A Happy You is A Happy Life

The importance of empathy

How stress affects your brain

5 Steps to Happiness

You Are Unstoppable

I wanted to share this with you because the speeches in it got me thinking for the better. It was exactly what I was needing. This goes so much deeper than equestrianism. Even if you're not into horses, just listen.. & Yes, I made this video, but I do not own the clips or audio.

Posted by Kaitlyn Brooke on Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Very Happy Brain

Live Interview

IQ vs. EQ with Daniel Goleman

The Happy Secret to Better Work

Posts in category Personal Coaching

Has The Emotional Garbage in Your Life Hardened You?



header

Has the emotional garbage in your life hardened you? Are you aware?

‘Soft skills’ is not a representation of begin soft.  ‘Soft skills’ is a term often associated with a person’s “EQ” (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), the cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, interpersonal skills, managing people, leadership, etc. that characterize relationships with other people.

How’s that emotional garbage in your life working for you?

Many high-potential leaders are derailed because they lack emotional awareness, emotion management, and appropriate interpersonal social skills such as the ability to work in teams and a tolerance for change.

Do you know your EQ emotional intelligence quotient?  

Guessing is NOT an accurate or effective way of determining your level of EQ.  Many relationships will be taxed while not knowing the areas that could be improved.

four areas of EI

How is EQ measured?  

The EQ-i® is the first scientifically validated emotional intelligence tool in the world.” ~ It is a highly actionable tool for: personal, professional, leadership, team or organization development” – MHS Multi Health Systems Publisher

CG Coaching & Consulting Emotional Wellness and Balance Center is licensed and certified to administer the EQ-i2.0 and EQ360 assessment tools AND provide state of the art training and coaching to help you achieve your peak performance.

18 Signs You Have High Emotional Intelligence



3Are you emotionally intelligent? Here’s how to know for sure.

1People with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70 percent of the time. This anomaly threw a massive wrench into the broadly-held assumption that IQ was the sole source of success.

2Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as being the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack. The connection is so strong that we know 90 percent of top performers have high emotional intelligence.

3When emotional intelligence (EQ) first appeared to the masses, it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding:

Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities and make personal decisions to achieve positive results.

You can take a scientifically validated test, EQ-i2.0, through CG Coaching & Consulting in Hampton Roads, Virginia, that will measure how much emotional intelligence you have and what you can do to improve if you’re lacking. Unfortunately, quality (scientifically valid EQ tests aren’t free.

Here is a list of behaviors that ‘are the hallmarks of a high EQ’ that Travis Bradberry originally published on LinkedIn Pulse. (add’l hyperlinks have been removed)

1. You have a robust emotional vocabulary.
All people experience emotions, but it is a select few who can accurately identify them as they occur. Our research shows that only 36 percent of people can do this, which is problematic because unlabeled emotions often go misunderstood, which leads to irrational choices and counterproductive actions.

People with high EQs master their emotions because they understand them, and they use an extensive vocabulary of feelings to do so. While many people might describe themselves as simply feeling “bad,” emotionally intelligent people can pinpoint whether they feel “irritable,” “frustrated,” “downtrodden,” or “anxious.” The more specific your word choice, the better insight you have into exactly how you are feeling, what caused it and what you should do about it.

2. You’re curious about people.
It doesn’t matter if they’re introverted or extroverted, emotionally intelligent people are curious about everyone around them. This curiosity is the product of empathy, one of the most significant gateways to a high EQ. The more you care about other people and what they’re going through, the more curiosity you’re going to have about them.

3. You embrace change.
Emotionally intelligent people are flexible and are constantly adapting. They know that fear of change is paralyzing and a major threat to their success and happiness. They look for change that is lurking just around the corner, and they form a plan of action should these changes occur.

4. You know your strengths and weaknesses.
Emotionally intelligent people don’t just understand emotions; they know what they’re good at and what they’re terrible at. They also know who pushes their buttons and the environments (both situations and people) that enable them to succeed. Having a high EQ means you know your strengths and you know how to lean into them and use them to your full advantage while keeping your weaknesses from holding you back.

5. You’re a good judge of character.
Much of emotional intelligence comes down to social awareness; the ability to read other people, know what they’re about, and understand what they’re going through. Over time, this skill makes you an exceptional judge of character. People are no mystery to you. You know what they’re all about and understand their motivations, even those that lie hidden beneath the surface.

6. You are difficult to offend.
If you have a firm grasp of whom you are, it’s difficult for someone to say or do something that gets your goat. Emotionally intelligent people are self-confident and open-minded, which creates a pretty thick skin. You may even poke fun at yourself or let other people make jokes about you because you are able to mentally draw the line between humor and degradation.

7. You know how to say no (to yourself and others).
Emotional intelligence means knowing how to exert self-control. You delay gratification, and you avoid impulsive action. Research conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout and even depression. Saying no is indeed a major self-control challenge for many people. “No” is a powerful word that you should not be afraid to wield. When it’s time to say no, emotionally intelligent people avoid phrases such as “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them.

8. You let go of mistakes.
Emotionally intelligent people distance themselves from their mistakes, but do so without forgetting them. By keeping their mistakes at a safe distance, yet still handy enough to refer to, they are able to adapt and adjust for future success. It takes refined self-awareness to walk this tightrope between dwelling and remembering. Dwelling too long on your mistakes makes you anxious and gun shy, while forgetting about them completely makes you bound to repeat them. The key to balance lies in your ability to transform failures into nuggets of improvement. This creates the tendency to get right back up every time you fall down.

9. You give and expect nothing in return.
When someone gives you something spontaneously, without expecting anything in return, this leaves a powerful impression. For example, you might have an interesting conversation with someone about a book, and when you see them again a month later, you show up with the book in hand. Emotionally intelligent people build strong relationships because they are constantly thinking about others.

10. You don’t hold grudges.
The negative emotions that come with holding onto a grudge are actually a stress response. Just thinking about the event sends your body into fight-or-flight mode, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. When the threat is imminent, this reaction is essential to your survival, but when the threat is ancient history, holding onto that stress wreaks havoc on your body and can have devastating health consequences over time. In fact, researchers at Emory University have shown that holding onto stress contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease. Holding onto a grudge means you’re holding onto stress, and emotionally intelligent people know to avoid this at all costs. Letting go of a grudge not only makes you feel better now but can also improve your health.

11. You neutralize toxic people.
Dealing with difficult people is frustrating and exhausting for most. High EQ individuals control their interactions with toxic people by keeping their feelings in check. When they need to confront a toxic person, they approach the situation rationally. They identify their own emotions and don’t allow anger or frustration to fuel the chaos. They also consider the difficult person’s standpoint and are able to find solutions and common ground. Even when things completely derail, emotionally intelligent people are able to take the toxic person with a grain of salt to avoid letting him or her bring them down.

12. You don’t seek perfection.
Emotionally intelligent people won’t set perfection as their target because they know that it doesn’t exist. Human beings, by our very nature, are fallible. When perfection is your goal, you’re always left with a nagging sense of failure that makes you want to give up or reduce your effort. You end up spending your time lamenting what you failed to accomplish and what you should have done differently instead of moving forward, excited about what you’ve achieved and what you will accomplish in the future.

13. You appreciate what you have.
Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the right thing to do; it also improves your mood because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23 percent. Research conducted at the University of California, Davis, found that people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood, energy and physical well-being. It’s likely that lower levels of cortisol played a major role in this.

14. You disconnect.
Taking regular time off the grid is a sign of a high EQ because it helps you to keep your stress under control and to live in the moment. When you make yourself available to your work 24/7, you expose yourself to a constant barrage of stressors. Forcing yourself offline and even—gulp!—turning off your phone gives your body and mind a break. Studies have shown that something as simple as an email break can lower stress levels. Technology enables constant communication and the expectation that you should be available 24/7. It is extremely difficult to enjoy a stress-free moment outside of work when an email that will change your train of thought and get you thinking (read: stressing) about work can drop onto your phone at any moment.

15. You limit your caffeine intake.
Drinking excessive amounts of caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline, and adrenaline is the source of the fight-or-flight response. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response to ensure survival. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but not so great when you’re responding to a curt email. When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyper-aroused state of stress, your emotions overrun your behavior. Caffeine’s long half-life ensures you stay this way as it takes its sweet time working its way out of your body. High-EQ individuals know that caffeine is trouble, and they don’t let it get the better of them.

16. You get enough sleep.
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams) so that you wake up alert and clearheaded. High-EQ individuals know that their self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when they don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep. So, they make sleep a top priority.

17. You stop negative self-talk in its tracks.
The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that—thoughts, not facts. When it feels like something always or never happens, this is just your brain’s natural tendency to perceive threats (inflating the frequency or severity of an event). Emotionally intelligent people separate their thoughts from the facts in order to escape the cycle of negativity and move toward a positive, new outlook.

18. You won’t let anyone limit your joy.
When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from the opinions of other people, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When emotionally intelligent people feel good about something that they’ve done, they won’t let anyone’s opinions or snide remarks take that away from them. While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to compare yourself to others, and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what other people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within.

Source: Success.com article 1, 2, 3

For more information on taking your own EQ-i2.0 assessment, please contact CG Coaching & Consulting Emotional Wellness and Balance Center.

A Happy You – A Happy Life Newsletter June



ahappyyouahappylifejune15

If you’d like to receive my newsletter directly in your inbox, subscribe to the right ——>

Open Me – Read Me – Happiness is Inside

Read Full Newsletter

Hungry



I recently had a divine pleasure of attending a women’s wellness retreat sponsored by Still Hope Foundation and Ardx in Norfolk, VA at the Old Dominion University Campus and our keynote luncheon speaker was Dr. Robin Smith.  As a mentor in teaching other women myself, Dr. Robin’s speech was not only humbling but it touched me to my core.  I would presume most women are now or have been HUNGRY.  Here’s a clip from Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday with Dr. Robin Smith.  AMAZING!

 

Emotional Intelligence: The Social Skills You Weren’t Taught in School



I love sharing articles about emotional intelligence.  This one was written by Eric Ravenscraft and posted on lifehacker.

You’re taught about history, science, and math when you’re growing up. Most of us, however, aren’t taught how to identify or deal with our own emotions, or the emotions of others. These skills can be valuable, but you’ll never get them in a classroom.

Emotional intelligence is a shorthand that psychological researchers use to describe how well individuals can manage their own emotions and react to the emotions of others. People who exhibit emotional intelligence have the less obvious skills necessary to get ahead in life, such as managing conflict resolution, reading and responding to the needs of others, and keeping their own emotions from overflowing and disrupting their lives. In this guide, we’ll look at what emotional intelligence is, and how to develop your own.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Measuring emotional intelligence is relatively new in the field of psychology, only first being explored in the mid-80s. Several models are currently being developed, but for our purposes, we’ll examine what’s known as the “mixed model,” developed by psychologist Daniel Goleman. The mixed model has five key areas:

  • Self-awareness: Self-awareness involves knowing your own feelings. This includes having an accurate assessment of what you’re capable of, when you need help, and what your emotional triggers are.
  • Self-management: This involves being able to keep your emotions in check when they become disruptive. Self-management involves being able to control outbursts, calmly discussing disagreements, and avoiding activities that undermine you like extended self-pity or panic.
  • Motivation: Everyone is motivated to action by rewards like money or status. Goleman’s model, however, refers to motivation for the sake of personal joy, curiosity, or the satisfaction of being productive.
  • Empathy: While the three previous categories refer to a person’s internal emotions, this one deals with the emotions of others. Empathy is the skill and practice of reading the emotions of others and responding appropriately.
  • Social skills: This category involves the application of empathy as well as negotiating the needs of others with your own. This can include finding common ground with others, managing others in a work environment, and being persuasive.

You can read a bit more about these different categories here. The order of these emotional competencies isn’t all that relevant, as we all learn many of these skills simultaneously as we grow. It’s also important to note that, for our purposes, we’ll only be using this as a guide. Emotional intelligence isn’t an area that most people receive formal training in. We’ll let psychologists argue over the jargon and models, but for now let’s explore what each of these mean and how to improve them in your own life.

Self-Awareness

Before you can do anything else here, you have to know what your emotions are. Improving your self-awareness is the first step to identifying any problem area you’re facing. Here are some ways to improve your self-awareness:

  • Keep a journal: Career skill blog recommends starting by keeping a journal of your emotions . At the end of every day, write down what happened to you, how you felt, and how you dealt with it. Periodically, look back over your journal and take note of any trends, or any time you overreacted to something.
  • Ask for input from others: As we’ve talked about before when dealing with your self-perception, input from others can be invaluable . Try to ask multiple people who know you well where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Write down what they say, compare what they say to each other and, again, look for patterns. Most importantly, don’t argue with them. They don’t have to be correct. You’re just trying to gauge your perception from another’s point of view.
  • Slow down (or meditate): Emotions have a habit of getting the most out of control when we don’t have time to slow down or process them . The next time you have an emotional reaction to something, try to pause before you react (something the internet makes easier than ever, if you’re communicating online). You can also try meditating to slow your brain down and give your emotional state room to breathe.

If you’ve never practiced intentional self-awareness, these tips should give you a practical head start. One strategy I personally use is to go on long walks or have conversations with myself discussing what’s bothering me. Often, I’ll find that the things I say to the imaginary other end of the conversation can give me some insight into what’s really bugging me. The important aspect is to look inwards, rather than focusing solely on external factors.

Self-Management

Once you know how your emotions work, you can start figuring out how to handle them. Proper self-management means controlling your outbursts, distinguishing between external triggers and internal over-reactions, and doing what’s best for your needs.

One key way to manage your emotions is to change your sensory input. You’ve probably heard the old advice to count to ten and breathe when you’re angry. Speaking as someone who’s had plenty of overwhelming issues with depression and anger, this advice is usually crap (though if it works for you, more power to you). However, giving your physical body a jolt can break the cycle. If you’re feeling lethargic, do some exercise. If you’re stuck in an emotional loop, give yourself a “snap out of it” slap. Anything that can give a slight shock to your system or break the existing routine can help.

Lifehacker alum Adam Dachis also recommends funneling emotional energy into something productive. It’s alright to let overwhelming emotions stew inside you for a moment, if it’s not an appropriate time to let them out. However, when you do, rather than vent it on something futile, turn it into motivation instead:

I recently started playing tennis for fun, knowing that I’d never become exceptional because I began too late in life. I’ve become better and have a very minor talent for the game, so when I play poorly I now know and I get down on myself. When up against an opponent with far more skill I find it hard to do much else than get angry. Rather than let that anger out, I take note of it and use it to fuel my desire to practice more. Whether in sports, work, or everyday life, we can get complacent with our skill and forget that we always have some room for improvement. When you start to get mad, get better instead.

You can’t always control what makes you feel a certain way, but you can always control how you react. If you have some impulse control problems, find ways to get help when you’re feeling calm. Not all emotions can be vented away. My struggle with depression taught me that some emotions persist long after the overflow. However, there’s always a moment when those feelings feel a little less intense. Use those moments to seek help.

Motivation

We talk about motivation a lot . When we’re talking about motivation as it relates to emotional intelligence, however, we don’t just mean getting up the energy to go to work. We’re talking about your inner drive to accomplish something. That drive isn’t just some feel-goody nonsense, either. As Psychology today explains, there’s a section of your prefrontal cortex that lights up at the mere thought of achieving a meaningful goal.

Whether your goal is building a career, raising a family, or creating some kind of art, everyone has something they want to do with their life.When your motivation is working for you, it connects with reality in tangible ways. Want to start a family? Motivated people will start dating. Want to improve your career? Motivated people will educate themselves, apply for new jobs, or angle for a promotion.

Daniel Goleman suggests that in order to start making use of that motivation, you first need to identify your own values. Many of us are so busy that we don’t take the time to examine what our values really are. Or worse, we’ll do work that directly contradicts what we value for so long that we lose that motivation entirely.

Unfortunately, we can’t give you the answer for what it is you want in life, but there are lots of strategies you can try . Use your journal to find times when you’ve felt fulfilled. Create a list of things you value. Most of all, accept the uncertainty in life and just build something. Fitness instructor Michael Mantell, Ph.D suggests that using lesser successes you know you can accomplish. Remember, everyone who’s accomplished something you want to achieve did it slowly, over time.

Empathy

Your emotions are only one half of all your relationships. It’s the half you focus on the most, sure, but that’s only because you hang out with yourself every day. All the other people that matter to you have their own set of feelings, desires, triggers, and fears. Empathy is your most important skill for navigating your relationships . Empathy is a life-long skill, but here are some tips you can use to practice empathy:

  • Shut up and listen: We’re gonna start with the hardest one here, because it’s the most important. You can’t experience everyone else’s lives to fully understand them, but you can listen. Listening involves letting someone else talk and then not countering what they say. It means putting aside your preconceptions or skepticism for a bit and allowing the person you’re talking to a chance to explain how they feel. Empathy is hard, but virtually every relationship you have can be improved at least marginally by waiting at least an extra ten seconds before you retake the conversation.
  • Take up a contrary position to your own: One of the quickest ways to solidify an opinion in your mind is to argue in favor of it. To counter this, take up a contrary position. If you think your boss is being unreasonable, try defending their actions in your head. Would you find their actions reasonable if you were in their shoes? Even asking the questions of yourself can be enough to start empathizing with another’s point of view (though, of course, getting real answers from others can always help).
  • Don’t just know, try to understand: Understanding is key to having empathy. As we’ve discussed before, understanding is the difference between knowing something and truly empathizing with it. If you catch yourself saying, “I know, but,” a lot, take that as an indicator that you should pause a bit more. When someone tells you about an experience that’s not your own, take some time to mull over how your life might be different if you experienced that on a daily basis. Read about it until it clicks. It’s okay if you don’t spend all your time devoted to someone else’s life, but putting in just some time—even if it’s idle thought time while you work—can be beneficial.

By definition , empathy means getting in the emotional dirt with someone else. Allowing their experiences to resonate with your own and responding appropriately. It’s okay to offer advice or optimism, but empathy also requires that you wait for the right space to do that. If someone’s on the verge of tears, or sharing some deep pain, don’t make light of it and don’t try to minimize the hurt. Be mindful of how they must feel and allow them space to feel it.

Social Skills

Summing up all social skills in one section of an article would do about as much justice to the topic as if we snuck in a brief explainer on astrophysics. However, the tools you develop in the other four areas will help you resolve a lot of social problems that many adults still wrestle with. As Goleman explains, your social skills affect everything from your work performance to your romantic life:

Social competence takes many forms – it’s more than just being chatty. These abilities range from being able to tune into another person’s feelings and understand how they think about things, to being a great collaborator and team player, to expertise at negotiation. All these skills are learned in life. We can improve on any of them we care about, but it takes time, effort, and perseverance. It helps to have a model, someone who embodies the skill we want to improve. But we also need to practice whenever a naturally occurring opportunity arises – and it may be listening to a teenager, not just a moment at work.

You can start with the most common form of social problems: resolving a disagreement. This is where you get to put all your skills to the test in a real-world environment. We’ve gone into this subject in-depth here , but we can summarize the basic steps:

  • Identify and deal with your emotions: Whenever you have an argument with someone else, things can get heated. If someone involved is emotionally worked up, deal with that problem first. Take time apart to vent, blow off steam on your own, then return to the problem. In a work environment, this may just mean complaining to a friend before you email your boss back. In a romantic relationship, remind your partner that you care about them before criticizing.
  • Address legitimate problems once you’re both calm: Once you’re in your right headspace, identify what the conflict is. Before you jump to solutions, make sure you and the other person agree on what the problems really are . Propose solutions that are mutually beneficial and be sympathetic to any concessions the other person may be unwilling to make (but be sure to stand firm on your own).
  • End on a cooperative note: Whether in business or pleasure, relationships work best when everyone involved knows that they’re on the same page. Even if you can’t end on a positive note, make sure that the last intention you communicate is a cooperative one. Let your boss/coworker/significant other know that you want to work towards the same goal, even if you have different views.

Not every type of interaction with another person will be a conflict, of course. Some social skills just involve meeting new people , socializing with people of different mindsets , or just playing games . However, resolving conflict can be one of the best ways to learn how to apply your emotional skills. Disputes are best resolved when you know what you want, can communicate it clearly, understand what someone else wants, and come to favorable terms for everyone. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that this involves every other area of the emotional intelligence model.

Photos by Tracy Rosen, Lidyanne Aquino, Brad Fults.

http://lifehacker.com/emotional-intelligence-the-social-skills-you-werent-ta-1697704987

If you are interested in measuring your own EI to determine your current level and how you can nurture your emotional intelligence for a happier and healthier living, contact me today.

Love and JOY, Cynthia

A Happy You-A Happy Life Newsletter February



ahappyyouahappylifefebruary15

If you’d like to receive my newsletter directly in your inbox, subscribe to the right ——>

Open Me – Read Me – Happiness is Inside

Read Full Newsletter

Coach’s Time For Reflection



I was recently contacted by a professor at Regent University, who is in the final Doctor of Strategic Leadership (DSL) course in the Leadership Coaching track, this question:

“When and how does the Coach “sharpen the saw?” We counsel our clients to reflect on where they’ve been and where they want to go, but how do we do the same?”

This question really spoke to my heart, Landscape-Reflections-2passion and purpose for being in the coaching industry.  No matter what profession you are in (teacher, doctor, counselor, coach, lawyer and more…) you are a leader and all leaders benefit from having mentors in their circle of influence.  Take time to grow your circle of influence. Many of the things I coach and mentor to others I am already doing myself; truly living the skills and techniques I am teaching.

Here are just a few:

  1. Mentors – find other coaches, authors, teachers, that inspire and motivate you.  Who do you admire and look up to? What feeds your mind, body and soul?
  2. Self-Care – this could be a variety of things from getting a massage, taking a bubble bath, meditation, yoga, prayer etc. Of course the traditional exercise and nutrition is always important.  Double or triple your water intake during hectic and more stressful times. Explore your boundaries and learn to say ‘no’.
  3. JOY log – each day reflect on the day and find three new things that brought you JOY. Focusing on finding new things each day trains your brain to scan your life and world for the positive.
  4. Find your ‘happy place’ – it doesn’t have to be a faraway exotic island.  My happy place is later in the evening when the rest of the family is quiet and taken care of to float in the pool under the stars.  That is my time of reflection.  However, that doesn’t work in the middle of January, so we all would benefit from finding more than one ‘happy place’ where we can surrender the day, the technology, the noise, and reflect completely by growing our mindfulness and awareness.

I wish you all much peace and happiness in your souls as well as JOY and love in your hearts.

Warmly,

Cynthia

Tips to Taking Care of Yourself Through the Holidays



Tips to taking care of your SELF – mindfulness and awareness – choices that can make a big difference to have a much more enjoyable season.

1.  Clean closets – Yes! Organize those towels, blankets, shoes, seasonal items, games, toys, etc. Give things you don’t need to charity. Less clutter and more organization will free you of much unnecessary weight.

2.  Eliminate your poisonous or negative “friends” – If someone is always dumping on you, sucking you dry, is the queen of complaining, and has a street named after them ~ ‘one-way’ they are most likely not the caliber of friend you want or need in your life.  Raise the bar on your deserve level. Give yourself permission to distance yourself from them, completely.

3.  Say no to extra things you said yes to, and shouldn’t have – Yes, you may be the ‘one’ everyone goes to and depends on; however, you are allowed to say ‘no’.  Develop healthy boundaries to preserve your energy and keep you from becoming depleted and stressed. Hang up your Wonder Woman cape for a little while.

4.  Go through your files and dump the extra papers – OMG, is this speaking my language! How many of you are professional pile-its – not one who flies an airplane, but one who has piles of files here, piles of papers there, piles of bills over there.  It’s clutter and disorganization.  If you have a lot of newspapers, consider dropping them off at the local SPCA versus in your recycle bin. Invest in a shredder or go to a local place that can shred them for you.  You will FEEL MUCH LIGHTER.

5. Give gifts only to those you WANT to – Beware of getting trapped into the commercialism of the season. Go back to basics.

6.  Remember you don’t have to do it all – You don’t have to bake cookies, buy for everyone, decorate the house, spend time with ALL relatives.  Are you married to tradition? Maybe it’s time to take a break from tradition just for this year. You can always go back to it again next year.

7.  UNPLUG and let others take care of you.  Maybe another relative or friend can be the host this year for the annual dinner party and you can bring some side dishes.  Maybe you can go out to a restaurant instead of cooking the huge spread.  Maybe you can let go of _________ (fill in the blank) and treat yourself to a bubble bath, massage, nap, brisk walk in the park, a movie, and so on ….

Love and JOY, Cynthia

Steps to a Better Social Life



Special for eDiets
by Hara Estroff Marano

Perhaps the single greatest source of mental energy is positive interaction with others. Even if you were the class nerd in high school, it’s never too late to achieve social success. You can develop social confidence by following a few simple steps.

Schedule Your Social Life
To hone your social skills, you have to invest time in them. Practice makes perfect, even for the socially secure. By surrounding yourself with others, you create a rich supply of opportunities to observe interactions and improve upon your own social behaviors. Stop turning down party invitations and start inviting people to your home. Plan outings with acquaintances you’d like to know better.

Think Positive
Insecure people approach others anxiously, feeling they have to prove that they’re witty or interesting. Self-assured people expect others to respond positively — despite the fact that one of the most difficult social tasks is to join an activity that is already in progress.

Engage in Social Reconnaissance
The socially competent are highly skilled at information gathering, always scanning the scene for important details to guide their actions. They are tuned in to people’s expression of specific emotions and sensitive to signals that convey information about what people’s interests are — whether they want to be left alone or whether there is room in an activity for another person.

To infer correctly what others must be feeling, you must be able to identify and label your own experience accurately. That is where many people, particularly men, fall short. Good conversationalists make comments that are connected to what is said to them and to the social situation. You don’t have to be interesting. You just have to be interested.

Enter Conversations Gracefully
Timing is everything. After listening and observing on the perimeter of a group they want to join, the socially competent look for an opportunity to step in, knowing it doesn’t just happen. It usually appears as a lull in the conversation. Tuned in to the conversational or activity theme, the deft participant asks a question or elaborates on what someone else has already said. The idea is to use an open-ended question that lets others participate. For instance, “Speaking of the election, what does everybody think about so-and-so’s decision not to run?”

Once the conversation gets moving, back off and give others a chance to talk. The goal is to help the group have a better conversation.

Learn to Handle Failure
Everyone will sometimes be rejected. The socially confident don’t take rebuffs personally. They don’t attribute rejection to internal causes, such as being unlikable or inability to make friends. They assume it can result from any of many factors — incompatibility, someone else’s bad mood or a misunderstanding.

Self-assured people become resilient, using the feedback they get to shape another go at acceptance. When faced with failure, those who are well-liked turn a negative response into a counterproposal. They say things like, “Well, can we make a date for next week instead?” Or they move onto another group in the expectation that not every conversation is closed.

And, should they reject others’ bids to join with them, they do it in a positive way. They invariably offer a reason or counter with an alternative idea: “I would love to talk with you later.”

Manage Your Emotions
Social situations are incredibly complex and dynamic. There are all kinds of verbal and nonverbal cues (such as facial expression and voice tone) that have to be interpreted before you decide on the best response — all in a matter of microseconds. No one can do all that without a reasonable degree of control over their own emotional states, especially negative emotions such as anger, fear, anxiety and other emotions that usually arise in situations of conflict or uncertainty. The trick is to shift attention away from distressing stimuli toward positive aspects of a situation.

Defuse Disagreements
Conflict is inevitable; coping with confrontations is a critical social skill. Instead of fighting fire with fire, socially confident people stop conflict from escalating. They apologize, propose a joint activity, make a peace offering or negotiate. Sometimes they just change the subject. Managing conflict without aggression requires listening, communicating, taking the perspective of others, controlling negative emotions and problem-solving. Even just explaining your point of view in an argument is a helpful move.

Laugh a Little

Humor is the most prized social skill, the fast track to being liked. There’s no recipe for creating a sense of humor. But, even in your darkest moments, strive to see the lighter side of a situation.

If you want a very practical guide to social skills, I urge you to read Why Doesn’t Anybody Like Me? (William Morrow & Co.). I wrote it for parents to help their kids, but many adults tell me they get a lot out of it for themselves. To order a copy of this book, click here.

Hara Estroff Marano is Editor-At-Large of Psychology Today magazine and Editor-In-Chief of Psychology Today’s Blues Buster, a newsletter about depression. An award-winning writer on human behavior, Hara’s articles have appeared in publications including the New York Times, Smithsonian, Family Circle and The Ladies Home Journal. She lives in New York City.

22 Things Happy People Do Differently



Happy-People

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. – Dalai Lama

There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a homeless person could be right outside, walking around with a spring in every step. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.

The question is: how do they do that?

It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …

1. Don’t hold grudges.

Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.

2. Treat everyone with kindness.

Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.

3. See problems as challenges.

The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.

4. Express gratitude for what they already have.

There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.

5. Dream big.

People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.

7. Speak well of others.

Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.

8. Never make excuses.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.

9. Get absorbed into the present.

Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.

10. Wake up at the same time every morning.

Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.

11. Avoid social comparison.

Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.

12. Choose friends wisely.

Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.

13. Never seek approval from others.

Happy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.

14. Take the time to listen.

Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.

15. Nurture social relationships.

A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.

16. Meditate.

Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.

17. Eat well.

Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.

18. Exercise.

Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.

19. Live minimally.

Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.

20. Tell the truth.

Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.

21. Establish personal control.

Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.

22. Accept what cannot be changed.

Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.

Full rights to this article: http://www.oomphify.com/22-things-happy-people-do-differently/

Join Our VIP Community

SIGN UP TODAY

Great Books

"The Gift of Change - Spirtual Guidance for a Radically New Life"
by Marianne Williamson

"The Best Year Of Your Life - dream it.plan it.live it"
by Debbie Ford

"The Aladdin Factor"
by: Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

"What is Your WHAT?"
by: Steve Olsher

"The Slight Edge"
by: Jeff Olson

"Wherever You Go There You Are"
by: Jon Kabat-Zinn

"Play - How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul"
by: Stuart Brown, MD with Christopher Vaughan

"The Tools - Transform Your Problems Into Courage, Confidence, and Creativity"
by: Phil Stutz and Barry Michels

"Unglued - Making Wise Choices In The Midst Of Raw Emotions"
by: Lysa Terkeurst

"Excuses Begone! - How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits"
by: Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

"Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway"
by: Susan Jeffers, Ph.D

"MAKE MONEY Not Excuses - Wake Up, Take Charge, and Overcome Your Financial Fears Forever"
by: Jean Chatzky

"Who Moved My Cheese?"
by: Spencer Johnson, M.D.

"What's Worth Knowing"
by: Wendy Lustbader

loading