Don’t let these bad habits damage your happiness

happiness

We all strive for happiness. Happiness, however, has no universal definition. Instead, it depends on you and whatever it takes to get you to the bliss, content, utter euphoric state of happiness.

Unhappiness, on the other hand, is easy to identify; you can see it, feel it and you definitely know when it’s wrapped its arms around you.

Happiness, rather satisfyingly, has little to do with financial circumstances. A University of Illinois study found that people who earn the most (more than $10 million annually) are only a tiny bit happier than their employees.

Psychologists from the University of California found that happiness makes up of only 50% your life circumstances and genetics `9i.e things outside of your control). So, the remaining 50% is up to you.

Unhappiness can catch up with you. It grows, following a long period of time, not being self-aware. During this time your thoughts and actions have been unhealthy for you. You have failed to look after your needs, properly and you are left feeling unhappy.

The good news is that this state of unhappiness is not permanent and resolvable. So much of your happiness is determined by your habits (in thought and actions) and once you are aware of the unhappiness traps – they are easily avoided to ensure you a future, filled with happiness.

1. Not being true to yourself

If you’re anxious, say it. Don’t pretend you’re not feeling something when you are. Suppressing feelings is unhealthy. It doesn’t let you deal with anything. Instead, by pushing your feelings down, and not dealing with or accepting them, you are vulnerable to them coming back and attacking you, when you least expect it.  The height of emotional intelligence is, respecting your feelings and allowing yourself to experience the consequences that come from embracing them, for what they are. Only then, can you express and use your feelings, in a manner that helps (rather than undermines) your ability to reach your goals.

2. Too much tech, too little nature

Everyone enjoys binge-watching a TV show and checking up on social media. The real question issue is how much of your time do you give to that TV show or social media pages, avoiding the real world? Does it make you feel good or numb? Most times, it doesn’t make you happy but just passes your time. Is that what you want your life to be? Did you know that taking a walk in nature is a natural anti-depressant? It can boost your flat mood far higher than any tech, ever could. Monitor your tech time and make sure you’re spending more time with nature, than tech, for a happier life, it’s that simple.

3. Waiting for the future

Telling yourself, “I’ll be happy when …” is one of the easiest unhappy habits to fall into. Future imagined circumstances don’t lead to happiness. Happiness happens, right now. Even if you get everything you want for your future, happiness comes from within. You can’t be happy, even if you have the husband/wife, car, job of your dreams if you haven’t worked on your internal happiness. Don’t spend your time waiting for something to change how you feel. Instead, be in control and focus on improving your happiness, right now.

4. Fighting change

Change is an inevitable part of life, and if you fight it it’s because you are struggling to remain in control. The problem with this is that you remain on edge, constantly fearing change and actually put up a barrier between yourself and the actions you need to take to improve your situation. You must remain adaptable for change. Be flexible. Your brain needs challenges to survive. Your brain craves adversity. By avoiding adversity you become mentally weak, which leads to unhappiness. Embrace change, live an interesting life and reap the happiness rewards.

 

 

 

How to make every day mentally healthy

healthy

Sleep, wake up, work. Repeat. Make sure this does not form your daily routine, otherwise you are set up for a miserable existence.

If we don’t actively think about creating healthy habits life can pass us by before we know it.

Instead, create healthy habits throughout your day and reign more control over your life.

If we inject happiness into our days, every day, think about what happy healthy people we could be!

1. Wake up with mental space

Don’t start checking your emails as soon as you hear your alarm. Allow yourself space to wake up and think about yourself. Even if it’s only 30 – 45 minutes – you can afford it and it makes the world of difference to your day.

2. Work out

People tend to feel more depressed when they neglect their bodies. Make sure that you schedule time for yourself to work out, even if you don’t feel like it. It does a world of good to your health, self-image, and mind.

3. Get lost in fiction

Whether you prefer to read or watch, getting lost in another reality can help to reset your mind and flareup your creative juices. That stimulation makes your day smoother by thinking differently, solving problems in abstract ways and, most importantly, makes you happy.

4. Write poetry or a diary entry

However you prefer to mark a day, just make sure you do it. Some people like to write poems as they find it easier to recreate atmospheres than write objectively about their day. Other people write diary entries as they find therapeutic and releasing to write an account of their day – that they can compare to other days. Both writing styles can open yourself up to your day that you may not be aware of, or consciously absorb. It interestingly keeps your mind open to the small details and is an incredibly healthy habit to have.

5. Check in with your family and friends

Surround yourself with your biggest fans. Create circles of support around you. Validate your friends and family and also make yourself feel stronger as they support you. These people are exactly who you need at the end of a stressful or upsetting day and visa versa. Make sure you schedule in time for these important people.

6. Don’t forget to play

Going back to your childhood can rejuvenate your soul. Take a walk in the woods and just wonder at the nature around you. If you are blessed by young people around you then play and laugh with them. Or listen to music from your childhood.

 

The best ways to fake it till you make it

fake it

You’re told time and time again to fake it till you make it, and what initially sounds quite absurd actually makes sense. Some 70% of people report feeling like a fraud at work. If you’re not careful you can give opportunities away to the more confident 30% simply down to your lack of confidence.

Therefore, the “fake it till you make it” advice, is a safety protocol, saving you from yourself, until you realise your own worth.

So, here are eight ways to fake it till you make it.

1. Remember your past success.

If you’re deliberating about whether you are good enough to take up a new opportunity then you need to think of your wins. Think of everything you’ve done to get where you are. Write it down if that helps, just make sure it’s fresh in your mind and ready to remember when you need it most.

2. Surround yourself with people who reinforce you.

We can’t do everything ourselves. Make sure in your life you are surrounded by people who believe in you. Limit your interactions with toxic people, in so far as is possible. Make sure that you have enough genuine love and support towards your goals. Without this, it’s very hard to get by on a very low day. This can be anyone, family, friends even coworkers.

3. Exercise 

Exercise is a confidence-boosting natural drug. Before a high-stress situation such as an interview or presentation sweat it out. Put your power music on and don’t stop till you hurt. Not only does it help you to build your confidence by flushing happy endorphins through your brain but it helps you to mentally focus and not get so sidetracked by worries or fears.

4. Don’t forget your bigger picture 

Have faith that you are on the right path. Nobody is perfect and you are here to learn. So, if you feel out of your depths, think about everything you have done before and how capable you are. Think about your journey, where you want to be and how close every new challenge will take to your goals. Instead of feeling fear, feel gratefulness.

5. Give what you want to receive.

Validate other people and in turn, validate yourself. When Derek Doepker, the author of Why You’re Stuck, began his journey, he felt like a fraud. His answer was to identify a role model He researched authors, podcasters and bloggers who resonated with him. Go and tell them how much they mean to you – he advises, and it helps you find your own worth in the process.

6. Never let ’em see you feel like a fraud.

Typically, when we exhibit equanimity and confidence, it makes the situation much better. Think about how awkward it is to watch a nervous speaker? Think about how strange it feels to have an unsure leader? No matter what, do what it takes to fake it till you make it. Remember feeling like a fraud is normal and every scary moment will pass. Just give your best performance regardless of how you feel inside. Make people think you can handle it.

 

Are you ready for Generation Z?

generation z

Generation Z is about to take over the “millennial” hype. They consist of the generation born between 1996 and 2010 – and are set to make up one-fifth of the workforce by 2021.

Unsurprisingly Generation Z differs quite significantly, to their millennial predecessors and bring a whole new set of ideas to the working world. Unlike Millennials, who are driven by purpose, Generation Z has grown up through a recession and the fear of it happening again means they are motivated by money and security.

Their new set of ideals mean they will make waves in the workplace and if employers wish to retain them, they should respond accordingly. So, if you want to be well-prepared for the new wave, consider three core Gen Z traits and how they can benefit your business.

1. Make tech your priority 

Generation Z lives and breathes tech. They don’t know a life without it. To reckon with this new wave you need to make your workspace a truly digital environment. This not only pleases Gen Z but it also makes your workspace the most efficient space possible.

Forward-thinking organizations like PwC are making digital fitness (as they call it) a business imperative (read more here)

As a rule of thumb, anything that can reduce the friction of getting work done or smooth workflow is fair game for an upgrade.

2. Feed the Generation Z hunger for competition 

Generation Z is fiercely independent and competitive, They’re not afraid and even like some healthy competition with their teammates.

A great way to create cohesion amongst Generation Z and your team is to run some in-house competitions among your staff. Technology again provides a creative solution but equally, anything that proves their worth, within the context of your organization will quench their competitive thirst.

Investing in their competitive side could provide value for your organisations future. think about innovation projects or think tanks which, if liked, could see some incredibly beneficial ideas being implemented.

3. Design your space to encourage “togetherness”

Interesting statistics to take into account, if you really want to understand Generation Z, are as follows;

  • They have startlingly high levels of loneliness within Generation Z, which topped the UCLA Loneliness Scale with a score of 48.3in a recent Cigna study.
  • Other research shows high levels of anxiety and distrust among Generation Z, pointing to their social media childhoods and being raised during the recession.

Designing a space that encourages collaboration, openness and a feeling of togetherness will help this new generation to do their best work which may provide instrumental value to their growth.

Over the past two decades, organizations have paid attention to the unprecedented mindset of Millennials. Now it’s time to do that again for Generation Z. Getting the most out of employees does take investment, but in the long run, it reaps rewards for organizations who have created the perfect space for success.

 

Read more on this from William Arruda 

How to keep your attitude in check during a bad work day

attitude

A toxic attitude can spread faster than distasteful gossip.

A bad mood is infectious and if you don’t nip it in the bud it can be impossible to work. Before you know it, the rest of your colleagues will be feeling your negative energy. Even worse, you risk giving a bad impression to your superiors who will be less than impressed by your bad attitude. Something that, (especially if it happens more than once) can really tarnish your reputation.

So, you need to get your attitude in check—and fast.

Here’s how:

1. Avoid Venting

It’s human nature—when you’re having a terrible day to want to vent to those around you. Unfortunately, this creates a domino effect in the workplace and only achieves to spread negativity. Even worse, imagine if it gets back to those in charge that you’ve been bad-mouthing their business? There are little benefits to venting at work, about work. The key to keeping your unpleasant mood in check during the workday is to say, as little as possible. By staying quiet, you avoid the risk of opening your mouth and saying the first snarky thing that comes to mind.

If you absolutely need to get something off your chest speak to someone that doesn’t work with you.

2. Take a Break

The downward spiral of negativity moves quickly. A bad exchange with your co-worker turns into a bad morning, which turns into a bad day. Nip the bad experience in the bud and don’t let it take over your day.

One of the best ways to do just that is to get up and take a break. Go outside and take a walk, run an errand, or head out for a quick cup of coffee. Do anything that will get you away from your workplace and change your environment.

Research shows that attempting to continue to stay focused on the task at hand will only lead to an even worse mood. So, the absolute best thing to do is to stand up and take a break. In the end, that’s much better than trying to power through.

3. Perform a Random Act of Kindness

One of the very best ways to get yourself out of your funk is to perform a random act of kindness. In fact, research shows that these small kind acts actually raise your dopamine levels—making you feel a lot happier.

Your random act of kindness can be to anyone – at work – on the streets – it’s your choice.

Doing something nice and unexpected, can stop your bad mood, and help you to feel empathy, over anger, allowing you to cool down.

4. Fake it ’Til You Make it

Don’t let your bad mood rule your entire day. Instead, put on your most convincing happy face and push through.

This might not be easy but it’s far better than potentially ruining your reputation with a sour attitude.

Even better? Science says that smiling (even when you don’t feel like it) can actually help to improve your mood. So, it might be just what you need to turn that awful day of yours around.

Bad days happen to everyone. For a long and successful career, you really have to manage your mood to make sure your reputation does not suffer.

The four work personality types

four work personality types

A workplace is a dynamic environment with a diverse range of people. Not everyone, in the world, works, reacts, or communicates in the same way. Typically, you can find four work personality types. Each of these personality types exhibits common characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses that benefit from being managed and communicated with in different ways.

Understanding these four work personality types will help you to successfully lead a diverse team to increase your team’s job satisfaction, performance, and reach organisational goals.

The four work personality types

1. Analytical

The analytical personality type is very introspective. They’re serious individuals that act with utmost deliberation. They have high standards which are reflected in their working styles. They are process driven and highly organised. They also often tend to have a dry and witty sense of humor.

Analytical strengths are that they are perfectionists. They produce a high standard of work. They’re organised, economical, and self-disciplined. They are risk-averse (which can arguably also be a weakness).

Analytical weaknesses are that they can be moody, negative and critical of those with different working styles. Their disposition towards analysing everything can make them indecisive. Their desire to be perfect can produce negative results as it can overshadow the point of their task.

The best ways to interact with an analytical:

  • Ask rather than tell
  • Don’t make demands or rush
  • Give them time and space to think about things
  • They like encouragement and feedback for good work

2. Driver

Drivers have strong and energetic personalities. They exude confidence and naturally gravitate toward leadership positions. They shoot into action, but they can overlook details. Drivers are blue sky visionaries. They see where they want to take a team but they can lack the preparation of the interim steps.

Driver strengths can be found in their tenacious determination. They are independent and highly productive. They are visionaries and they’re decisive. A driver would rather make a bad decision than no decision. They just want actions toward their goals.

On the weak side, the driver can be insensitive, unempathetic and sarcastic. Drivers are stubborn and typically do not like to admit when they are wrong. They can also rush into decision making without thoroughly thinking through the consequences of their decision.

The best ways to interact with a driver;

  • Get straight to the point
  • Give them responsibility
  • Give them independence when they execute their tasks
  • Show appreciation

3. Amiable

The amiable personality type is a well-balanced individual, calm and patient. They’re typically quiet. They’re empathetic, kind, and inoffensive—amiables are people pleasers.

Amiable strengths are that they are very easy going. They fit well into teams, do not cause disruption and get on with their work. They’re diplomatic and calm and can be very supportive of those around them.

On the weak side, an amiable’s need to people please can be self-defeating and consequent in them feeling resentment. It can also cause complications if they do not really say what they feel for fear of upsetting those around them. They can be stubborn, selfish and easily overwhelmed.

The best way to interact with an amiable;

  • Be gentle
  • Do not overwhelm
  • Show support and empathy
  • Encourage them to step outside of their comfort zone

4. Expressive

The expressive is also known as a social specialist. They are exciting, popular and naturally draw people to them. They want to be included and are excellent team players. Expressives want to be involved in everything from projects to social teams.

On the strong side, the expressive is very good at communicating and managing those around them. They are charismatic and persuasive. On the weak side, they can be disorganised, undisciplined, loud, and incredibly talkative.

The best way to interact with an expressive;

  • Have a sense of humor
  • Make sure they check their facts
  • Show excitement and participate in their conversations

Of course, these are generalisations and many people will exhibit some amount, of any number, of these four work personality types. However, everyone will possess more characteristics of one type over the others.

How to nail consistency

consistency

Consistency is the foundation of success. Consistency in your professional life allows you to enjoy high client retention rates, booming business bottom lines, and a well-respected brand. In your personal life, consistency strengthens your self-perception and your self-confidence. You no longer feel threatened by new or daunting tasks. You simply look at your past consistent track record and feel assured that you can handle any task ahead of you. Consistency kills self-doubt and here are 5 proven ways to nail consistency.

1. Focus

Decide on exactly what it is you want and build a system and processes around it. Surround yourself with knowledge, people, tasks, routines, boundaries, and consequences that reflect your main point of focus. Point your life towards your goals and constantly think, what can I do, right now, to become closer to my goals?

2. Consistency in your thoughts

One of the most liberating things in life is having control over your thoughts. Being unshakable when things don’t go to plan naturally makes you consistent. Calm, balanced thoughts accelerate your journey towards your goals. The first step to controlling your thoughts (or not letting your thoughts control you!) is to be self-aware. What am I feeling right now? Is this a genuine concern or just stress? The world acclaimed practice of mindfulness is the best way to practice self-awareness.

3. Don’t doubt yourself until after you’ve accomplished your process goals

Self-doubt is the ultimate consistency destroyer. You must continue with your goal and only until after you have completed the required number of process goals (i.e. numbers of trials) can you start to think about self-doubt. Anything before this point is simply, giving up.

4. If you don’t feel like it do it anyway

If you are avoiding a task, so long as you’re sure on your goal, you should do the task anyway. You will not regret taking action towards your goal but you will regret inaction. A good test was adduced by Steve Jobs

“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

Just remember, so long as you are making moves towards your goal(s), you’re doing the right thing,

5. Consistency doesn’t mean the same

Consistency is about growth and not about repetition. You shouldn’t be aiming for the same result (certainly not worse) but something better every time. If you feel something isn’t working than you have to be flexible and change. Being consistent about your success means constantly analysing what works and what doesn’t. You should be prepared to rip up ideas and go back to the drawing board at any point. In the words of Albert Einstein “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a di erent result.”

For more information on how to master consistency read the helpful blog by Anthony Galli here

 

 

5 tips for performing well under pressure

pressure

It goes without saying that in today’s working world we are all under pressure. This is a non-varying characteristic of modern corporations. Forward-thinking companies do care for their employees’ well-being, but it’s also important for employees to know how to handle pressure in order to not sacrifice mental health or work performance. Here are 5 great tips for performing well under pressure.

1) Remember that human beings can perform well under pressure.

We are survivalists, we love a challenge and we like to accomplish difficult tasks that keep us going. If you find yourself working in a pressurised environment it’s highly likley that you are one of the people that succeed rather than fail under pressure.

So, don’t view pressure as a negative, but rather embrace it and see it as an opportunity. You should always pay attention to the nature of the pressure you are under. If you decide the pressure is unnecessary, you should see how you can circumvent the pressure and deal with any associated tasks, in different, more balanced manner.

2) Don’t be a yes person 

A common cause of feeling pressure at work is by taking on more work than you can handle. Only accept work if you genuinely feel you have the capacity. If you know that a task can be done, then take it on. If you think it can’t be done, then you need to resolve the situation (i.e ask for help or delegate) and figure out a way that it can be done without sacrificing your work standard or mental health.

3) Plan ahead and ask yourself, “What if?”

Having a recovery plan or two in mind for if the pressure gets too much, can really help to relax your mind when working up against strict deadlines. Think of alternatives; even if you don’t need them, they will help you to handle pressure well, and you will be ready for the unforeseen, instead of helplessly panicking along the way which only serves to slow down your productivity.

4) Maintain self-control over yourself.

Your reactions to different challenges are part of the learning process, and it is sometimes necessary to take a step back when up against a challenge and asses how you react. Make sure you are in control over your emotions and you are not being overly negative in the work place or at home. If you feel unable to control your emotions then it’s a sign that the pressure is getting to you. In this scenario, it would be a good idea to take a step back or seek appropriate wellbeing help. If you feel you can, speaking to a superior about how your work environment is affecting you, could be beneficial if both of you draw up solutions to combat how you feel.

5) The way you do anything is the way you do everything.

The way that you deal with pressure at work will enable you to deal with the pressure in personal situations. If you can master pressure in one area of your life, you will learn to rise above challenges and grow in every area of your life. Eventually, those times will be a great source of pride.

Life comes with many hurdles and the better you handle these situations the higher your quality of life will be.

This blog was written with the help of Randa Hakim’s useful blog on workplace pressure here

 

 

Words you should use and avoid in your presentations

presentation

There are several ways to succeed in a presentation and mostly it’s down to how you make your audience feel. Did you make an impact? and, Did you add value?  Sometimes you can prepare everything perfectly but really let yourself down with bad grammar and wording choice that detracts from the overall credibility of your work and even in some circumstances irritate your audience. Here are some tips from  The Elements of Style by Strunk and White which are still relevant to all presentations today.

1. Don’t use overly long words when you can use short and familiar ones

There is nothing worse than hearing a presentation from a person trying to sound overly clever by using long and complicated words. The point of your presentation is not about you, it’s about clearly conveying information to your audience in the most user-friendly way. Anything else detracts from the meaning of your content.

2. Avoid euphemisms

You’re not kidding anyone and your audience will not appreciate hearing about the “profit improvement plan” which was the cause of the job losses.

3. Use metaphors sparingly – they are better on paper

Metaphors can often get lost in translation and can take the audience away from the point of your content. It might sound clever in your head but it would not be fun to confuse the room and try to recover audience engagement, in the middle of your presentation.

4. Don’t invent new words

Whilst it may seem obvious to not make up words, many people don’t actually realize that the words they use are fake. For example, the overused “prioritize” is an invented word; made by converting a noun, “priority,” into a verb by adding “ize”—a practice that the legendary New York Times columnist William Safire called “verbification of nouns.” Be careful to not fall into this trap.

5. Avoid clichés

They are known to irritate audiences and they can make you seem too informal in your presentation. Try to avoid saying any of these to keep your audience on side.

For more information and tips on what words to avoid in your presentation, click here.

 

How to stay naturally energised during your work day

energised

Your working day is a marathon, not a sprint. After a hectic weekend, it can be difficult to get back into the swing of things. However, luckily there are a few techniques that allow you to stay alert, regardless of how little sleep you’ve had. Here are four of the best expert-recommended ways to stay naturally energised during your working day.

1. Non-caffeinated energisers

Luckily for those of you who don’t want to rely on caffeine for energy, there are some great alternatives to stay energised. Many experts recommend exercising first thing in the morning so you get an adrenaline boost for the rest of the day. Exercise helps to keep you alert and also keeps your endorphins up – so that no matter how tired you may be – you will feel positive and upbeat. However, if exercising first thing in the morning isn’t for you, than simply taking a walk in fresh air (rain or shine) can significantly increase your level of alertness. Try to do this throughout the day, especially if you feel your eyelids getting heavy at your desk.

2.  Try the R.I.S.E U.P. method

Dr. Harvey of the Golden Bear Sleep Research Center recommends what’s called the R.I.S.E. U.P. method to her patients who suffer from severe sleep inertia and need a concrete process to feel energised. R.I.S.E. U.P. stands for:

Refrain from snoozing
Increase activity for the first hour
Shower or wash face
Expose yourself to sunlight
Upbeat music
Phone a friend

3. Be mindful of what you eat

If you particularly tired, refrain from eating anything heavy, too hot or starchy. These foods will simply make you feel less energised and lethargic. Instead switch to light foods such as Greek yogurt, fruit, smoothies, salads, and lean protein. Bananas and nuts are a great snack to help keep your energy up throughout the day. Another great trick is to have strong spearmint gum with you – as chewing this helps to keep you alert.

4. Take a 10-minute nap

Studies show that the perfect amount of time for a nap, during the working day, is 10 minutes. Anything more than this and you risk being more tired. The perfect 10-minute nap involves sleeping slightly upright so that you don’t fall into a deep sleep and spring back into action. Those that do nap at work tend to do it in a conference room, a couch or their car!

5. Listen to your favorite upbeat song

Turn on your favorite song, that gets you moving. Listen to it using headphones at work and feel all of the happy endorphins run through your body, giving you all the energy you need, to tackle the next task.

 

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