Happiness–it’s what we all strive to find and keep, even when it’s as elusive as ever. Nobody is jolly and elated all the time, but some individuals are definitely more fulfilled than others. Studies reveal that happiness has little to do with materialistic needs, goods, or wants, or high achievement; it boils down to your outlook on life, the quality of your relationships, and basic amenities like good governance and community resources.Check Step 1 and beyond for more tips and tricks on how to unlock the happier you.
1. Be optimistic
In the 1970s, researchers followed people who’d won the lottery and found that a year afterward, they were no happier than people who didn’t. This hedonic adaptation suggests that we each have a baseline level of happiness. No matter what happens, good or bad, the effect on our happiness is temporary, and we tend to revert to our baseline level. Some people have a higher baseline happiness level than others, and that is due in part to genetics, but it’s also largely influenced by how you think.
- Add up all the little joyful things that happen to you during the day. For example, there was no traffic on the road, you had a very decent and scrumptious breakfast, your friend said something uproariously humorous that made you laugh, you took your dog out for a walk in the park and played with it. All of these matters added together
- Feel deeply grateful for the things you have. This is a very effective way to be happy. If you feel grateful for the things you have, you not only become more happy but it also helps you to bring more into your life.
- View the glass as half-full instead of half-empty. Your girlfriend/ boyfriend broke up with you? Now you have the chance to meet someone else! You lost your job? Now you can seize the opportunity to find a better one! Adjust your mentality so that, in everything that happens to you, there’s some kernel of good.
- Put yourself in situations where fabulous, fortunate things are likely to happen to you. It’s easier to remain optimistic if you set yourself up for success. Cheating on a partner, or stealing someone’s bicycle — while temporarily thrilling — rarely end well for any party involved. Ask yourself before you act: Am I setting myself up for success or for failure?
- Think of your current situation (however hard it may be) and then think of how much harder some other people have it. Just be happy that you are not in that worse situation. Learn to enjoy your life!
by Nick Notas
Good friends are family.
They aren’t just buddies we have a fun time with but people we treat like our own blood. They can be profound connections that are forged for a lifetime.
I remember sitting in the car with my girlfriend and a close friend when he opened up to us. “Listen, you know how much I care about my mom and brother. They have the best intentions but sometimes they don’t truly understand me. But you both do. And I want you to know that you’re my family, too.”
It was one of the most honest and meaningful statements someone had ever said to me.
The other day I was excited to see a “How to Be a Good Friend” article appear in my feed. Reading through it was severely disappointing for a topic so important. When I searched for similar articles on Google, I was amazed to see how many contained idealistic advice that lacked any substance.
Here’s my list of ground rules that I follow to be a good friend.
- Don’t be a fair-weather friend. You have to maintain your own life and set boundaries for your time. However, being there only when it’s beneficial or convenient for you is selfish. Friendship should be a mutually valuable connection.
This especially applies when starting a new relationship. Don’t forget about your friends or let your partner dictate who you’re allowed to see. Even though you have less free time, keep in touch and make plans when you can. How can you expect the friends you ignore to welcome you with open arms if the relationship ends?
I can’t think of a more important topic to write about than this. If you want to thrive in this world and do great things; If you want to have an impact on people’s lives; If you want be happy and live stress-free: You have to stop caring what other people think of you. It’s absolutely necessary to freely express yourself. It’s the only way to be an originator, a leader, and a creator.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to stop caring about people’s opinions. It’s in our nature to want to fit in and be accepted by our peers. There is a certain comfort that comes along with feeling accepted. However, if this desire to be accepted becomes the driving force in your life, you will become a watered down version of yourself, frightened to do anything that might attract criticism.
And that’s not what you want, is it? But, we’ve all been afraid to express ourselves at some point in our lives. If you haven’t been afraid to show the world something you’ve created, you’re probably not taking enough chances. The act of creating requires you to stand out from the pack and be an individual…voluntarily. This takes guts, the kind of guts that all Mancredible readers should strive to have.
2 things to remember next time you start to worry about someone’s opinion…
1. Nobody cares about you as much as you – People are extremely self-centered. And it makes sense: we’re trapped in our bodies and being ‘you’ is all that ‘you’ know. Everyone is living in their own first person shooter, and so we spend all of our time thinking about ourselves. In fact, most criticism people give is merely a reflection of how they feel about themselves.
Have you always wondered about the subtle things you can do to totally improve the outcome of a situation? It is something that I have constantly been thinking about. After spending some time searching up on the subject I came across some incredible bits of advice from a Reddit discussion. From this, I’ve pulled out and organized users’ top advice on how to improve your outcomes.
- When you first meet people try to notice their eye color while also smiling at them. It might be because you look for a second or two longer, but all I can tell you is that people really respond to it.
- Pay attention to people’s feet. If you approach two people in the middle of a conversation, and they only turn their torsos and not their feet, they don’t want you to join in the conversation. Similarly if you are in a conversation with a coworker who you think is paying attention to you and their torso is turned towards you but their feet are facing in another direction, they want the conversation to end. You should check out Carol Kinsey Goman’s research on these types of things in the workplace.
- Foot-in-the-door phenomenon. People are more likely to agree to do a task for you if you ask them to do something simpler first. (Gradual Commitment… makes people them think you like them)
- Alternatively you ask them to do an unreasonable task, and they’ll say no, so then you ask for what you wanted, a much more reasonable task, and they’re more likely to agree that way.
- If you ask someone to do you a small favor, cognitive dissonance will make them believe that because they did that favor, they therefore must like you. (Ben Franklin)
- If you ask someone a question and they only partially answer just wait. If you stay silent and keep eye contact they will usually continue talking.
- Chew gum when you’re approaching a situation that would make you nervous like public speaking or bungee jumping. I can’t remember where I heard it but apparently if we are ‘eating’ something in our brains trip and it reasons ‘I would not be eating if I were danger. So I’m not in danger’. Has helped calm me a few times.
- Avoid the sidewalk shuffle by looking intently over the person’s shoulder, or between people’s heads in a group. Your gaze shows them where you’re going. They’ll drift toward the opposing side / create a gap to avoid you.
- When you’re studying/learning something new, teach a friend how/about it. Let them ask questions. If you’re able to teach something well, you understand it.
- People will remember not what you said but how you made them feel.
- For interviews I recommend altering your psychological state beforehand. Tell yourself “I’ve known these people all my life. We’re old friends catching up. I can’t wait to see them”. Visualize the experience, shaking hands, making eye contact, having conversation. What things can you not to wait to tell them? Hold an open pose…stand with your legs apart, hands on your hips, and shoulders back while doing this and SMILE. This may sound cliche but you are in charge of your own psychological state and the power of suggestion is strong.
- If you get yourself to be really happy and excited to see other people, they will react the same to you. It doesn’t always happen the first time, but it will definitely happen next time.
- My personal favorite is when people are angry at me; if I stay calm it’ll get them even angrier, and be ashamed about it after.
- If you have a warm hand when you shake somebody’s hand, you immediately become a more desirable person to get along with.
- People have a certain image of themselves and will fight tooth and nail to cling to it. Use this information wisely. You can make people dislike you by attacking their self-image.
- False attribution of arousal. When you take somebody out on a first date, take them somewhere exciting that will get their heart beating. e.g. roller coaster or horror film. This gets their adrenaline up. It makes them think they enjoy spending time with you rather than the activity.
- The key to confidence is walking into a room, and assuming everyone already likes you.
- The physical effects of stress (increased breathing rate, heart rate ect.) mirror identically the physical effects of courage. So when you’re feeling stress from any situation immediately reframe it: your body is getting ready to do courage, it’s Not feeling stress.. A great example of cognitive reframing, researchers found that you do better when you appraise a stressful situation as a challenge, not a threat
- Refer to people you’ve just met by their name. People loving being referred to by their name, and it will establish a sense of trust and friendship right away…
- If you make the biggest smile you can, you will automatically feel happier
- The moment your alarm wakes you up, immediately react by sitting up, pump your fists and shout “YEAH!”
- Always give your kid a choice that makes them think they are in control. For instance when I want him to put his shoes on I will say ,”do you want to put your star wars shoes on or your shark shoes on?”
- People are extraordinarily aware of their sense of touch. If someone (a member of the opposite sex?) ‘Accidentally’ rests their knee on yours, let’s say, they know it’s there.
Ask three questions before engaging in any conversation:
1) Do you both agree on the purpose of what you’re arguing about?
For example, if engaging in an argument about government policy, do you both agree on what the purpose of government is? If you don’t agree on the purpose, you’ll never sway each other as you’re arguing two different things.
2) Can I change this person’s opinion?
Is the person the type of person who makes decisions based on logic and reason, or are they ruled by emotion? If they’re ruled by emotion, no logic or reason, no matter how sound, will sway them. Try literally asking them “what could I provide that would sway your opinion?”
3) Will I benefit if this person’s opinion is changed?
Let’s say you succeed and change the opinion of a random dude on the internet… and? What did you gain?
4) Am I prepared to listen and have my opinion changed?
If any of these 4 questions can be answered with a “no”, do not engage in the discussion.
You will find this process will cause you to avoid most arguments.
These rules basically tell you how to choose a suit, wear a suit and best of all – look fan-fucking-tastic in a suit (Try and restrain yourself ladies).
1. The width of the tie should match the width of the lapel
It’s all about BALANCE.
If you’re a decent human being, then you have definitely seen a few showings of Goodfellas and you definitely were captivated by the prison scene where they cook up dinner and you definitely know that Vinny used one too many onions in the sauce. The scene always made you hungry and although Mom’s sauce was good, it really couldn’t hold up to the sensibility of wise guys. For anyone wanting to get close to tasting the feast in Goodfellas, I found a legit recipe. Make this tonight and Fuggedaboutit!
All the ingredient: onions, tomato puree, vine tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, white wine, chianti, beef stock, ground beef, pork and veal, salt, pepper, basil, pecorino romano, ciabatta, pasta and steak.
For me, it was movies or the internet. Hours gone. Some people say it’s not wasted if you’re enjoying yourself. But I wasn’t. It was more of a passive, unproductive, numb way to spend my time when I should’ve been doing something else.
Here’s what I learned. Self awareness is the key. What I mean by that is when I would say I was going to quit, I would later find myself back on the computer or on the couch watching tv. It took a long time for me to even realize what I was doing. It was like a habitual auto-pilot for me. You have to wake up. Be aware of what you’re doing and where you are. If you need to, make a schedule. And adhere to it very strictly. Set alarms if you want. But you just have to wake up and be present and plan your time. Know what you’re going to do, and do it. If you don’t know what to do, you’ll fall back into your natural pattern and just say "I’ll start tomorrow."
Once you’ve got that down, you have to make sure you don’t transfer the obsession/addiction to something else that’s just as bad. The goal is to make positive, long lasting changes. But you also should just take baby steps. That will help the reinforcement. For example, when I first woke up, I would want to immediately turn on the tv or get on the computer or worse: both simultaneously. At first, I did something small. When I first woke up, I would just sit. No television, no computer, no phone, nothing. Just quiet. Allow my brain to wake up, process, slow down, and make plans. The reason I did that is because, like you, I wanted to transfer my leisure time to reading but I was too annoyed/used to a quick fix to immediately start reading all day every day every chance I could. I had to transition slowly away from relying so heavily on screens for entertainment.
Don’t think you’re a failure if you relapse. Don’t say "Well, I messed up a little while today so I might as well go back to my old habits for the rest of the day/week/month." No. Small corrections. Positive encouragement.
When you do start reading, make sure you are reading things that truly interest you. Don’t read something because someone else said it was great and you just HAVE to read it. If you don’t like what you’re reading, you will stop. Then you’ll feel guilty. Then you’ll go back to your old habits and feel even worse. So if you don’t like what you’re reading, move on. Find something else. It’s okay not to like everything you read.
We are our own worst enemies and problems. But we’re also our solutions. So just be honest with yourself, know and recognize your limitations and weaknesses, and move forward with your head held high.
The most helpful tool anyone can suggest for you is a stop watch with a countdown timer.
But tools are useless if you fail to recognize that meditation is work. It’s not a short break from reality to relax, escape from the world and take a personal vacation. It’s the mental equivalent of the type of strength training that requires developing power by maintaining immobile exertion for an extended period, rather than the standard up/down lifting of weights.
And even if you fully understand that, your success or failure is upon you and how willing you are to treat it like a form of exercise- it requires habit, routine, dedication and perseverance.
That being said, in the most generic routine description I can muster, I would suggest:
Commit to a daily habit. No excuses. It also means a dedicated schedule that has you meditating at the same time, each day.
Start with a place that affords you solitude and relative silence. Stick with it unless it suddenly becomes unusable. Habit helps you avoid distractions.
Sit, comfortably, hands in your lap and eyelids relaxed to near closing, AFTER you have primed your stopwatch. Don’t force anything- find your comfortable zone of sitting.
Your stopwatch should be set to countdown 1 minute. That’s all, just 60 seconds.
Once you start the countdown, set the stopwatch aside, relax your closing eyelids. Begin meditating. No matter what happens- phone ringing, knock on the door, car horn outside- you are committed to that minute and do not deviate for any reasons outside immediate physical danger (say, kitchen fire).
The actual psychological routine of meditation isn’t to ‘clear the mind’, but rather, to empty it. “Clearing the mind’ is counterproductive- it requires you focus and attach on the thoughts and ideas that will naturally spring forth in the mind as you sit in silence, and it will never truly be clear or empty because your focus on fighting your thoughts is clutter as much as the thought you are trying to push away.
Line muffin pan with olive oil and then dough.
Add a ton of stuff like italian sausage, jalapeños, and mushrooms.