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Happiness Weekly’s best tips for helping others

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You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. John Bunyan

The efficiencies of the internet are moving us towards a more insular world and it is becoming more difficult to be mindful of helping others. According to the Dalai Lama that is our sole purpose in being here on earth – to share our compassion and help others.

The Pay It Forward movement has been particularly active on Facebook this year. You may have noticed several posts that read:

“To start this year off in a caring way I’m participating in this Pay-It-Forward initiative:

I don’t usually buy into these things, but due to a recent act of generosity I have decided to get involved, this is for real.

The first five people who comment on this status with “I’m in”, will receive a surprise from me at some point in this calendar year – anything from a book, a ticket, a visit, something home grown or made, a postcard, absolutely any surprise!

There will be no warning and it will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy.

These five people must make the same offer in their Facebook status and distribute their own joy. Simply copy this text onto your profile (don’t share) so we can form a web of connection and kindness.

Let’s do more nice and loving things for each other in 2014, without any reason other than to make each other smile and to show that we think of each other. Here’s to a more enjoyable, more friendly and love-filled year.”

So while our modern world seems to be encouraging selfishness, greed and isolation – Happiness Weekly looks at some ways that you can help others this week without having an agenda of your own. Truly helping others means there’s nothing in it for you – in fact, the person you may help may never be able to repay you and that’s the ultimate aspiration in truly helping others.

 

The benefits of helping others includes:
-          Connecting you to someone in an otherwise very lonely world
–          Enhancing someone else’s life
–          Making the world a better place to live

Things you can do to help others
-          Teach them something new
–          Smile and be friendly
–          Volunteer for a charity
–          Start your own charity
–          Make a donation
–          Share your knowledge
–          Help someone do something – e.g. cross the street, change a flat tyre, get from A to B
–          Donate something you don’t use
–          Comfort someone
–          Buy food for a homeless person
–          Listen to someone
–          Do a chore for someone
–          Send a nice email
–          Share your favourite things (movie, song etc) – if you enjoyed it, someone else may too
–          Give a loved-one a massage
–          Praise someone publicly
–          Be patient with someone
–          Tutor a child
–          Make a care package for someone
–          Speak up for someone – sign a petition, write a letter etc.
–          Offer to babysit
–          Share what you have
–          Find out what’s valuable to someone and get it for them
–          Present an opportunity to someone or make them aware of it
–          Give transparent feedback to better performance (without being too critical)
–          Introduce people to each other, help people network
–          Give someone a gift
–          Do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return
–          Welcome a new neighbour by baking for them
–          Use your power to help people around you have a good day
–          Only see good in people and treat everyone accordingly

We’re all here together and the only certainty is we have one life and we’re living it now. Help others to be the best they can be where ever you can, because if everyone surrounding you is doing the same, imagine the powerful world we would live in.

Pages that helped inspire this blog:
http://www.zenhabits.net/25-ways-to-help-a-fellow-human-being-today
http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnhall/2013/05/26/10-ways-to-help-others-that-will-lead-you-to-success
http://tinybuddha.com/blog/how-to-help-someone-who-wont-help-themselves
https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/get-started/outside-the-classroom/volunteering-how-helping-others-helps-you

How to be inspired

Inspire

If we look at the world with a love of life, the world will reveal its beauty to us. Daisaku Ikeda

People often ask me how I get inspired to write my blog posts – how do I always have a topic to address? Where do I find my inspiration? How do I know what people want to read? The truth is, my instincts tell me.

I have a basic plan that I follow throughout the year which prevents me from getting “writers block”, and I sometimes blog a couple of weeks ahead to ensure I fulfil my commitment of a blog a week – after all, it is Happiness Weekly! But my inspiration comes from living my daily life. If something comes up professionally or personally that I have learnt from, particularly any big lessons, then I will share that instead of going ahead with the planned blog. I keep my ear out and my heart on my sleeve – generally if I’m passionate about it and it’s something I am feeling at the time, it comes through my writing.

But it’s not just writing. Often when we’re depressed or feeling out of sorts, we can spend long periods of time at home, lounging around or in bed. This week Happiness Weekly looks at how you can be inspired to get up and go every day!

1. Have something to look forward to
Often when things become routine they can also become a bit boring or demotivating and we start to drop off as our passion for something we may have once enjoyed, also dims. Whether it’s a job, going to the gym, or even catching up with our partner – our feelings for things are always changing. The way to resolve this problem effectively is to always have something to look forward to. If it’s work getting you down – set up a lunch with a colleague you enjoy spending time with or find a local walk you enjoy that you could only do by working in your location or find a boutique shop nearby that you enjoy going to and go during your lunch break; if it’s the gym, perhaps scheduling a reward after you go to the gym, or mix up your routine to keep it interesting … or just weigh yourself – it generally works for me! And if you’re having a lull with your partner, don’t threat – we all do! Why not plan a nice date night out – often people forget how great it feels to dress up really nicely and enjoy the company of our favourite person in the world. Spice things up. Go away for a weekend. Instead of rejecting your partner, as many of us do during those lulls, encourage them to come closer – the hug and kiss at the end of the night make everything worth it!

2. Remind yourself why it’s important to do what you’re doing
Sometimes, no matter how much I enjoy my job, I find myself dragging my feet to work. Maybe I feel I have too much on my plate and I’m burdened; maybe I disappointed a colleague the day before and I’m scared of repercussions… I have done two things to prevent this from happening. First of all, I have made a promise to myself to look forward to every day no matter what – because each day is a gift, not a right (thank you, Nickelback!) and secondly, I remind myself how lucky I am to have a job in the first place. I look at everything I have, the bills I’m paying, the clothes on my back … and no matter how hard everything feels, I realise how fortunate I am to have this role and I continue to promise myself to do the best I can in that role every day that I am there. If this positive thinking isn’t helping, go with your negativity – what would it be like without this role? Have you ever been unemployed? Speak to someone who doesn’t have a full time role at the moment who is seeking work and believe me, it will be a ten minute conversation before you’re appreciating what you have again! Nothing is more depressing than not having a purpose to get out of bed each morning.

3. Know what you want
As outlined above, sometimes in order to be inspired, you need to dig a little deep into what is really bothering you and find out what you really want from your situation. Spend a weekend once every few months to reassess what you really want out of life. What is your motivation, your ambition, your purpose for being on earth. Start planning how you will chase your dream – even if you only start with a course or trying something slightly new, the only thing holding you back from getting what you want is you.

4. Find out what others want
If you’re looking to be inspired, and you’re completely directionless with your life – you’re not alone! You can resolve this by simply finding out what other people want from their lives. Ask a few friends about their interests and passions. Once you have this information you can have a look through it and take the ideas that you like and disregard the ideas that don’t resonate with you as much. I always find that finding various ways that I may be able to inspire others also helps to inspire me.

5. Fill the voids
Have you ever got that feeling where you have so much … STUFF … in your life but you feel completely empty? Like nothing you have is anything you want or need? And then it’s hard to know what to do next … we can’t have a garage sale with our life! You need to stop filling your life up with things and start looking for the voids and finding what you can do to satisfy these areas in your life. Soul searching is required and it may be exhausting – if you need help, a good psychologist or life coach is recommended.

6. Write it down
I must drive you all crazy with the amount of things I say to write down. Maybe it’s because I enjoy writing lists (as some of you may have noticed?) – but by writing down the things that inspire you, you have a tangible list to refer back to. Then if you’re feeling lost or stuck for inspiration at a later date, you can refer back to it again.

7. Take photos/screenshots
When you find something that inspires or motivates you, take a screenshot or photo of it. If it makes you laugh, take a video on your phone – post it to your Facebook page – trust me, you will still find yourself laughing when you look back in time to come. If you appreciate something now, you may well appreciate it later. By taking a photo or screenshot of something that inspires us, it makes our feelings towards that thing more vivid – it takes us back to the time when the photo was taken and draws us into the picture, that’s what photography can be so powerful.

8. Talk to people and LISTEN
Talking to people can generally involve listening to their thoughts and feelings about certain things, but if you listen really hard, you can build on that for yourself. Similar to trying to find out what others want, you can draw your inspiration from everyday conversation – the same way you can drop something you’ve been working on and pick it up a week later with a fresh perspective to create it into something better. This is actually a powerful one – it is mainly through talking to people and really listening to what they have to say that I am mostly inspired for my Happiness Weekly blogs! Let’s hope people still talk to me once they read this…!

Other ways to be inspired include: getting back to nature – taking a walk or going camping, calling a friend, reading something, listening to music, smelling something, listening to an expert, reading, exercising, eating something, meditating, free-writing, doing something different or trying something new, reading a biography, interviewing someone you admire, watching something interesting or different on television, search for more ideas on the internet…

Learn something every day

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Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow, Anthony J. D’Angelo

The saying goes ‘you learn something every day’, and if you’re open to it – you actually do! From learning you are able to grow and develop and ultimately it will affect your life and wellbeing in many positive ways. Learning new things opens us to change. It assists us in making informed decisions, encourages curiosity, exposes us to new ideas, and keeps us engaged. Learning can also bring us a sense of accomplishment, boosting self-esteem and confidence as we can demonstrate and speak about what we now know. But the question is: how can you be open to learning every day?

There is no one set thing that everyone can do to learn something every day. The key is being open to learning. When you talk to people, be genuinely interested in the response to your questions. Having respect for the person who is teaching you something new is critical. Listen to the experts or talk to someone you trust in the field, otherwise you will find it more difficult to take on board.

Share your knowledge and skills with friends and family, and encourage them to share with you. Join a club, start a course, ask for opinions and encourage the sharing of ideas – all of these things will help us to grow as much as receiving formal training and qualifications.

How to be open to learn something every day

  • Prepare to learn something every day. Think to yourself “If someone asks me what I learned today, what will I say?” Actively seek to understand things you don’t already know about
  • Use the Internet to research about something you’ve wanted to know. Why the sky is blue, how aeroplanes stay up, the background of your favourite movie or play, how Helen Keller made it to become so famous etc.
  • Read a dictionary or encyclopaedia. It won’t be long before you find yourself reading about something you didn’t already know
  • Talk to people. It could be anyone! An expert, a teacher, a friend – even a complete stranger will have a story and the ability to teach you something new
  • Keep yourself open to learning something new. Pay attention. Listen actively and attentively. Be present in all situations. Keep yourself inspired and encourage child-like curiosity
  • Watch educational television. It’s time to get Foxtel and start watching the History Channel or National Geographic etc. If you’re in Australia, SBS and the ABC also have some highly educational programs. Even talk shows such as Oprah and the Tyra Banks Show have something they can teach you. Even YouTube will have plenty of educational clips for you
  • Start reading newspapers, magazines, blogs, novels, autobiographies, billboards, Wikipedia, facts, figures, statistics… anything you can find!
  • Look to the internet. There’s this fantastic blog by Marc (from Marc and Angel) about Top 40 useful sites to learn new skills – take a look, you never know!
  • Ask questions. There’s no such thing as a silly question – even if it’s how you spell a name like “Smith” – there are many ways to spell names! So ask before you question yourself about asking the question and stop yourself from learning and growing

How to learn something quickly

  • Associate it with something (this is also why history tends to repeat itself in bad relationship)
  • Use a visualisation technique. Get a vivid mental image of what you’re learning, see it in as much detail in your mind as you can
  • Rhyme it with something or make a song about it
  • Make index or flash cards about it
  • Listen to it. Ask a friend to read it to you or read it into a Dictaphone and play it back to yourself when you’re relaxed. Use inflections in your voice as they do on the radio to keep it interesting
  • Research and read about it until you completely understand it. Once you understand how something works, it will be easy to remember it
  • Ensure your teacher is someone you respect. It’s a lot easier to listen to a teacher you have respect for than someone you think doesn’t really know what they’re talking about
  • Write it down – you could even keep a notebook of all the things you learn each day, it will bring you satisfaction when you look back on it to reflect and you’ll never forget your lessons!
  • Nicole Willson, James Quirk and Flickety wrote a very comprehensive WikiHow about “How to Memorize” including various techniques for all learning styles. It is well worth the read!

What have you learned recently and how did you learn it?

10 reasons your friends should know about Happiness Weekly

For pleasure has no relish unless we share it. Virginia Woolf

1. You can contact the author (Sarah) easily and you’ll get a response!
One thing Happiness Weekly has is a highly interactive comments feed. If you comment or ask for advice, you will generally receive a response from me quite quickly. Contacting me, Sarah (founder and chief blogger for Happiness Weekly) is easy:
– Find me on Twitter @HappinessWeekly or www.twitter.com/happinessweekly
– Find my page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/happinessweeklypage
– Email me – info@happinessweekly.org
– Comment on my blog – I’ll receive it straight away and will respond if requested.

2. It’s more interactive than any other blog: request a blog or ask for advice
Have a suggestion for a blog? Got a problem you can’t a positive solution to? Contact me through any of the above means and I will do my best to publish an article on it in the near future. It doesn’t matter how whacky or strange your suggestion is, all ideas are welcome. Maybe you’re in a sticky situation and looking for advice on how you can maintain your wellbeing and respect others in certain situations. Personal content will not be shared and all enquiries can be anonymous but I will respond to you as soon as possible.

3. It’s a great source for events and courses
Find the best self-empowering and self-motivating courses lead by inspirational teachers on the Happiness Weekly website. Most of the courses are Australian-based at the moment but I am updating this to give it a stronger global appeal as a lot of my readers are from the United States and the United Kingdom. This page is my way of thanking readers and making it easier to connect people with proactive positive activities around the world. If you have an idea for a course or would like to add something – posting is free, please email info@happinessweekly.org, with the details and I’ll update the information as soon as possible.

4. Be in the know of all awareness days
Happiness Weekly includes the Internet’s most comprehensive awareness calendar! Most of these dates are celebrated internationally. In 2013 the blogs will become more strategically aligned and meaningful as Happiness Weekly continues to grow. If you know of some more awareness days and dates that aren’t on the calendar – posting is free, please contact info@happinessweekly.org with the details and I’ll update the calendar as soon as possible.

5. Regular blog posts – it’s my promise!
One thing Happiness Weekly promises is that you will receive a highly comprehensive blog on a different topic each week. To receive it in your email inbox, please make sure you subscribe to the blog on the homepage, alternatively like my page on Facebook or follow my Twitter feed for regular updates via social media. Blogs are generally posted at the start of the week, so keep an eye out every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to see the latest from Happiness Weekly!

6. Receive weekly inspiring, thought-provoking and motivational quotes
Happiness Weekly releases a positive quote to think about each week via its social media pages: Facebook and Twitter. It is not necessarily related to the blog or any particular topic, but is generally something that everyone can relate to. That’s one of the best things about Happiness Weekly – not only is everyone welcome and everyone can contribute and have their say openly, but everyone is made to feel welcome as they can relate to everything posted.

7. Learn something new
It’s likely that you will learn something new every week – and why not share this knowledge with your friends, family and colleagues! The topics that Happiness Weekly posts about are extremely thoroughly researched to receive the best tips and guidance on each. The advice is proactive and simple for everyone to try. If you think I’ve missed anything or have something to add, please leave a comment. All blog-related comments are welcome on the Happiness Weekly page!

8. Expand your friendship circle with better communication
By sharing the Happiness Weekly website with your friends, it’s not only likely that your communication will improve but you will improve the communication of your friends around you. This will inevitably provide a shift as everyone is able to express their thoughts and feelings clearly and so your friendship circle will naturally develop and grow and you will naturally encourage new people into your life. Happiness Weekly is also a great conversation starter: it contains topics and information that are worthwhile sharing with your new and old friends.

9. Encourage the continuation of Happiness Weekly
The more popular Happiness Weekly becomes, the more likely it will be to continue.  While the writing-style may come across as easy to follow, a lot of time and planning goes into the blogs published by Happiness Weekly which is produced by a single person. The purpose of Happiness Weekly is not to raise revenue but to simply give back to the world in a way that promotes happiness and wellbeing – because it’s not hard to be happy, but knowing how to communicate effectively and respecting others is important. If you have enjoyed a blog by Happiness Weekly, you can show your appreciation and support by simply clicking “like” in the comments field.

10. Sharing is all about helping others
Now it’s your chance to give back to the universe and pay it forward. Tell your friends about Happiness Weekly by getting them to check out the website: www.happinessweekly.org! Share some blog posts on your Facebook pages, repost quotes on Facebook or retweet through Twitter. Spread the word to your community and encourage them to pass it on. Help Happiness Weekly grow so we can all live in a happier and healthier world that actively promotes self-awareness, encourages fair and assertive communication and enables everyone to make the best choices they can in their situation.

Relationship Advice: How to fight fair

An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.
Mahatma Gandhi

Name calling, threats of breaking up, yelling – we’ve all done it. Relationships are not always smooth sailing and conflicts can be hurtful, even when they are quickly resolved. Learning to fight fair is essential for the future of any healthy, loving relationship.

While experts say conflict is healthy – there is little material available teaching us how to fight fairly when we are upset or hurt, and it’s this information that could save our relationships and avoid any further hurt being caused. So, how can we fight fair without hurting our relationship or the partner we love?

Listen to your partner
If your partner is picking a fight with you – it may be out of character. Perhaps acknowledging that they are not in a good mood and asking what you could do to help, may be enough to prevent the argument from escalating. This is particularly useful if it is clear that your partner has already had a difficult day at work – or if it is you that has had a challenging day, be open about it rather than picking a fight.

Keep the conversation relevant
Bringing up past conflicts or other agendas that have upset you in the past, and trying to talk about them while dealing with the problem at hand, will only lead to confusion in the communication. By the end of the conflict, you both may have put all kinds of bad things together and have forgotten how the dispute started but have no resolution and be both upset and hurt. Stick to the issue at hand, identify the problem and search for a single solution, rather than likening it to other issues you may have had.

Avoid talking about the future
Now is certainly not the time to talk about the future. If you’re arguing, you’ll both be hurting and this is where one or other of you can say something you regret. Cutting off something that may or may not happen in the future because of something that is happening now is not ideal. For example, your partner leaves dirty dishes in the sink – and you’re already fighting about your in-laws – so you add: “That’s it! I’m not moving in with you while you leave your dishes in the sink!” Comments like this are unnecessary, and will only exasperate the situation and intensify your partner’s upset and anger towards you. When and if it came time to moving in with each other – both parties habits will naturally change over time as you adjust to living together. Trust that this will happen and avoid adding anything else unnecessarily.

Don’t make any decisions
Never end a relationship while you’re having a fight. Wait until things calm down, and then you can make your decision. This will save you from having any regrets about your decision and prevent your relationship from appearing on-again and off-again to those around you. Avoid making threats or saying “always” or “never” – you may regret it later.

Ensure both parties are ready before you fight
Don’t fight after one of you has already had a hard day, you’re just adding to the burden and hurting the person. If both parties are ready for a heated debate, then neither party should “win” – which ultimately damages the relationship. Know when the argument is over and let it go. Always give your partner an out to maintain their dignity. If either party are not ready to fight – don’t fight at that time, to be fair, put it on an agenda for another time. Bed time is time out – never go to sleep on an argument.

Don’t say hurtful things intentionally
Avoid the temptation of temporarily feeling empowered in an argument by using your confidential knowledge of your partner’s weaknesses and sensitive to “win” an argument. Remember, when you’re fighting fairly, there is only compromise – there are no winners.

Show that you’re listening: seek feedback and clarification
Without it feeling as though you’re entering couples therapy, open up your communication as much as possible, to find the information your partner is upset about so you can seek to correct it. “Sweety, what I hear you’re saying is that you think I share too many of our personal details with my girlfriends, is that right?” That gives your partner a chance to correct you or not. You can even ask your partner how they would prefer you to communicate and behave in future so they are happy and satisfied. Nobody intentionally wants to see their partner upset.

Be open to change and learning
Don’t waste a good fight by not learning from it. Be open to change and permit growth as you extract insight and information from each argument you have in your relationship. Implement specific and realistic changes immediately – for example, it could be agreed that if your partner appears tense, you are able to encourage them to talk about it, rather than remaining silent as has been done in the past.

Be real
If you are serious about fighting fairly and having positive outcomes from a dispute, deal with the issue at hand, not with a symptom of the problem. Be honest about what’s really bothering you, or you will walk away from the exchange even more frustrated.

Focus on the solution, not the problem
Once you finish your initial vent and release some anger, focus on finding the solution. Attack the problem, not your partner. Search for the win-win compromise. At the end of the day remember you are on the same team – you’re working towards a common goal: you both want to be loved and appreciated, and remain in a happy relationship.

Come back to it
If you start to feel exhausted or warn down from the fight, explain that you don’t think you’re going to reach a decision on it at the moment and you may need to come back to it at a later date. Give each other the ability to withdraw or change their mind.

Things to avoid
– Referring to past mistakes or incidences – it won’t help anything: it will only cause more pain and frustration to both parties
– Blaming your partner – take mutual responsibility where you can
– Comparing to others, situations or stereotypes
– Playing games – now is not the time: be straight about your feelings and direct about what you want or need in a situation
– Involving other people – the fight is between two people only
– Interrupting – maintain your respect for your partner. Also avoid negative non-verbal expressions such as rolling your eyes, smirking, yawning, finger pointing, crossing your arms, appearing bored etc
– Separation talk. Talking this way will quickly erode your partner’s confidence in your commitment to the relationship. Trust is not easily restored once it is broken in this way
– Assuming. Always be open to your partners side, don’t try to read their mind or expect them to read yours. Find out what went wrong and how you can improve for next time
– Using defensive behaviour. Don’t defend or justify or you lock yourself into a position of right and wrong – which is like blaming. It perpetuates rather than resolves conflict
– Stonewalling. NO stonewalling when you are trying to resolve conflict. Shutting down, withdrawing, or refusing to engage is generally perceived to mean that you just don’t care about the issue at hand, or worse yet, the person to whom you are speaking. It comes across as insulting and demeaning. Communicate if you need a break, let the person know you need a break and you will resume the conversation again shortly. And keep your word!

Remember: Just because you have a disagreement, doesn’t mean your partner no longer loves you. If you are on the same team and you truly love each other, you will work it out. If the love is lost, let it go, there’s no point holding onto a hot coal or fixing something on your own. Part of being in a partnership means it will take two to work through things, every time.

Top 10 positive reads … online!

To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries. A C Grayling

Most people log onto the internet every day, and yet we still have our ups and downs. Perhaps all you need is some inspiration or a bit of a laugh to give you more energy on certain days … you just need to know where to look. So I have compiled a list of my top 10 favourite (non-cult-like) websites that inspire me and help me stay happy when life feels like it’s getting harder. The best things in life are free – just like your happiness and these fantastic websites!

1. Happiness Weekly (www.happinessweekly.wordpress.com – nothing like a bit of self-promotion!) Read on to get some great tips for how to maintain gain or maintain happiness in different situations. You happiness is something that can be worked on all the time. When you’re happy, the people surrounding you will also be happy.

2. Action for happiness (www.actionforhappiness.org) – you’re not going to be happy without taking action first! This is a fantastic organisation offering many inspiring and insightful messages to move you towards happiness. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter to keep up-to-date!

3. Oprah Winfrey’s website (www.oprah.com) check out her blog! Whether she writes it or not, it’s a great way to fill in time and it’s impossible to walk away feeling miserable – it’s like an episode of Oprah in writing!

4. In need of a good laugh? When times are tough and you’ve lost all ability to laugh at yourself – laugh at other people (and their thoughts and creations) by checking out these sites:
www.clientsfromhell.net
www.slaymyboredom.com
www.9gag.com
www.textfromdog.tumblr.com
www.happyplace.com

5. Motivational wellbeing (www.motivationalwellbeing.com) – if you’re feeling down you may just be in need of a little motivation and this is the place to get it! Check out some great videos, articles, quotes, tips and tricks here – all about motivation!

6. Happy fun corp (www.happyfuncorp.com) – this one is a little different. There’s not a lot to do on the webpage but listen to music (and it suggests dancing?) and read happy thoughts. The part I like most is that readers can contribute and share their own happy thoughts as well.

7. Dramatic reading from a break up (www.youmakemetouchyourhandsforstupidreasons.ytmnd.com) – Just get your heart stomped on in a tragic break up? Finding it impossible to smile? This dramatic reading is bound to make you laugh!

8. Positively positive (www.positivelypositive.com) – this is a fantastic little positive news site with some great quotes. At its core, Positively Positive is about optimism and inspiration. About seeing the possibility within each person—and within each day gifted us. It’s about wisdom and how we lift one another up to richer, more fulfilling lives. It’s about tapping into our true nature and capacity.

9. Optimist World (www.optimistworld.com) – possibly the best and most up-to-date news site I could find. Optimist World brings you positive news which shows the very best of the human spirit and helps to show that good news can help to counteract the bad by reminding us what an amazing world we live in. This website seeks to bring to light those inspirational stories that are often not picked up by the TV channels or newspapers to provide an antidote with good news and positive tales.

10. Positivity blog (www.positivityblog.com) – very similar to Happiness Weekly, this blog gives advice, tips and strategies that you need to succeed with living more consciously, simplifying your life, being happier, creating new habits, improving your self-discipline, reducing procrastination, learning to be mindful, getting into shape, identifying and understanding your blocks, improving your people skills and relationships and increasing your self-esteem and self-confidence.

How to encourage, motivate and inspire others

Treat a man as he appears to be, and you make him worse. But treat a man as if he already were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be. Von Goethe

In a world where there is so much choice and people are extremely conscious of their decisions and the consequences of them, it is very hard to motivate, influence, encourage or inspire a group of people with a single motivational technique.

What motivates people?
Different things motivate different people. Some say the call to action simply needs to appeal to people’s values – but that’s pretty broad. Some suggest that it’s more 50/50 – all it takes is a simple call-to-action and a willingness to do them. Then there are the step solutions:
Step 1 – Clearly articulate the call to action and why
Step 2 – Involve people in finding the solutions
Step 3 – Explain the rules
Step 4 – Link personal goals to organisational goals
Step 5 – Eliminate the weakest links (aka negative people).

There isn’t really a single one-stop-shop to motivating people – it’s a simple fact that different things will motivate different people. There is never any one thing that can motivate a whole crowd of unfamiliar strangers to do the same call to action. It will always appeal to some and not to others. However, generally if there is a need – there’s a motivation, so if you want to motivate someone to change or to do something then you must first understand his needs and wants, then tie the change to these needs. Ultimately, the more you understand a person or the audience you wish to motivate, the easier it will be to access their triggers and get them to do as you ask.

How to motivate people and encourage them to do what you want to do?
Accessing triggers is easy. Show them a picture to remind them of something, play a song that will take them back to a moment in time… whatever key you use doesn’t matter as long as it opens the doors to the target person’s mind.
Once you have motivated your target audience, you need to:
– Follow up with a call to action – tell people exactly what you want them to do
– Keep your request simple – limit the time or effort that people need to put in to do your call to action and set a date so people have something to work towards
– Set the example and share in the sacrifice. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander
– What’s in it for them? Appeal to people’s positive emotions and highlight the thrill of achievement with little extras that cause excitement, pride and a sense of belonging (being part of a team)
– List multiple reasons WHY you want them to do what you’re asking
– Challenge your target audience. Inspire them by being creative and challenge them to reach slightly beyond their limits

How to encourage people
– Show genuine interest. Ask open-ended questions. Listen actively
– Acknowledge what’s important to them. Affirm and validate what they are saying and believe
– Congratulate them. Worthwhile things take time and effort, acknowledge that you have seen what they have done and say “well done”. These words of encouragement at the right time can make a big difference to someone’s motivation
– Be grateful for the small things. Use your manners, it lets your friends know they’ve done something worthwhile and meaningful
– Reciprocate the favour. Show your appreciation by reciprocating – it’s like a pendulum
– Be spontaneous. This delivers maximum impact. Such acts can reach them at an emotional level and we are hard-wired to respond to emotional things
– Confide in them. It’s a form of flattery!
– Offer to help. If someone sees that you are willing to commit your time and energy in their interests, they will be more committed to seeing it through.

Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be. Ralph Waldo Emerson

How to inspire people to be their best
– Be a courageous role model – take risks and lead by example
– Have a strong vision on how things should be, be forward thinking and share your perspective
– Reject politics – spend your energy on positive things
– Value other people’s input, perspective and encourage collaboration
– Set goals and work to exceed them before starting on the next challenge
– Show empathy – try to understand their world and how it feels and help them move ahead to be their best
– Be inspired by others and share your role models with people, explain what it is that they’re doing that inspires you
– Express your enthusiasm as often as possible. People are drawn to positive people
– Make people feel good about themselves. People will rarely remember what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel
– Share lessons from your successes and failures
– Focus on the positive. Everything that happens in life is neither good nor bad: it just depends on your perspective.

Love equals happiness

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. Mahatma Gandhi

There’s no denying it – love makes us happy!

When someone is in love with something, they are drawn to it and want to be near that person or thing as often as possible. I am frequently asked what draws me to someone that I date. My only response is that it depends how that person makes me feel. Over time, I have learnt that it’s not about what the person does for me – they could have all the money in the world and buy me the most expensive presents, but I still won’t feel that connection. You would have heard the sayings: “Money doesn’t buy you happiness” and “Actions speak louder than words”. In fact, Irwin Federman says it: “People love others not for who they are, but for how they make them feel”.

With this in mind, never try to buy someone’s love. Unfortunately we don’t have control over whether someone loves us, so while it’s ok to put thought into buying someone a nice present, it’s not ok to buy someone something outrageous in the hope of getting love in return. This means, the best way to love someone this Valentine’s Day is not with a gift – it’s to SHOW them!

How to show someone you love them (it doesn’t have to be romantic!)
– Take them on a picnic or go camping together
– Give them a massage
– Dance with them
– Cook for them
– Kiss the palm of their hand
– Ask them how their day was, and listen
– Go star-gazing on a clear night
– Write them a card including how they make you feel
– Watch funny YouTube clips together
– Text to say you’re thinking of them
– Go to a theme park together
– Share your goals and ambitions in life
– Make one of their dreams come true
– Remember the things they tell you (especially any of their favourite things)
– Make a collage of your favourite times together
– Have a photo date – where you take your photo together in as many places as possible
– Go to the movies together.

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