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21 Things You Should Start Making Time For

21 Things You Should Start Making Time For

You wonder where time goes. It’s easy to think that “tomorrow” will be a better day to do things that will lead to a better life. Somehow there will be more money, a better relationship, a move, and only then will you have the time to stop and smell the roses.

Here are some things that you should start making time for. And little by little, you will see that by doing so, your life is richer, and your relationships, both with yourself and others, improve.

1. Take better care of yourself.

Start with the little things. Get a haircut before you really need one. Go to sleep a little earlier. Eat your veggies. Pick one thing at a time, like drinking more water one week, and the next have an extra fruit for breakfast.

2. Indulge in passions and hobbies.

Do what you love, even if it’s just checking out a website about a passion or hobby. Go to a specialty shop during your lunch break or on your way home from work one day just to look around.

3. Initiate long and intimate conversations with loved ones.

Instead of waiting for the perfect moment, go ahead and start a deeper conversation with a loved ones, even if you’re in the middle of the kitchen. Don’t wait for them to be the one to start; make time to go for it in the moment. It will feel awesome.

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4. Listen to others without judgment.

This takes intention rather than a lot of time. Next time someone that you usually pass judgment on or have expectations of speaks, just take the time to listen instead of speaking.

5. Read great books.

It may seem like it’s going to leave you with less time to read through the latest gossip magazine or website, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to fit in reading a classic piece of literature. Check one out and leave it on your counter top or bedside table for a few nights.

6. Write things by hand.

Instead of sending an email to a co-worker, boss, employee, child or partner, write a handwritten note. It takes a short amount of time and the intimacy of a handwritten note is valued in this time-crunched life.

7. Sing.

Your thoughts keep you really busy while driving, walking, doing handiwork or housework. Raising your voice in song slows down time a little bit and gets your physical body moving in a different way. It’s joyful and energizes you, so take the time to do it even if you’re no American Idol.

8. Take a train somewhere.

If you ride the subway to work, skip this one! Otherwise, taking a train on a short little excursion is relaxing, meditative and gives you a break that’s a bit different than your regular day. You can take kids, a partner or friend and make it fun.

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9. Celebrate.

Stop and celebrate silly things other than birthdays and anniversaries. Find a reason to buy balloons and a cake and invite some friends to celebrate a little milestone in your life.

10. Just sit and listen to music.

Listen to music without multitasking. Sit and put on some music that you enjoy, perhaps the type of music you don’t usually listen to. Try some violin music, something in another language, or music the teens are listening to. Ask your parents what their favorite music was as teens and sit and listen to that!

11. Putting personal health first.

For some reason we get busy and don’t make the time at the top of the list to put our health first. Take the time to do this. What do you need for your health? Write it on a list at the top and post it.

12. Love.

Take the time for love. Sometimes, we take the people we love for granted. Look around at the people in your life and show them that you love them. Or take the time to tell them in a longer way that you may usually do. Describe what you love about them.

13. Make an animal friend.

Adopt a pet. If you cannot, visit a zoo, an animal shelter or a friend with a pet and make the time to spend with them. An animal can give you a feeling of calm that you cannot get anywhere else.

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14. Paint something.

You don’t have to paint a room or be Picasso. Just go into the local arts and crafts shop and get some basic acrylic paints, some brushes and a canvas. You don’t have to be artistic to dip a brush into some colors and spread it on the canvas. It’s worth the time it takes and is loads of fun and relaxing.

15. Record a video.

Use your phone, your computer or a friend’s and talk about your life into a video. Years later you will be glad you did. You can keep this just for yourself or share it with others. It’s worth the few minuets it takes now to watch yourself on camera.

16. Movement.

Take the time to move your body. It doesn’t have to be a full exercise regimen. Just put on some music and move around. Move your elbows, your fingers, your knees and ankles. Every part of you that can move, move it! It heals the mind and the body when you take the time your physical body needs in movement.

17. Write your own bucket list.

Do you have a list of things to do before you die? It’s a great thing to take the time to do. You are more likely to do the things you want to do if it’s written down.

18. Deep breathing.

Take the time daily to pause and take a few deep breaths. It fills your lungs with oxygen and relaxes you. Sometimes we go on, racing around and barely breathe.

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19. Look into your eyes in the mirror.

Stop in front of the mirror every day for an extra 3 seconds, lock eyes with yourself and say, “I love you” to yourself. This is an exercise Louise Hay speaks of that helped her heal her life.

20. Tech-free time.

Taking tech free time, even if only for an hour a day frees your mind and helps you realize that you can have ‘time off’ every day. Try it and see how it feels. You may want more than an hour. Perhaps a half day once a week.

21. Sit in nature.

All the great artists, writers and creatives speak of how sitting or walking in nature daily for a short time has been the key to their success. No matter the weather, make time for this one daily even just for a few moments.

This may seem like a long list, yet if you pick a few that you know won’t take much time and go for it, your life energy will shift. You get so busy, and there seems to be this big rush to the finish line. Just remember that on the way to the finish line there is a beautiful view.

Don’t miss it.

Featured photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/itsallaboutmich via flickr.com

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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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