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7 Ways To Stay Balanced And Happy Even When You’re Extremely Busy

7 Ways To Stay Balanced And Happy Even When You’re Extremely Busy

People are living busier and busier lives these days, taking on more and more with every passing month‒more work commitments, relationship commitments, family commitments, social commitments, the list goes on… therefore staying happy and relatively balanced seems a task of Sisyphus (the man in mythology who rolled a boulder up a mountain every day only for it to roll back down to the bottom at the end of the day), i.e. impossible.

Is it impossible to be balanced and happy when you’ve got a hell of a workload? No. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a tricky tightrope act to master, but don’t worry‒plenty of people have their own ways for achieving everything they need to do and still have time for everything they want to do in life. This is the art of life-balance. Here are just seven of the best tips that I heartily recommend if you’re stuck looking for how to keep your balance and be happy at the same time..

1. Check your necessary needs.

Let’s get down to basics–if you want to stay balanced and happy, you need to make sure all of your basic needs are being met. Anyone who has ever pulled an all-nighter finishing up work or a project can tell you that while the sense of accomplishment remains, you physically feel a wreck and you can barely keep your eyes open unless you have an intravenous drip of coffee somewhere about your position.

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You should make sure you get enough sleep every night, that your diet has plenty of healthy, balanced food, and that your work is not completely taking over your life to the point of exhaustion, both physically and mentally, and you should make sure that even when you’re busy, you stay balanced by making sure your basic human needs are being met.

2. Plan ahead as much as you can.

One way to ensure that you have everything under control, minimizing the chances for missing something and throwing your busy day off course, is to plan everything you possibly can. People can plan things however they want–there are plenty of to-do list and organization apps on every kind of smartphone platform possible, or a good old pen and paper works well too (I use both).

I mean, it’s impossible to control everything, but in the end, making sure you have a list of everything you need to do, obtain, and achieve by the end of the day will make sure that going about your day, no matter how busy, will give you a reminder of everything that not only you need to complete, but what you have already successful achieved.

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3. Stay fed and stay hydrated.

This all seems like such basic stuff, but one way to make sure you stay happy and balanced throughout every instance of being busy is to keep up a solid eating and drinking routine. That’s not to say you should only stick to the same thing day in, day out, or even that you shouldn’t indulge on a daily basis (in fact: go for it, but in moderation); rather, I am simply proposing making sure you have three decent meals a day.

This is for the generation of people–myself included–who see something hot from Starbucks as a nutritious breakfast; coffee may motivate you for a little while, but then you’ll crash pretty damn hard. Make sure you drink plenty of water too; dehydration is the last thing you need on a busy day, and water also has the benefits of flushing out the kidneys and making the skin better, so that if an important meeting with a client is on your agenda, then looking your tip-top best is something we cannot help but advocate.

4. Keep an eye on your emotions.

There are some times when we’re running late or just generally having a bad day, when our emotions begin to spiral out of control. Anger escalates, stress skyrockets, anxiety soars. Our handle on our emotional experiences can drop and make us act extremely out of character, often to the detriment of our loved ones. We snap, we yell, and we lose our true selves when we’re under huge amounts of pressure.

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So what can be done to change this? After all, it doesn’t do to be snapping at friends and family. So how about keeping an eye on your emotions throughout the day, say every half an hour. Stop, see how you’re feeling, and then see if something needs to be done. Maybe make a mental visual picture of traffic lights; if things are all okay, see green lights; if they’re not, then use amber or red, so that you can realize what’s happening and then regulate those emotions. Take deep breaths, centre yourself, and then move on with your day.

5. Make time for yourself.

No matter what you go through in your day-to-day life, one of the best ways to stay balanced and maintain a feeling of happiness is to schedule in plenty of pockets of ‘me time’. Rather than rushing around and then trying to gain some kind of peace and serenity at the end of the day, it is better to carve out segments of time throughout your working day.

Ensure that you actually take time with lunch and it’s not on the move or at your desk. Spend five minutes at the beginning of your day with some breathing exercises. Make sure your shower or bath at the end of the day is spent without mobile phones, email, or anything more taxing than some relaxing music or a good book. Make sure that treating yourself and ensuring some relaxation time are spread throughout the day at scheduled intervals–they’ll allow you some breathing room, a chance to clear your head and reassess the situations you’ve been in at work, and allow your mind to be at its best.

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6. Don’t take on more than you can handle.

In this modern age, we’re expected more and more to take on more and more–it doesn’t matter that we’re already juggling impossible expectations, work, dealing with pressures of family, friends and social media; we always seem to find more and more stuff piled on our proverbial plate. My advice, in order to keep your sanity, is to therefore keep your load to a minimum amount.

There are, obviously, going to be commitments that you will not be able to shed–work, family, friends–but don’t go signing yourself up for extra projects and events that will take up more time than you’re secretly okay with sacrificing. Saying no doesn’t mean that you’re giving up, it means you’re selecting and dividing up boundaries, which is not a bad thing and will prove conducive to keeping your balance in check.

7. Learn your human limitations.

This final tip works particularly well in the wake of the New Year where everyone is making big resolutions that usually fall flat by the end of the first month–but let’s be realistic, all of us. When you’ve got a big day ahead, one teeming with errands and possibilities and commitments, it will make you much happier and more balanced.

You’re not a superhuman. You cannot fit more hours into the day, and if you’re following all the tips I’m offering, you’ll be getting plenty of sleep and personal time anyway. You’re a flawed, fantastic human being, so going around like a thing possessed trying to get everything done in the span of a few hours is not only unrealistic, it also suggests that you need to sit down and reconsider what’s important in your life. Staying balanced and staying happy are not impossible when you happen to be living a busy life. Sure, they require a bit of planning and contemplating about your life and what’s important, but implementing these tips might be able to help add some center to your life.

Good luck.

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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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