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21 Instant Ways to Live in the Moment

21 Instant Ways to Live in the Moment

“When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?'” – Sydney J. Harris

It is said that life is not measured by the breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.

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If this is correct, then are we really living our lives to the fullest? Are we enjoying every moment and giving each one the opportunity to mesmerize us? How many memories can you recollect that left you breathless and in absolute awe? Were you able to count beyond your fingertips? Think about it; 20, 30, 40 or more years, and just a few such moments?

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The problem isn’t that such mesmerizing events rarely occur, but rather it is our lack of being present in the moment that allows us to miss it all. It is often the simplest things in life that are the most magical: from falling in love to watching a child take their first step, moments that make the heart skip a beat are hard to miss if you are paying attention. They aren’t expensive to the pocket and neither do they consume too much time—you just need to be consciously present in the moment to be able to encapsulate the magic that lies within.

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We all know that life can sometimes get overwhelming: from rush hour traffic to the never ending workload, there is always something that needs our attention. As you get stuck in the monotonous everyday rut, take a moment to stop and acknowledge your existence. This isn’t to propose that you drop everything and enter into a state of meditation but rather simply be consciously present in even the most mundane of your everyday activities.

Life can crawl through you if you let negativity overtake your mind, and it will fly by in the blink of an eye if you get too engrossed in everyday life and fail to recognize and differentiate the you apart from the everything else. It is therefore very important that you find time to nurture yourself and give it the attention it deserves.

Here are 21 natural ways to re-sync yourself with the universe and enjoy the little joys hidden in each and every moment.

  1. Fall in love – Whether it is with that gorgeous pair of shoes or the guy next door, give yourself permission to let your heart skip a beat.
  2. Smile, giggle and laugh ’til your tummy hurts
  3. Go on a date with yourself – Dress up, look fabulous and treat yourself with an exquisite evening with yourself.
  4. Say I’m sorry – You know exactly who you should be saying it to.
  5. Give yourself permission to do the things you’ve always wanted to do.
  6. Walk through a garden sprinkler on a hot summer day and recreate a moment of innocent childhood bliss.
  7. Climb a mountain – Literally. Nothing can be more rewarding and humbling at the same time than the experience of having achieved both the height and the realization of being so infinitesimally small. It’s overwhelming and extremely humbling. Okay, maybe this one isn’t an instant one, but it is definitely worth the challenge.
  8. Call an old friend and re-live the memories of the past. Could you possibly make life that exciting again?
  9. Watch the ocean tides capture the shore under the shimmering moon light.
  10. Hum your favorite tune.
  11. Stargaze.
  12. Let go – From unfair expectations to resentment, they do you no good.
  13. Trust your instincts.
  14. Send a postcard or a letter through snail mail.
  15. Share your dreams with a close one and listen to theirs.
  16. Have a silent day – Its a great way to learn to reconnect with your inner self again.
  17. Draw, write or paint something – Let your inner artist surprise you.
  18. Read the poems of Rumi and see the universe in a philosophical light.
  19. Introduce yourself to a stranger – There is so much to learn from the similarities and the differences that exist between us and the world around us.
  20. Buy yourself fresh flowers and remember to smell them every now and then.
  21. Dream wild and big – Imagine your perfect life with everything you’ve ever wanted and let yourself conceptualize what is it that your heart truly desires…
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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

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People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

“A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

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What are Interpersonal Skills?

Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

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Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

“That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

Don’t overlook introspection.

While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

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When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

“Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

The Bottom Line

You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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