“At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.” — Jean Houston
Do you have any idea how good laughter is for you? Increasingly, science is finding that laughter is a natural balm. It can actually induce changes in your body, according to the Mayo Clinic, which says laughter has these physical benefits:
It stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles because of the intake of oxygen-rich air, and increases your brain’s release of endorphins.
It fires up and then relieves your stress response, which results in a good, relaxed feeling.
It soothes tensionby stimulating circulation and aiding muscle relaxation.
But as great as the physical benefits are, laughter also is good for our mental health and social connections. It’s hard to feel sad, angry or anxious when you’re laughing. Have you ever noticed how a good laugh sticks with you, brightening the rest of the day?
How often have friends advised you to “trust your gut?” It’s an inelegant way of describing an important tool each one of us has: intuition. But what is intuition? It’s that built-in ability to understand something without needing to consciously think it through.
Intuition sometimes gets short shrift in this data-driven world. Rational decisions based on the facts are prized, while behavior based on hunches is scorned. But that’s shortsighted. Our intuition, residing in our unconscious minds, can make connections between feelings and experiences to predict outcomes. Heeding both the facts and our intuition can lead us to make the best decisions for our happiness, our families and our futures.
Here are some ways to develop your intuition:
Journaling. Writing in a journal is a good way to get in touch with your thoughts. Even if what you write doesn’t make a lot of sense, it gives you more self-understanding. Keeping a journal can...
We all have gifts, talents and strengths, but do you know what yours are? Until you identify your special “powers,” you may be spinning wheels, letting fear of failure or inadequacy sabotage your plans.
Everyone has times of self-doubt, when the inner critic makes it difficult to see clearly. The first step to overcoming this is to become aware of it. Is your motivation based on fear or is it based on a conscious decision about how you want to live your life?
Here are some other steps toward identifying your super powers:
Name your special abilities. We are born with gifts and talents, and some of them are easy to recognize from an early age. What do you love to do and what do you do well? Strengths are something we develop, often because they are where our passion lies. Knowing your strengths is a big part of self-awareness.
Identify your values. What actions or beliefs matter to you? What would give you a sense of purpose? What are you most passionate about? What...
You may have heard this quote before: “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” It’s attributed to the Greek philosopher Epictetus, but it’s as applicable today as it was in the first century. We humans, apparently, have always had the tendency to speak more than we listen. But listening is such a valuable skill in personal relationships and in the workplace! Here are a few tips for becoming a better listener:
Listen more than you talk. You can’t do both at the same time, so choose the former. When you’re tempted to interject or speak over your conversation partner, consider your motive. Are you interested in communicating or pontificating? Why not wait until the other person is finished and wants to hear what you have to say?
Eye contact. It’s important to meet your partner’s eyes. Not only does it communicate that you are interested, it also keeps you focused on what the person is saying....
You may have heard us say that having an “abundance mindset” is a good thing, but do you wonder what the heck we mean by that phrase?
It’s all about the script we run in our heads, which guides our thinking and our actions. In this model there are two basic mindsets: a scarcity mindset, and an abundance mindset.
If you’re guided by a scarcity mindset, you are prone to discontent and an easy mark for marketers because you can never have enough. A scarcity mindset causes you to feel like opportunities are always slipping away. You feel limited and often jealous. Sometimes, this mindset makes people selfish because they feel like others must lose or fail in order for them to succeed.
An abundance mindset, on the other had, is about realizing the breadth of opportunities for all people to flourish. When you adopt an abundance mindset, your vision expands, limits become elastic, and you become a more generous, expansive person.
Author John C. Maxwell,...
There’s plenty of advice out there about what it takes to be a leader, but one aspect is often given short-shrift: Leadership is as much about the heart as it is about the mind. ”I shouldn’t be making emotional decisions,” you might say. To that, we say “Go right ahead!” You shouldbe making emotional decisions.
You are a human being. You are an emotional creature. To shut off your emotions would be like shutting off the valve to a crucial aspect of your being. The key is not to make decisions in an emotional vacuum, but to be able to moderate your emotional response. A Harvard study found that it is absolutely possible to use your emotions in effective decision-making.
Try it with your next big decision; combine the power of your mind and heart. Use logic and reason to shape your emotional response to a vexing problem, particularly one that deals with other people. After all, it’s hard to be an effective leader when you...
Do you find it hard to take a long drive without buying a Hershey’s bar? Can’t get through an evening without pouring a glass of wine? Does your habit of negative self-talk sabotage new friendships, new exercise routines?
Habits hold an awesome sway over our lives, for good and for bad. We are, as the old saying goes, creatures of habit. But it is not impossible to change. We can get rid of bad habits and create new, healthier ones.
Here are a few tips from the series and from other experts:
In the wake of the terrorist attacks on 9-11, gratitude was one of the most frequently expressed emotions in America. Why was that? Because times of crisis often call out of people their better angels, their higher selves. The Roman philosopher Cicero called gratitude the queen of all virtues. That seems an apt description: Virtue met vice in the wake of those horrific attacks.
But did you know that gratitude can make you happier? There’s been lots of research into the benefits of adopting an “attitude of gratitude” over the past two decades. Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of the book “The How of Happiness” lists eight of them in this blog post. Even her first three are compelling: grateful thinking helps you savor life; it bolsters self-esteem and self worth; and it helps you cope with stress and trauma.
A psychology professor who has been at the forefront of gratitude research, Robert Emmons, says the evidence is mounting of the psychological,...
Think back to a time you felt truly excited, happy, exhilarated and proud of yourself. What actions left you feeling fulfilled like this?
Chances are, it was the result of accomplishing something new, trying something different, or pushing yourself outside of the boundaries you normally set for yourself. Big moments we remember fondly often started as something we were nervous about or even downright scared to do. But we did them — and afterwards we felt great about it.
If you’ve been in the same position or industry for some time, you likely have developed and honed a certain set of skills. That’s why at any stage of your career it’s a great idea to learn to branch out. Take a class on a subject that’s not your area of expertise. Learn a new skill. Volunteer to lead an effort at your company that will require you to think in new ways. Lead in new way.
Comfort zones are an important part of life. They keep us from engaging in reckless and...
Your leadership sets a high bar for those on your team. Your drive to excel and your strong work ethic are an inspiration. That’s why you need to make sure you unplug and take a real vacation.
That’s right. You must encourage those you lead to take their vacation time by first taking a real vacation yourself. This will demonstrate that vacations are good for managers, good for employees and good for organizations.
Research shows that 57 percent of Americans don’t take all their vacation time each year. Another troubling statistic: An estimated 60 percent of people do some amount of work while on vacation. And at some organizations, it’s a badge of honor to take as little time off as possible.
Yet the benefits of taking a break and stepping away from work are indisputable and two-fold: You return feeling renewed, with the energy and hunger to dive into new projects. Your team members drive your success, so you must encourage them to take...
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