Smile, Laugh, Hug, Expect Good Sensibly & Be Kind – Positive Vibes Series

Here’s the shocking truth: very straightforward behaviors such as a smile, hug, and laughter are the fastest way to boost positive emotions, although, there is this huge BUT:  if you don’t feel the sensation do not force it.

Maurizio Cattelan

Nothing is worse than a hypocritical and soul scratching forced laughter that stems from bitterness, resentment, and sheer Janus-faced intention.  It is healthier to be expressive of your true emotions than masking your low spirits by a pretense that “I am a happy jolly person.” Obviously, at times, treating yourself to a necessary smile, laughter or a hug to inspire and encourage yourself or others to keep going is sensible and productive.

Nobody argues that hugging and laughing calm the nervous system, lowers your blood pressure, your stress hormone and positively increases your social connections. However, you should push yourself to aim high by taking conscious decisions to feel good inside. Sometimes, we are confronted with situations where something or someone has made us uncomfortable or annoyed. A fake smile is not the remedy but as Rene Descartes remarked: “Whenever anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the offense cannot reach it.”

Salvador Dali

Elevating your soul is not an easy task. How can you control your agitation? The way forward is to align your soul with gratitude, understanding and questioning your motive as well as others. No matter the intentions, being thick skin is not to put up with rude and unkind criticism. Of course, mastering such an outlook in life takes courage, as a very good friend of mine advised, either let it go and smile or confront it by keeping your tone light.  Like a feather, the feeling takes you to cloud nine, where you feel at ease, where your boundaries are outlined and expect good sensibly with a smile.

Naturally, not every day you can be forgiving, understanding, or want to hug or laugh, the road to self-growth is difficult but remember it is worth every step of the way. As long as you are present in your own life and manage difficult emotions like frustration, anger, and disappointment appropriately, you are on the right path. Occasionally, you feel enraged or sad, do not stifle it and let go of self-judgment. You should accept that being vulnerable is part of being human and maybe along the way, you have tied your self-esteem on things and other people to the extent that might bring the worse in you. It is healthy to pull back, replenish and learn to smile, laugh and hug so that next time they will spare your anxiety.

There is another rule when you are at odds and lack the capacity to express with civility, the ideal is to refuel by tapping into your empathy reserve and re-align your behavior in ways that reinforces your generous, gracious and thoughtful intentions. And what better ways to swell kindness and your noble motives but with a smile, a hug, laughter, and kindness.

The Power Of Patience – Foundation of Mindfulness #2

What patience is not is tolerance. It is wisdom to recognize that things unfold in their way, and there is always a motive or explanation behind crude incidences or maddening behaviors of people. Patience is to grasp that an act’s expediency, such as getting angry, does not clarify or resolve frustration encountered by unexpected circumstances.

The intensity of what annoys or displeases is how you perceive the intentions. Still, whether deliberate or accidental, it is up to you to fuel haste into a situation out of fear and anxiety or to realize that you will benefit from a strong pull on your impulses.

During your lifespan, confrontation happens, and on many occasions, your rage starts to mount. Although, knowing well that keeping your temper under control is the wisest choice, it is not an easy task. How can you interrupt the impatience and remain calm in the face of irritating people? Well, according to the French philosopher Emile-August Chartier (known as Alain): “Never say that people are evil, you just need to look for the pin”. Consciously assuming that some internal suffering drives others’ irrational behaviors that cause agony, surely will support your efforts to curb the anger. Switching your emotions from agitation to compassion and empathy allows you to control your thoughts and actions.

 

 

Art by Aykutmaykut
Art by Aykutmaykut

We can grow out of the habit of impatience, mindfully. Clearly, you are aware of nature, change of seasons, the harvest, or the metamorphosis of butterflies; the common thread is that the process has different stages and is on a different timetable. In nature, you wait for the full cycle with patience; maybe if you apply the same principle in all your endeavors, the course of action and the psyche during the undertaking will allow you to be in the moment and live a rewarding life.

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Art by Aykutmaykut

Try these strategies to cultivate patience: 

  • Set a rule: lean back, take deep breaths, and count to 15 if the tension is rising.
  • Scan your body and relax the tense muscles.
  • Consciously choose to be calm.
  • Act patient, talk slowly.
  • Actively listen.
  • Practice empathy the same way you offer it to children
  • Remind yourself that unpleasant, frustrating, and dreadful circumstances arise, and it is out of your control. The only thing that you have full control over is your ability to remain patient.

 

7 Mantras for Success

The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning.

Almost invariably, sports’ psychological skills can positively be translated into the business or personal world if adopted with conviction. In many common instances, such as being under pressure, challenged, receiving a reward, or being in a competition, top sports people’s mental skills can be applied as a driving force for professional or personal development.

It appears that the ability to perform exceptionally under pressure is a learned and acquired skill. (Hallett & Hoffman, 2014). A fair amount of learning techniques are available to apply; however, transferring those principles only works if a set of attitudes are cultivated. Top athletes have a rigorous daily routine to overcome physical challenges and to master their sport. Besides working on physical skills, they address their mental approach. In short, to cope with whatever we encounter and optimize our capabilities, here are seven strategies and techniques that will help us transform our performance to reach ideal results:

 

Focus  

Stay focused. Your start does not determine how you’re going to finish.

Herm Edwards

The mental focus in sports is to sharpen on things that will contribute to completing your tasks. Whether it is ripping a dive to bending a soccer ball, all efforts aim to perfect the exercise productively. The same process applies to professional or self-growth. Focusing on thoughts and actions instrumental in reaching your goal fades unproductive worries and builds up confidence.

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Kevin Sloan 

Be in the Zone 

“The zone is a state of mind which is marked by a sense of calmness. In addition, there is a heightened sense of awareness and focus. Actions seem effortless and there is an increased belief that your dreams or goals can become achievable and real. In addition, there is also a sense of deep enjoyment when the person is in this unique, special and magical state of being.” Dr. Jay Granat, Sports Psychologist

Training and preparation are not enough to find flow. Other techniques, such as meditation and conscious visualization, reinforce the efforts. How we apply these mechanisms is up to the individual’s inclinations. Some people tap into the past rewarding experience and re-energize the emotions they felt. End-results motivate others.

A good example is when Steve Jobs asked Larry Kenyon to cut Macintosh’s boot time by famously saying: “If it could save a person’s life, would you find a way to shave ten seconds off the boot time?” The time was cut down to 28 seconds! Consciously slipping into the unconscious to keep the flow allows you to stay in the zone and use your skills to the utmost.

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Joachim Beyrowski

Practice Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence includes skills like self-motivationemotional regulationself-management, empathy, and impulse control. (Goleman, 1995)

How to use our feelings to become more resilient and build up our emotional Intelligence? Here are a few tips:

1- Identify your negative emotions – Once you are aware and have labeled your feelings, refrain from reacting immediately, and withdraw yourself from the situation. Do not make assumptions or decisions. Include empathy in your response.

2- Evaluate your behaviors and thoughts. Objectively – Question your intentions, motives, reactions, communications, whether you are rational or fair. Overall look into yourself from a bird’s eye view. Self-examination brings out humility, which is a requisite to build emotional Intelligence.

3- Communicate clearly – Conveying your thoughts with clarity and in a socially acceptable way is one of the components of Emotional Intelligence. Be an active listener, have an appropriate tone, mind your body language, eye contact, be respectful, and have a confident and friendly attitude, which are essential to reducing good communication errors.

4- Stress management – Introduce strategies to help you cope with stress and burnouts. The best ways to reduce the impact of stress and fatigue are to exercise, splash water on your face, go out in nature, learn and practice relaxation techniques, most importantly, be positive and confident.

5- Practice empathy – every day, try a random act of kindness, look at a situation from another perspective, make no judgment

 

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Christian Schloevery

Have a winning mindset

Champions keep playing until they get it right.

Billie Jean King

A winner’s mentality has perseverance, builds on good habits, and takes action. It learns from criticism, and it does not allow situations and people to define the individual. A winning mindset sees challenges as an opportunity and focuses on things that it can control. It is grateful, looks for solutions, is curious, flexible, and optimistic.

 

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TUGRUL CAVUSOGLU

Find your core skill

Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.

George Halas

Write down your skills and talents and scan through your knowledge-based, technical skills as well as your traits. Identify your core competencies and re-examine them by taking into account their relevancy, competitiveness, and application. Hone your skills and make use of them unapologetically.

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Rob Gonsalves

Self-encouragement 

Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it or work around it.

Michael Jordan

Self-encouragement is to believe that you can overcome challenges and focus on what you have accomplished. Therefore develop a system to boost up your self-confidence to face adversity and obstacles. Through affirmations to rewarding yourself, it puts an effective mechanism in place to build yourself up instead of tearing yourself down.

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Hold on to your moral compass

Be fair. Play hard.

Dan Venezia

In essence, a moral compass is about rational consistency, dignity, truth, commitment, and respect.

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The Golden Compass 

Interest, Empathy & Resilience- Winning Skills for an Effective Communication

Good communication is not to impress but to discover possibilities, to gain advocates, to improve life for others, to resolve issues, to be heard and most importantly to be understood. Whether the communication is through mass media, face-to-face verbal or non-verbal, the challenge is how to breathe friendly, skilled, knowledge-based and mindful basics into your dialogue.
There are many factors that influence the outcome of our communication still our attitude will determine the course of the interaction. The dynamic approach to cultivate sentiments of compassion, curiosity and remain flexible will support our content and intention. With this view in mind, the pitfalls of communicating across cultures, businesses or interpersonal relations can be avoided by tweaking our style of communication based on the following tips:

Be interested

From your non-verbal cues such as eye contact, posture, or position of your arms to keep track of the conversation, the critical element is to be attentive. By asking relevant questions, replacing unnecessary conversation fillers like “um”, “er”,… with pause to think and respond are the effective way to engage your listeners and show your interest. Make sure to avoid personal judgements and allow people to finish their sentences.

Dale Carnegie meeting Spencer Trace - Getty Image
Dale Carnegie meeting Spencer Trace – Getty Image

Have Empathy

Empathy is not about agreement, is the ability to pass through emotions, threats and  complexities with confidence and awareness. Nurturing our mirror neurons by observing and being mindful of people’s emotional experiences, builds trust and effectively improves your dialogue.

Barack Obama’s speech in 2013 to the People of Northern Ireland, embodies hope and empathy to sustain union:

“Ultimately, peace is just not about politics. It’s about attitudes; about a sense of empathy; about breaking down the divisions that we create for ourselves in our own minds and our own hearts that don’t exist in any objective reality, but that we carry with us generation after generation. And I know, because America, we, too, have had to work hard over the decades, slowly, gradually, sometimes painfully, in fits and starts, to keep perfecting our union.”

The first step is to listen empathetically. This means listening with the intention to understand. By doing so, the receiver establishes a positive climate for the speaker to open up. Repeat what has been said with the same words and summarize in you own way to make the speaker aware that you have understood what is the issue or the story. It is a great moment when we stop judging, probing or interpreting someone else’s experiences and motives.

Barack Obama Visit to Ireland - White House Image
Barack Obama Visit to Ireland – White House Image

Be Resilient

A resilient communication process is an approach to evaluate a situation or crisis by breathing normality to the interaction, validating the negative feelings and focusing on positive course of action. Clearly, spearheading constant optimism is ineffective without use of alternative logic. Broadly speaking, resilience in crisis management is when optimism and a narrative to make sense of the situation serve as the roadmap to develop and maintain a good communication. Importantly, resilience develops when the focus is on the communication process rather than examining individuals or entities to refrain from the unnecessary and unwarranted assumptions.

Winston Churchill’s war speeches are great examples of acknowledging the reality and drawing a vivid picture with hope. Here is an excerpt of his speech “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” May 1940 at the House of Commons.

You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs—Victory in spite of all terror—Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival. 

Resilience depends on confidence and optimism. People do not all react the same way or every situation is dire, still a resilient communication helps to keep things in perspective. The capacity to be realistic, maintaining a positive outlook and developing a narrative to cope with the unwanted situation is called resilience. We should all remember that resilience is an obligation not only to self but to community at large.

Winston Churchill - Image from Winston Churchill Org.
Winston Churchill – Image from Winston Churchill Org.

 

Featured Image by:  GERRY ELLIS, MINDEN PICTURES – National Geography

 

How to foster advocates and loyalists?

Generally, people are more inclined to engage with brands that are truly invested in improving social issues. They establish a meaningful connection when the brand’s voice provokes a conversation, signals ethical standards or involves their audience into cause activism. According to 2017 Edelman Earned Brand Study: ” Fifty-seven percent of consumers around the world will buy or boycott a brand solely because of its position on a social or political issue”. This means that a brand can prompt haters or possibly harness advocates by manifesting a point of view, taking a political stand or starting a dialogue.

For that reason, tapping into the subconscious of the belief-driven audience fosters loyalists.  On that account, how to connect in a meaningful way?  By creating:

  • Personal and relatable contents
  • Provoking a conversation
  • Activating sustainable solutions
  • Engaging your audience in shaping the social movement

Remarkably, each and every referenced approach that offers “empathy”, will be rewarded by consumers.

“People don’t always remember what you say or even what you do, but they always remember how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

Be mindful and remember that Homo Sapiens appreciate being understood. For that matter, recognize the hurt, the desire, the need or the joy. Get to know your audience, send the message that “you get them” and initiate a memorable bonding. Your platform as an individual, profit or non-profit entity is not solely about growing your brand but how to make a difference.

Consider the shaping elements of good storytelling as a starting point:

  • What: is the topic, what has happened or will happen: be clear, focused and unveiled the matter. Be attentive, the spotlight should be on the issue not on your brand but your shared values.
  • Who: has been affected
  • Why: are you taking a stand: acknowledge the importance of the topic and the impact. Avoid mixed messages. Ask open-ended questions.
  • How: can you as a brand and belief-driven audience feed the beast, get involved and have an impact. How to convey your message: contextually or visually based?
  • When: the development speed of news, an issue or a talking point is critical in your communication
  • Where: does your audience absorb information?

The underlying emotion of empathy rooted in your brand’s voice and taking a position in life, strengthen your authority.  Individuals with great personal branding such as Tony Robbins interact with their audience with stirring personal stories and the ability to understand their feelings. Brands such as Procter & Gamble, UNICEF tackling social issues or J. Crew blog post “How to get (and dress for) the job you want” are all about making life better for others.

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Procter & Gamble’s thought-provoking ad called “The Talk” acknowledges biases and the challenges that black community experience as parents.

Or “thank you Mom, Winter Olympics 2018” video:

Unicef’s campaign, “It’s on all of us to stand up and speak out to #ENDviolence against children. Recognize it. Report it”, deeply disturbs and propels you to act upon.