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Happiness Techniques From Around The World That Can Change Your Life

When we look back across our lives, it is often the most prominent of events and landmarks that we remember: a kiss, a birthday party, a new job, or a sporting achievement. Yet it is the way we live our day-to-day lives that truly defines who we are and how we feel. Happiness breeds happiness, and it is important to start with the fundamentals.

All around the world, ordinary people and famous achievers alike have developed ways to buoy their daily experience for thousands of years. Whether due to the local climate, religious and cultural tendencies, or just a chance habit that caught the imagination of others in that region, every place has its own techniques to share on how to make regular life just that little bit nicer.

So let’s take a look at things folk from around the world do to give their day that tweak it needs, and how you can adapt these ideas to your daily life.

Japan

The Japanese have a relatively new ‘tradition’ to reconnect with their souls. It’s called ‘shinrin-yoku’, or forest-bathing, and was developed in the 1980s in an atmosphere of suffocating cityscapes and omnipresent technology.

shinrin yoku

To practice shinrinu-yoku:

  • Go for a walk in the forest, or a wooded area of your local park
  • Take time to think about every sound you hear while you walk
  • Appreciate the smells and the texture of the trees
  • Reconsider your existence in the context of our ancient natural world.

Hawaii

The Hawaiians have a particular method for dealing with problems in everyday relationships: ‘Ho‘oponopono’. Whether it’s your partner, a friend, or a colleague at work whom you feel has done you wrong, Ho‘oponopono is a means of figuring out things by yourself rather than responding rashly and making things worse.

Allowing resentment to build will ultimately hurt you more than the person to whom it is aimed. Instead:

  • Take a deep breath
  • Find ten minutes to think things through
  • Be grateful for what you have
  • Forget your own needs for a moment and consider the other person’s point of view
  • Express your own feelings calmly
  • Work towards mutual forgiveness.

Norway

‘Friluftsliv’, or ‘free air life’, is the Norwegian practice of spending time in the outdoors. Aside from the benefits of fresh air, subjecting yourself to decent amounts of natural daylight can help you to regulate your sleep and stay in touch with the natural rhythms of the world around you.

free air life norway

If you spend most of your time indoors:

  • Establish a morning and/or evening ‘outdoors ritual’, such as walking the dog
  • Use every coffee break at work as an opportunity to get some fresh air
  • If it’s warm enough, eat lunch outdoors; otherwise, take a stroll through the park before you eat indoors
  • Look beyond the borders of your town. It’s usually easy to find a national park or natural area to visit on the weekends.

Germany

If the Norwegians are all about heading into nature by themselves to ‘re-connect’, Germans are more about reconnecting with each other. ‘Gemütlichkeit’ is that particularly German manner of celebrating togetherness with a frothy beer, a song and a dance.

To get some of this goodness in your own social life:

  • Be careful not to take the people you live and work with for granted
  • Never miss a chance to raise a toast
  • Take time to greet people properly and say meaningful goodbyes, even if you see them every day.

Spain

The famous Spanish siesta is an endangered animal. Sadly, even as experts more frequently recommend an afternoon nap to boost workplace productivity, many business managers are concerned that lost time and energy is bad for profit margins.

spanish siesta

To take a healthy, effective siesta:

  • Nap for no more than thirty minutes
  • Sleep in an armchair or sofa rather than a bed
  • Make sure you do it regularly and not just as an occasional treat.

See Also: Get Strong, Sleep, Repeat: The Importance Of Sleeping

France

We are a generation of multi-taskers – but often, allowing our work and personal lives to overlap means doing a bad job at both and truly enjoying neither. A little daily ritual to demarcate the various areas of your life can help you more accomplished and relaxed. The French do this by taking a small drink between work and the evening meal: the apéritif.

apéritif france

To leave work behind for the day:

  • Change into a new set of clean clothes as soon as you get home
  • Switch off work notifications on your phone
  • Pour yourself a drink of something special – it doesn’t have to be boozy!

Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil

In 1909, the French Society of Hygiene told us: “Yerba mate raises morale, sustains the muscular system, augments strength and allows one to endure privations.” What they did not mention is that drinking this special tea in the company of friends is also good for the soul.

To tap into the South American ritual of mate-tea drinking:

  • Always offer a drink to everyone in the room when you’re brewing up
  • Try to establish a ‘tea tray’ culture for meetings at work
  • Try the real thing – yerba mate can be found in lots of health shops and some regular grocery stores.

Turkey

‘Keyif’ is all about idle moments of relaxation and contemplation. Remind yourself to take a couple of these each day – the manner of doing so is different from individual to individual.

To identify your moment of mindfulness:

  • Slow down – take the long route from A to B, and never be in more than a hurry than you need
  • Pay attention to what makes you happy, be it the sound of the breeze in a tree you walk past each day, or a particular seat in a café that makes you feel calm
  • Try watching a few ASMR videos for some ideas on how the mundane can become almost transcendental.

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Bosnian people like to break up their morning with a slow coffee, brewed in a special pot and served with sugar or candy. It’s thick and tasty like Turkish coffee, but just as important is the symbolic side: taking time to discuss the day’s events or a business proposition.

bosnian coffee

  • Enjoy tea or coffee as an experience in itself, not something to fuel you while you work
  • Use your coffee break to talk to other people, rather than staring at your phone
  • Look into buying a Bosnian coffee set online – it will change your life!

See Also: How to Supercharge Your Afternoon With a Napuccino (aka a Coffee Nap)

Nigeria

‘Ubuntu’ is the philosophy of putting the community ahead of the individual. Individuals become stronger in a healthy, happy community.

  • Try asking questions or listening rather than interrupting when you think somebody is wrong
  • Consider the benefits for your group as well as yourself when making decisions
  • Look at each group task as an opportunity to learn or to teach.

Try just a handful of these happiness techniques from around the world, and you are sure to see your quality of life improve!

 

The post Happiness Techniques From Around The World That Can Change Your Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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About Darren Webb

Hello & Welcome to my blog. My name is Darren Webb and i'm on a magical successful journey and also helping others have a more stress free relaxed life. I truly hope that you find a lot of useful information on my blog and that it helps you through your life. Please feel free to contact me at any time.

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How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others and Make an Impact

You're reading How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others and Make an Impact, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

In 1726, at the ripe age of 20, Benjamin Franklin created a habit-tracking system to help him live a more successful life. On each day of the week, he would give himself a crossmark for the virtues he failed to practice.

“I might mark, by a little black spot, every fault I found upon examination to have been committed respecting that virtue upon that day.” — Benjamin Franklin.

Benjamin’s 13 Virtues: Temperance. Silence. Order. Resolution. Frugality. Industry. Sincerity. Justice. Moderation. Cleanliness. Tranquility. Chastity. Humility.

Build Your Internal Compass

This checkmark system alone wasn’t enough for Benjamin.

Each morning, he would ask himself “What good shall I do this day?” before he wrote a short journal as he jotted down his ideas. Each evening, he would reflect on his day with this single question: “What good have I done today?”

“The quality of your life comes down to the quality of the questions you ask yourself on a daily basis.” — Tony Robbins.

His check-mark system, alongside his morning and evening questions - served to steer his life in a far more focused direction. It made him continually think about ideas he could implement each day to practice goodness, both for his benefit and the benefit of those around him.

His three daily habits, gave him an internal compass from which to measure his life’s success. His systems not only affected his daily actions but they also positively influenced his thought patterns each day.

“The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to be harmoniously related to his inner state…Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.” ― James AllenAs a Man Thinketh

All the plaudits he received in his lifetime were secondary.

In the end, his success wasn’t determined by others.

It was determined by his own standards.

His Circumstances Didn’t Determine His Success

Benjamin Franklin only had two years of education during his youth. He was the 15th child of seventeen children from a poor family background. He ran away from his family at the age of 17 after being violently beaten for writing under a pseudo-name in his brother’s newspaper.

Yet he found a way to move away from any sort of mental victim mentality.

Life’s storms, in his case, created more resilient roots.

Benjamin Franklin didn’t measure his success or failure through extrinsic rewards or his past experiences— he forged a deep internal locus of control which he then extrapolated into his three daily habits.

Are you operating based on external standards, or internal standards dictated by yourself?

In my life, just like everyone else, I’ve had my fair share of storms. From growing up with a violent stepfather, to being homeless, and being forced to move country at the age of eight.

But pain is never an excuse for mediocrity.

It wasn’t an excuse for Benjamin, and it shouldn’t be for you.

“People with an internal locus of control believe that they are responsible for (or at least can influence) their own fates and life outcomes. They may or may not feel they are leaders, but they feel that they are essentially in charge of their lives.” — Daniel J Letivin.

Did Benjamin Franklin’s Daily Habit System Help Him Live a Meaningful Life?

In his autobiography, Franklin wrote that through his daily habits, he never “arrived at the perfection he had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell far short of it.”

Yet, he admits his attempts made him a happier and far more productive man than he would otherwise have been. While he may have not reached a state of perfection, he did indeed live a life of true excellence.

The truth is, our lives will never be “perfect”. But the more relentlessly we move towards that “perfection” in our habits and character, the more our lives will reflect everything we’re yearning for.

“Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves.” — James Allen

Just Some of Benjamin Franklin’s Accomplishments Include:

  1. Inventing bifocal lenses that allow people with presbyopia to see in the distance through the upper half of the lens, and read through the lower half.
  2. Creating lightning rods which protects millions of buildings from the hazardous effects of lightning strikes.
  3. Founding the University of Pennsylvania and the American Philosophical Society, which have both positively influenced thousands of students lives and shaped America’s cultural landscape.
  4. Publishing Richard’s Almanac, which contained the calendar, poems, sayings and astronomical and astrological information which pioneered the way information was presented in many books thereafter.

None of those accomplishments would have been possible had he not focused on living each day that was offered to him, with the utmost focus.

And one of his secret weapons was his daily habits.

“The Secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.” — Mike Murdock

Look Inside Yourself for Your Sense of Self-Worth

The moment we begin to look outside ourselves for our measures of success, the more we run the likelihood of feeling like failures. And it’s also the moment we limit our potential success.

We’re all living within the confines of our own orchestrated reality. The moment you think someone is better or inferior then you, you limit your thinking — according to research in Nany Kline’s book Time to Think. And when you judge someone’s accomplishments in relation to yours, you perpetuate an illusion that masks your real self-worth.

Unless you’ve built your own internal measures of success, then you will always run the risk of comparing yourself to others. And that’s dangerous — you can end up risking your sense of self-esteem and unique individuality for some external standard “you’re supposed to meet”.

  • You’re not supposed to meet anyone’s standard.
  • You’re only supposed to be inspired by other people’s example.
  • It’s up to you to create your own standards.

“Comparing yourself to others is an act of violence against your authentic self.” ~ Iyanla Vanzant

Build a System of Accountability for Your Daily Habits

Between 1707 and 1770, Benjamin Franklin lived a life of purpose, character, and excellence. While you can take great lessons from his daily habits, the reality is that your systems need to take into account your uniqueness and the times we live in.

A digital approach to tracking your habits, on a phone app or on your computer can be just as effective. You can build upon Benjamin’s ideas and refine them to suit.

If you want to cultivate the practice of tracking your daily habits, then you don’t have to necessarily track thirteen qualities and ask yourself a question every morning and night.

Experiment, and discover what works for you.

In the end, the most effective system, is the one that you can stick to.

My Daily Habits System

Differently to Benjamin Franklin, I track the actions that lend themselves to the state and emotion I want to experience each day.

In Eric Barker’s book ‘Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong” the author cites that the more we can “gamify” our lives, the likelier we’ll stick to our disciplines.

At the end of each week, I have a call with a friend (who also tracks her habits) to share how it all went — just to make this practice of discipline a little more playful.

Potential Areas to Track in Your Life

  • Your Finances
  • Your Health (How many workouts are you doing per week and month)
  • Your Knowledge (Which books are you reading, which conferences are you going to?)
  • Your Highlights of the Month (Gratitude)

By measuring your progress in the important areas of your life, you will always be proactively comparing yourself to who you were yesterday, and to no one else.

Life isn’t designed to give us what we need, it’s designed to give us what we earn. And we can more easily earn what we want, when we stop comparing ourselves to others, as we focus on maximizing our daily habits to their full potential.

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If you want to live a life that’s 10x as meaningful in this digital age get my FREE 18-paged book on creating your best week.

Click here to get the book!

You've read How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others and Make an Impact, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Staying Focused At Work: How To Be Productive In A Challenging Environment

A lot of organizations deal with challenges like maintaining productivity and quality of work. Employees constantly complain about the increasing chaos that hampers their productivity and this directly affects the business. Because of that, managers are quite pressed to find a solution that can motivate their team members while boosting their productivity. In this article, […]

The post Staying Focused At Work: How To Be Productive In A Challenging Environment appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Embracing the Unacceptable

You're reading Embracing the Unacceptable, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

We all go through something in life we never wanted, desired, or thought even possible. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, well, consider yourself lucky and forewarned; something will happen one day, and you might want to have read these tips. Whether it’s coping with not having internet or cell phone reception for a week, (something unthinkable to so many this day and age), embracing a new life direction due to drastic job change, family dynamic, or even something like me, with a life threatening mystery illness, there is one common denominator: you have to get through it. And you can and will get through it; the how you get through it, is entirely up to you.

Here are my 5 lessons from going through my own intense health battles for the past decade and a half, resulting from a mystery illness and a sense of humor that simply refuses to give up in the midst of it all.

5 Steps For Embracing Something You Never Wanted

• 1. Side step the fact that you never wanted it. Don’t try to accept it or cope with it; just step around it. Often what makes something so unacceptable is the shocking contrast to the current, acceptable circumstances we are in. The acceptable life compared to the unacceptable life can seem too big a leap to grasp, reconcile, cope with. So, don’t try at first. Allow yourself to be in shock by simply going around the news. This way you have a little time to let the new reality sink into your mentality before actually dealing with it.

• 2. Find something outrageously positive about it—even if the reasoning might be slightly skewed. It’s a scientific law of nature that there is an equal and opposite element to every being. So, after the unacceptable has been able to seep into your consciousness, try to find some light to shed on it so it becomes as positive as can be. Perhaps you could compare it to something that would be way worse.

For example: my illness has left my body with terrible veins, a real difficulty as blood work is a necessity for my survival. One time, when I was having a particularly sick bout, I had a doctor take 3 hours of continuously poking me trying to find a vein that could hold an IV line to give me antibiotics necessary to save my life. In a particularly long “fishing” expedition of his needle deep in my arm, my positive thinking of was how much I would rather be in this scenario than at a banquet of a picnic that was covered in ants. That would really suck.

• 3. Become a salesman— pitch the positive perspective to your friends, family, and self. Time is passing, the acid taste in your mouth piles up every time you think of the unacceptable you are trying to avoid. Yet, it has slowly been turning into a part of your consciousness, and your outrageous comparable are slowing making the unacceptable seem an actual existence. You are bravely trying to put your chin up and somehow go forward. Not yet coping with it or even embracing it, more co-existing with it.

Now you need to sell it to everyone. Those who are closest to you will see the act of your sharing all the positives for what it is—an act (or at least we like to believe they do). If you can convince everyone, slowly, you might even start convincing yourself that this will somehow be survivable, maybe even okay. Perhaps you can even find pleasure in the act of trying to convince yourself of the positive. Sometimes the more ludicrous, the more amusing it can be—try it!

• 4. The Time of Acceptance Has Arrived. No, you never wanted it; yes, the positive reasons are outrageous. Life the beautiful way you imagined, knew, is no longer an option—maybe only for a time, maybe forever; who really knows? But you’re here; you can choose to be miserable, or choose to embrace this change and experience it to the fullest. *Remember, choosing to embrace the journey to the fullest doesn’t mean that you need to be positive, doesn’t mean that it will be all sunshine and daisies; it simply means that you will be fully alive, fully aware, and fully present. It’s your choice.

• 5.  It’s Your Choice; Your Power; Your Decision. You always have a choice. Even if you hate the circumstances, didn’t choose them, didn’t deserve it, whatever; it’s your choice in how you get through it. With bitterness, delight, tears, or laughter, or a combination in between—it’s your choice. You are not a victim, your life is not a result whim of Life’s folly; you do have a say in how you act, how you express, how you live this moment. There in lies the power within you.


Cecilia Baldwin, Living As A Mystery Girl. After becoming a quadriplegic due to an unknown illness at just 15, Cecilia has spent the next 15 years fighting to recover what best her body could, search for answers, endure through misdiagnoses, cancer, and maintain her quirky sense of humor. With an amazing support system, super-hero Mom who is also her primary care giver, and faithful service dog at her side, she strives to not only survive but to thrive. You can follow her on her blog at : www.livingasamystery.com or on Twitter at @livingamystery

You've read Embracing the Unacceptable, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

How To Prepare A Wall For Tiling

Tiling is a job I’ve always really enjoyed. It’s satisfying seeing the wall gradually disappear beneath the flow of tiles. Once you get into a groove, this activity almost becomes therapeutic. However, before you can get into the groove, you’ve got to make sure that your surface is prepped and ready. Otherwise, you might find […]

The post How To Prepare A Wall For Tiling appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Infographic: Rising Levels of Anxiety in a Digital World

I was recently discussing anxiety with a family member who is a close, personal friend of the disorder. While she doesn’t experience the symptoms on a daily basis, the disorder is ever-present. Sort of like those of us with asthma – we may not have trouble breathing daily, but we are never free of the...

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