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7 Things You Should Do To Stay Balanced And Happy When You’re Busy

7 Things You Should Do To Stay Balanced And Happy When You’re Busy

What comes to mind when you think about living a balanced and happy lifestyle when you’re busy? For those who have a busy lifestyle, it’s difficult to stop and answer this question. It seems like we live in a society where we are constantly moving around, needing to do things. But all this moving around leaves us exhausted at the end of the day.

With this in mind, answering the question above is crucial for your personal well-being and happiness. The more complex society becomes, the more we must focus on our internal world. This internal world is what we can control. The external world will constantly be changing, but our internal world is what will help us stay centered with all the external movement. Below I share with you seven simple things that you can do so that you can live a more balanced and happy lifestyle.

Set Priorities

Focus on what is important

We live in a society that is filled with distractions and temptations. These distractions not only take us away from what is truly valuable to us, but it has us wasting time on what is not important it. Setting priorities will allow you to stay focused on what is important in your life. Ask yourself this question, “What truly makes me happy?” Now, when I say happy, I mean internal happiness. What drives you to wake up every morning? Think about it and reflect upon it.

The way in which you set priorities is to focus on what is most important in your life. If your spouse and children are most important to you, then setting the priority of spending quality of time with them is top on the list. If staying at work after 5 p.m. is not important to you, make sure that you either go to work early or skip your lunch break so you can go home early. Whatever is most important to you, focus your attention on that.

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Write down on a piece of paper everything that you can think of that is important to you. Then prioritize each starting with #1 being your top priority. This will allow you visually see what is most important in your life in numerical order.

Nourish Your Inner Being

Develop your internal world

Being able to take care of your inner being is crucial in living a balanced and happy lifestyle. If you stop and think about it, how can you possibly perform to your greatest potential when you are constantly tired and exhausted? This is why it’s important to focus more on your internal world instead of your external world. Nourishing your inner being will not only allow you to recharge but you will feel better. This may be walking in the park or reading on the couch with your spouse. Only you can decide what your inner being yearns for. Answer the following questions to help you:

  • What activity or hobby excites me? (even just thinking about it)
  • If I can choose one place to be right now, where would that be?
  • After a long day of work, what calms my stress?
  • On a beautiful summer day, what do I enjoy doing?

Answering these questions will create clarity in your mind. With this clarity, you are more aware of what nurtures your inner being. Along with setting priorities, taking the time to nourish your being is another great way to stay balanced and happy when you’re busy.

Set S.M.A.R.T Goals

Be as specific as possible

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Have you ever heard of S.M.A.R.T goals? Let me first define what S.M.A.R.T stands for:

  • S = Specific
  • M = Measurable
  • A = Attractive
  • R = Related to vision
  • T = Time frame

When you clarify and define your goals, it’s important that you refer to S.M.A.R.T. Do you know someone that says he or she will do something but never ends up doing it? It’s because it’s easier to do the “talking” part of goal setting than it is to do the actual “doing” part of goal setting. Next time you want to set a goal, remember to refer back to S.M.A.R.T.

Establish A Personal Statement

Define who you are

This would have to be my favorite one. If you are serious about staying balanced and happy when you are constantly busy running around, you must be centered at all times. Establishing and referring to your personal statement will allow you to do this. No matter what storm comes your way, you know how to handle yourself. A personal statement describes the person you want to become – not who you currently are, but the person you plan on becoming. This will help you focus on developing yourself rather than focusing on what you don’t like about yourself.

For example, part of your personal statement is that you are a great cook and loving wife. You may not feel like you’re a great cook and loving wife but because you have established your statement in a way that focuses more on the type of woman you want to become, you’re energy will start re-directing itself from negative to positive.

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Take Time To Self-Reflect

Be in a quiet place

“Step away from the crowd and step within your mind” is one of my favorite quotes, especially when it comes to living a balanced life. How can you possibly stay balanced when you are constantly in a noisy environment? Taking the time to self-reflect is necessary for your personal well-being and self improvement. Without a quiet place for you to reflect, you’ll constantly be all over the place.

Ever heard the saying,”Run around like a chicken with your head cut off?” So many of us are too busy to take the time to reflect but the majority of us are not happy and are not living a balanced life. Choose a section of your home where you can spend some quiet time to yourself, away from your family so that you can focus on listening to your inner being. If you can’t find a quiet place in your home, you can always go to the park or into the forest and sit on a log. Do whatever works best for you, as long as you find a quiet place to reflect on where you’re going in life.

Grow From Your Adversity

Challenge yourself to learn

You are constantly facing challenges and difficulties in your life. Whether it be running out of gas in the middle of the highway or finding out one of your family members has cancer, this is an opportunity for you to grow into a stronger and wiser individual. Not only do you gain wisdom from your adversity but you can use this wisdom to inspire others to do the same. Constantly challenge yourself to learn from every situation you face in life.

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It’s easy to “move on” after adversity especially if you don’t take the time to reflect upon it. God wraps his greatest gift for you in the center of your biggest problems. When one experiences a traumatic situation such as sexual abuse or drug addiction, God is presenting you the opportunity to discover your greatest gift. If you look closely within your adversity, you may just find your gift. When you discover your gift in life, you are more likely to stay focused and centered rather than just floating around. Your gift will be the light that will lead you to living a life filled with love, joy and freedom.

Re-Evaluate Your Life Map

Always think with about where you are heading

We all have the opportunity to create a life map. The only difference between a person who knows where he or she is heading in life is how detailed his or her life map is. Think about this – imagine you just found out that you have to go to Manila. You’ve never been to the Philippines so what do you do? You probably look online to find out more information about Manila and how to get their via an airplane. The more you do your homework, the more confident you are for traveling. This is the same when it comes to your life map.

When you are constantly updating and re-evaluating your life map, the more confident you will be in life. When you experience a hard day at work, you are more likely to shrug it off because you know where you’re going in life. If you have no map to refer to, stressful days will become even more stressful and eventually you become exhausted.

Create a life map that is in alignment with your deepest values in life. Imagine yourself on your death bed and you’re reviewing how you’ve lived your life without the words “woulda, shoulda, coulda” mentality. What do you envision? What does your life map look like?

Living a balanced and happy lifestyle while constantly running around is a challenge. But like I’ve shared with you, challenges and difficulties will only make you into a stronger and wiser individual – as long as you grow and learn from it. Implement these seven pieces of wisdom into your own life and start living a more balanced lifestyle.

More by this author

Tiffany Mason

Tiffany is a life coach empowering women to unleash their feminine essence & design a meaningful life & marriage.

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

What Makes People Poor Listeners?

Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

How To Be a Better Listener

For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

1. Pay Attention

A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

2. Use Positive Body Language

You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

According to Alan Gurney,[2]

“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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Be polite and wait your turn!

4. Ask Questions

Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

5. Just Listen

This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

6. Remember and Follow Up

Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

  1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
  2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

8. Maintain Eye Contact

When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

Final Thoughts

Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
[2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
[3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
[4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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