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When Feeling Down, These 22 Things Will Put A Smile On Your Face

When Feeling Down, These 22 Things Will Put A Smile On Your Face

When you’re feeling down, it can be hard to turn your mood around. Whether you’re stressed, dealing with professional or personal problems, or just plain in a rut, simple pick-me-ups can make all the difference. Just take a deep breath, and let our favourite smile worthy topics ease the negativity from your mind. No matter why you’re feeling down, these 22 rays of sunshine will help you pick yourself back up. 

 

Anjana The Chimpanzee Raises Tiger Cubs

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    At The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (TIGERS) in South Carolina, a two year old chimpanzee is inseparable from her human caretakers. Named Anjana, this adorable chimp has learned how to care for others. Most notably acting as surrogate mother for two white tiger cubs, Anjana’s selfless love will make any day brighter.

     

     This Genius Artist

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       Never underestimate the power of laughter when you’re feeling down.

       

      COMACO Helps People And Animals

      At Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO), conservationists struggled to fight poaching in Zambia. However, in 2001, the group changed tactics. Instead of focusing on how to beat poachers, they tried to understand why people need to poach. What the organization uncovered was villages deeply struggling with poverty. The group changed their approach and started looking at how to employ poachers in other markets. Since 2001, COMACO has helped over 650 poachers train in other industries, mainly farming. This has increased employment and income for the villagers, while drastically decreasing the number of slain endangered animals. A small start, that’s making big waves, towards a brighter future for everyone.

       

      This Guy’s Jig

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        Though it’s short, this little dance gets funnier the longer you watch.

        This Dog’s Jig

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          Don’t forget to do a little dance when you’re feeling down. It’s seems silly, but sometimes silliness is the best antidote for the blues.

           

          This Pig Adopted Tiger Cubs

          At the Chimelong Xiangjiang Safari Park in China, this pig adopted three tiger cubs abandoned by their biological mother. There is nothing like a tiger cub cuddling up to it’s baby pig sibling to make you go “Aww”.

           

          Stylish Matrix Moves

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            This guy’s endless Matrix ollie is one of the better internet edits. Focus on his smug head nod for an instant chuckle.

             

            Neighbors Really Do Care

            In Chesterfield, Virginia, a community rallied together after a local young man delivering pizza was robbed. Stopped at gunpoint, he lost a little over $100 dollars. After hearing about the incident, some neighbors pitched in and ordered a pizza. When he arrived, they gave him a mega tip, more than doubling the amount he lost. More simple proof that humanity shouldn’t always get you feeling down.

             

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            Even When You’re Feeling Down, Little Miracles Happen

            A young girl in San Francisco is a hero after she remembered an important rule during a house fire. When a fire broke out in the kitchen, Galaxy Kong was the only one who woke up. Only 9 years old, Galaxy calmly woke up her dad and led him to safety. The two escaped out of a second story window before the blaze spread upstairs. Most importantly, Galaxy remembered to block the bottom of the door with a towel. This stops smoke from pouring into a room, saving crucial oxygen. In this case, this rule likely allowed Galaxy and her dad enough time to escape.

             

            You’ve Never Been Pranked Like This

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              …Or This

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                …unless you’re the ones in the GIFs, in which case, our condolences.

                 

                Internet On The Moon

                Not only are we now in an age where you can get internet on the moon via a giant laser, this leap in innovation will have important applications. The new means of transmitting data is much faster than our current ways of communicating in space. This means our weather monitoring, storm prediction, and wild fire data will soon reach us much quicker, and be much more advanced. At the very least, giant moon lasers should help you feel better.

                 

                333 People In A Row Pay It Forward

                When you’re feeling down, remember that at a Florida Starbucks, 333 customers in a row paid for a stranger’s coffee. The chain of generosity started when one customer in the Drive-Thru opted to pay their bill, as well as the car’s behind them. The next car received their order for free, so decided to pay for the car behind theirs too. The kindness continued for around nine hours, all between total strangers. No word yet on how the 334th person managed to miss the memo. 

                 

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                The World’s Smoothest Goat

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                  A little proof we can ride out our mistakes.

                   

                  #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies

                  No matter how bad things get, it’s an instant mood boost to see unconditional love. Despite conflicts in the Middle East, Jews and Arabs around the world have taken to Twitter to express their love for everyone. The hashtag #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies became popular in July this year, showcasing beautiful sentiments and understanding. Watching others come together during troubling times can turn even the toughest day around.

                   

                  Sometimes, The Timing Is Perfect

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                    Even though you’re feeling low now, things in the future might align better.

                     

                    Sometimes, Everything Works Out

                    Despite huge odds, this minor league baseball player’s dad caught his first home run. What is the likelihood the ball would be anywhere near his dad’s side of the field? When feeling down, don’t forget that incredible things do happen.

                     

                    Sometimes, The Stars Do Align

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                    Similarly, don’t forget that lucky breaks do happen.

                     

                    Karma Can Come For The Jerks In Life

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                      When other people have you feeling down, try to remember that what goes around, comes around.

                       

                      Hard Work Pays Off For Formerly Homeless Valedictorian

                      If the challenges you’re facing have you feeling down, don’t forget that your potential is infinite. A high school student in Florida recently showcased this when he overcame homelessness and personal tragedy to graduate top of his class. Not only is he valedictorian, the student gained enough money to attend college debt free through online fund raising efforts. Proof we can all overcome the challenges we face, even if it looks impossible.

                       

                      Selfless People Still Exist

                      When you’re feeling down, it’s easy to paint everything the same negative color. Keep in mind that lovely people just like you are still out there, making the world go round.

                       

                      Selfless Cities Still Exist

                      Last year, tens of thousands of people showed up to make a San Francisco cancer patient’s wish come true. With the help of Batman, the little tyke rescued the city several times over as Batkid. The police, local sports teams and everyday citizens all got involved to make this dream come true. When you’re feeling down, remember that society still has plenty of bright spots.

                      Featured photo credit: fauxto_digit via flickr.com

                      More by this author

                      Alicia Prince

                      A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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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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