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Simple Ways You Can Be Happy Every Day

Simple Ways You Can Be Happy Every Day

We all strive to be happy. To have happiness resonate from our very being and to then spread that happiness to our loved ones every day. But often we don’t know how. We do know what it’s like to be happy, but how can we be happy every single day? We’ve read advice, yet we don’t have solutions. Well, here is your personal solution list to being happy every day!

1. Love yourself

You’re studying, you’re working, you’re worrying, you’re sorting out your life and seeing where you need to be next, you are just trying to make the best out of your life. But have you made yourself the best you’ve been? When did you last buy those roses you eye everyday? When did you last be your own best friend? Can you remember the last time you took care of yourself? If it’s been longer than a day, it’s time to change that. You are the best friend you can have. Give yourself the best love you can every day. Be it a longer shower, a ridiculous movie, a pastry you know you shouldn’t be eating, a walk in the park, a day at the beach, a quick preview of that book you haven’t gotten to, writing that article you’re so passionate about, or watching a scandalous reality show, whatever it is, as long as you love it. For, to love yourself is the first step to life long happiness.

2. Say Hi to the Outside World

The phone has become our instant mini world. We keep it out so often that we miss out on the real world. Every morning or evening or night put away your phone consciously for about 15 minutes and look around you. Notice the trees, the cars, the fountain, the houses and every time you do, I can bet that you’d see something you’ve never seen before. If nothing else, just walk or drive or take the subway and notice things around you, just for the sake of it, just because you can and because Facebook will always be there (presumably) but your surroundings might not.

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3. Absorb Like a Child

We look so much yet we gather so little. Every time you are out and about, don’t just ‘look’, observe. Observe the things around you, nature, concrete, humans, everything! The tilt of the trees, the fashion on the streets, the building in despair and everything in air. Observe like a child would. Why? Well, why not!?And when you do, you’ll realize that there is so much more life in the concrete, so many more emotions in nature and so much more warmth in humans than we thought there was and there is so much more to the way back home than just a subway stop

4. Sing to the Tunes of Your Body

Listen to your body, closely and carefully. Listen to your mind, your gut, your intuition. Everyday your body talks to you, responds to you. The sleep it gets, the food it consumes, the surroundings it faces, with every passing minute your body responds. Listen to what it says, is it telling to slow down? To take a break? To eat? To sleep? The more you push yourself the more you tire your body, the lesser you listen to yourself.If nothing else listen to your body to be the best at work. Respond to its needs and your body in turn will reward you with healthy system and sharper brain and a happier mind.

5. Let Go of Your Mistakes

So you made a mistake. That time you shouldn’t have called, the best friend you no longer talk to, your mom who you might have ignored or that dog you couldn’t help. It’s been days, if not weeks and it’s still eating at you. We all make mistakes some grave other small but a mistake none the less. Forgive yourself. You are much more than your mistakes. Your mistakes never have and can never define you, you are the only one who can define yourself. So let go of that burden you have to live with and make space in your heart and mind for better memories and maybe different mistakes because with every mistakes and every lesson, you’ve learnt to do something right. Happiness is not just about your achievements, it’s also the lessons your learnt from your mistakes.

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6. Love Yourself for Who You are Today

Wherever you are in life right now, is what you have and what you can work with, what you can change, what you can improve. Love yourself, your perfect, flawed self. Yesterday is mere memory and tomorrow is a hope, a plan but still just a figment of your imagination. Today, wherever you are, however you are, you’re one step closer to tomorrow. And if you want, one step closer to where you want to be. Don’t let yesterday, a mere figment of your memories hold you back. Recognize the power of today and live in the present for there is no force more powerful than a happy mind working today.   

7. Cut Out the Negative Baggage

Every negative vibe that you’ve felt, for every snarky criticism that you didn’t deserve, every unprompted shaming or name calling that you’ve endured, leaves you a little scared, a little hesitant, a little unsure. A lot of these, tear down your spirit and cut short your creativity, even hampering with your self-worth, and your self-esteem. Shun them. Let go of all the people in your life who make you feel anything less than the perfect and able individual that you know you are.  It might be difficult to do so, but do it for your happiness, for we all deserve nothing but the best and we owe it to ourselves to surround ourselves with people who believe the same.  

8. “Health is Wealth”

Work will always be there. Be it at home, in college, at the office, wherever it is, there will always be something to do. Another sad truth of life is that at a work place no one is indispensable. Working hard just enable us a little more security of our ability and bank balance but that’s it. The only thing that is indispensable to you is your health. Going back to the adage ‘no health, no wealth’, without a healthy lifestyle, a healthy body, mind and soul,  your work, your home but more importantly you suffer. Take up habits that enable you to have a healthy lifestyle and a healthier body,mind and soul.  The healthier you are the happier you’ll be. Eat right, exercise more, take breaks often to relieve stress and take up a hobby that give you joy. The healthier you are, the happier you’ll be.

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9. Listen to The Food Gods

With every meal you skip a blood cell dies. No, that’s not at all true, but it could be. The point is you need to eat to be productive and happy. Eat anything but eat something. A fruit, a sandwich, a burrito, whatever you fancy, but eating makes you healthier and happier and then you can kick ass at work! Every time you get an urge to skip food, think of how awkward it would be to have your tummy growl loudly when you’re presenting the material that you skipped food for.

10. Breathe

Every day is a cacophony of motion. The bus, the neighbor, the work place, the colleagues, the deli, everything is loud screaming to be heard and yearning to be ahead. It’s overwhelming and constantly in your face.Well then, how do you get ahead, how do you get happy? By breathing. One breathe at a time. Tune everything out and breathe. Just give yourself a minute and breathe, live in that minute and breathe. To live is to hear the noise, to live happily is to be able to breathe and flourish in those noises, to be loud enough to be louder than the other voices, and breathe enough to be ahead of them all.

11. Find your Happy Place

Remember when as children we used to hide inside our forts? We used to be so happy, so content. What happened to that? Why did we let go? Not because we got older, but because we got busier.We found excuses to escape feeling.  Find your happy place, it could be your home, a park, your room, your kitchen anything, as long as it makes you happy.  The ‘Happy Place’ as ridiculous as it may sound, is simply a space that lets you be vulnerable, insecure and emotional. For you, to be able to put aside your brave facade and let it all out. Every day visit your happy place,let go of everything that’s made you unhappy and feel the happiness seeping into your body. Let your happiness, your happy memories, your happy smiles just infiltrate every part of your body and then quipped with happy thoughts and a happy place go and face the brutal world.

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12. Go Out and Play

The sun, unless you’re in India, in 49 degree weather, makes everything happier, even your body. You get vitamin D, you can ditch the tanning salon, and most of all you get to connect with Mother Nature, be closer to the system that provides for all your basic needs. Be it a walk, or exercising or soccer or taking your dog out, whatever it is find an excuse to embrace the sun. To feel it’s warmth and the light it spreads to everyone on the planet.

13. Acknowledge Your Emotions

When you’re upset, or angry, or sad recognize it, acknowledge it and eliminate it. Most of us recognize our emotions but tend to ignore then in a pursuit of  being ‘cool’. Today the idea of emotions has become so overwhelming that we hide from them instead of acknowledging them. They get so bottled up that then we lash out, especially at our loved ones and then wonder ‘where did all that come from’. The trick to avoid that is to face your emotions everyday, resolve them everyday and then let go of them everyday. Everyday till you start doing it subconsciously, making you happier, more aware and a little more in control of your life.

14. Stop Comparing

Everyone has their shares of trouble, failures and success. More often than not we see people only at the peak of their careers, in less than a moment we assume that they are in some way ‘better’. That they did something that you haven’t, or that they are generally better than you. Take that thought and dump it out in the farthest garbage truck and never look for it again. Everyone is different. Some blossom faster, some slower, but everyone is unique and so are you. If you’re not where you want to be just yet, well, then work towards it. Success is never the end goal, it’s just a perception. Some people see success in raising happy kids, some see it in that bird house they made, some see it in the grades they got, some see it in their bank balance. Your success is how you define it and that defines your path to your happiness.

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15. Be Content

Always remember, especially if you have the means to read this article, that you have something more than someone else. That, whatever you have, no matter how little it may seem to you, is more than what someone else has. No matter what your gender is, what your ethnicity, where you’re from or what you believe in, always be content with how much you have.  Be content with what you have and move forward. Being content is not synonymous with being complacent. To be ahead you cannot be complacent but to be happy you must learn to be content.

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Sanah Rizvi

Sanah is an influential public speaker and a devoted advocator of female rights.

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

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Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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