believed that some things are out of our control, so in short, they aren’t worth worrying over or trying to fix. Happiness comes from moving forward in your life and letting go of grudges that would hold you back.

4. Your regrets in life will destroy your peace.

Your life most certainly will be filled with regrets from time to time; I call them mistakes. Mistakes are only there to teach you that a certain path has ended and so it is time to try another. There’s no use in looking back in regret, because you cannot change the past. Simply move forward and try another road. You will most certainly be happier for it.

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5. Your dependence on others will hinder happiness.

If you are dependent person or to use another phrase, codependent on another person for your happiness, you will undoubtedly be waiting a very long time for a happy life. Happiness will never come to you from another person, it can only come from within yourself. You can find happiness with someone within a relationship, but that cannot be trusted for your own happiness, because at some point in time, that person will let you down. Looking within is the only way to true joy.

6. Your need to fix other people will ruin your happiness.

This ties into co-dependence as well. If you feel the need to “fix” others, then you will never be focused on your own well-being and happiness. When your focus shifts away from the self, you will always find something that needs to be fixed in others in order to make you feel happy. The only person you can control is you; so why not focus on self-actualization for long-term happiness.

7. Your fear can hold a person back from experiencing true happiness.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.” It can stem from many places, but you will only experience true happiness when you release your fears and simply do the thing your are afraid of doing.

8. Your selfishness is a poison to your happiness.

If your a selfish person, it means you always want things your way and others’  needs and opinions are often discarded in the process. Most people do not want to be in relationship with a selfish person and if this describes you, you may just find yourself alone and unhappy if it is not changed. Take a good look at yourself and examine areas of your life that have fallen prey to selfishness and make the necessary changes; you may find happiness was waiting for you all along.

9. Your happiness will wane when you set unreasonably high expectations of others.

Your need for everyone to meet your standards in life is an unreasonable expectation that most people will never be able to attain; therefore, you will most always be disappointed in people and thus unhappy in life. All people have their own personality type which will prevent them from ever being able to live up to what you expect of them. They cannot do it. When you let go of the expectation of others to perform to your standards, you will find that they, as well as yourself, will be much more elated. A free person is a happy person.

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10. Your self-righteous attitude will halt your happiness.

If your a self-righteous person it means that you feel you can do no wrong, and that other people are always in the wrong. I used to attend church and always felt this type of attitude amongst the people, which in turn made for a lot of unhappiness in many of the people’s relationships. It is impossible to be perfect all of the time, so why not do drop your self-righteousness and experience true happiness. Not only will your relationships flourish but you will be a much more relaxed individual.

11. Your living in the past will hinder happiness.

If your living in the past, it means that you are unhappy with the present. Your happiness is a current state of mind and if your life is not making you happy, then maybe it is time to examine your situation and makes some changes for the better. Maybe you need a new career goal? Maybe it’s time to finish a project you’ve been putting off? Whatever the case, moving forward in life will help you feel that you are living in the “now.”

12. Your dishonesty can dampen happiness.

If you are a dishonest person, chances are you have alienated yourself from others. Often times, people who are dishonest gain the reputation as someone who cannot be trusted; therefore, they are seen as an unfaithful friend and partner. Alienating yourself through dishonesty will surely lead to unhappiness and isolation.

13. Your substance use alters states of happiness.

Some may disagree but even if you use substances for temporary states of “happiness” it will be short-lived and once the high wears off, your feelings of unhappiness will be there, staring you in the face. Even for those who use chocolate and caffeine as means of escape, must admit that the euphoria is short-lived.

14. Your pessimism leads to perpetual moods of unhappiness.

It is thought that if you are the type of person that always has the pessimistic attitude it can lead to a life of unhappiness. In a sense, your words and thoughts have power to them and if you constantly use “negative talk” it’s like sending negative vibes out into the world. Thus, unhappiness appears to follow you around like a virus that won’t go away. The medicine for pessimism is to become aware of your negativity and work to change your thoughts and words for the better. Read, exercise, take up a hobby, whatever you need to feel better about yourself is worth a try.

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15. Your prejudice of other people can make you unhappy with yourself.

You would think that if someone is prejudiced against a group of people, it means they are unhappy with that group but quite the opposite is true. A prejudiced person is often an unhappy person, spewing their unhappiness onto a “scapegoat” group of people. Prejudiced people look for instances in which to unleash their fury onto others. They think it will somehow make them feel better, but it won’t. If you find that you are prejudiced (and we do all have certain prejudices), it may be time to sit down and really take stock in yourself and confront these issues head on; you will be glad you did.

16. Your self-doubt can lead to feelings of unhappiness.

If you doubt yourself consistently, it would stand to reason that it will lead you to feelings of unhappiness. A self-doubter may engage in negative self-talk which leads to deeper and deeper feelings of unhappiness. It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be addressed with a close friend or counselor who may be able to help you through these feelings. Maybe finding a positive outlet in which to volunteer your time can boost your self-worth as well, and take your mind off yourself for a change.

17. Your unhappiness can stem from unchecked mental health.

If you suffer from anxiety or depression, it isn’t hard to figure that unhappiness follows. What causes these mental imbalances? Often the society we engage in daily is enough to send anyone into states of unhappiness by way of anxiety and other mental illnesses. Sometimes there are more serious issues at hand but unhappiness is robbed all the same. Take time and talk with someone in whom you trust who can help you sort through life’s mishaps. When in doubt seek professional help.

18. Your pet can help ward off happiness poisons.

Pets are a wonderful way to boost your happiness. If you are someone who doesn’t like or doesn’t want a pet, think about volunteering at a place with animals or some other outlet in order to introduce yourself to the appropriate ways to interact with pets. It has been found that when petting an animal, a person’s mood automatically lifts.

19. Your ability to volunteer your time to the needy can help you become happier.

Giving your time to those in need will help cure the unhappiness in your life. Sometimes seeing those less fortunate than yourself helps put things in perspective.

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20. Your stress can prevent happiness in your life.

Stress is not only unhealthy for your physical well-being but emotional as well. If you are the type of person who has constant stress in your life, it may be time to make drastic changes. Take inventory of your life and get rid of the unnecessary. Living a life of simplicity can sometimes be just the thing you need to prevent stress and improve your happiness.

I hope you find these insights to be of use in your life. If you find that your happiness is being poisoned, maybe one of these tips is the culprit. In any case, seek happiness from within. Meditate, read, pray, exercise, whatever you need to improve yourself, and happiness is sure to follow.

Featured photo credit: anitapeppers via mrg.bz

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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.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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