Human happiness has hit a roadblock. The World Happiness Report shows Negative Emotions are rising around the world. Many people drag themselves around in a state of blah discontent. We only have one life, and this is no way to live it!
Most people operate in vague discontent. Everyone wants to be happy, but most people don't know how to do it, and if you attack it too directly, it slips away.
There is hope. In this article, we will explore Empathy and how it makes us happier. Next, we explore how to stop worrying about what others think and, indeed, be more contented.
IT'S NOT ABOUT THE MONEY
For years it was believed that increasing prosperity would lead to happiness. Now people know this is not true. Every year people report to be less and less happy, and yet we are more affluent and prosperous than ever.
At a recent conference, Leadership speaker, Andy Stanley, presented PowerPoint slides revealing statistics that suggest that wealthy people are more likely to be depressed and anxious.
The revolution in happiness must come at a deeper personal level and not delivered like a pill, a product, or anything that money can buy.
The leadership speaker suggested that when it comes to happiness, focused practice changes the brain. Practicing happiness exercises that force you to think positively, change your mind, but it takes longer than we think. It takes about three months for the skills to take hold. Yet, this practiced discipline is worth it.
It takes sustained conscious effort to be happy, but once you learn it, you can naturally incorporate it.
The guest speakers' practical advice was to stop yourself in the middle of negative thought and replace it with a definite idea.
GROW YOUR COMPASSION WITH THREE TYPES OF EMPATHY
Studies show that Empathy grows your level of compassion, and this boosts happiness.
In his motivational TedTalk, Daniel Goleman suggests there are three types of Empathy:
Cognitive. This kind of Empathy means you understand how and why a person thinks about certain things. To have cognitive eempathy, you would have to step into a person's thoughts and value systems to figure out what makes them tick.
Cognitive Empathy helps you communicate well with someone at a cognitive level, but it doesn't make you more compassionate towards them. Superb negotiators have learned to dip into someone's world to manipulate their message to win a person over. It doesn't mean they agree with or relate to the person. For instance, a ruthless salesperson could cognitively empathize with someone to get the sale.
Emotional. This type of Empathy helps you feel what the other person feels. If they feel sad, you feel anxious. If they feel embarrassed, you temporarily feel the same. Digging into a person's emotional state helps you meet them at their level. Many caring professionals have learned this emotional support can be exhausting because the emotions are often challenging. You cannot stay low with someone too long, or you can both burn out.
Empathic concern. This Empathy translates to; I understand how you feel, and I'm predisposed to support you if I can. According to Goleman, this caring system of the brain is at the core of real Empathy. This compassion puts aside self-interest and does the right thing without the need for recognition.
Thus, to tap into everyday Empathy, we have to slow down and understand another person's world. To relate to someone means to know what they think, how they feel, and then be willing to support them when they need it.
Emotional Intelligence Keynote Speaker Daniel Goleman
RELAX, NOBODY CARES WHAT YOU DO
Do you ever get the feeling that the outside world is watching and assessing everything you do? Do you sense that every move you make is being tracked and critiqued? Thus, it would help if you were very careful about how you conduct yourself.
In training to become a funny female keynote speaker, I learned through stand- up comedy not to worry too much about what people think about me. In comedy, they can laugh at you; they can laugh with you. It doesn't matter, at least they are laughing. If you get too wrapped up in other people's opinions, success is nearly impossible.
The reality is people don't care that much what you do.
It's called the Spotlight Effect, and it refers to a feeling that when we're doing something, other people are paying attention. In other words, we're in the spotlight.
It turns out that other people don't care what we are doing. They are paying microscopic amounts of attention.
We greatly overestimate our importance to others because we are the center of our world. Psychologists suggest this happens because, as the center of our decisions, we mostly see the world from our experiences, not others.
Other people don't have the background, knowledge, or context of our perspective. Thus they are focused on other things.
Merely knowing this does have freeing consequences. You can relax! Nobody cares that you wore mismatched socks, forgot to greet the receptionist, or lost your cool on the subway.
Nobody is keeping score, and you don't lose points for being human- or being yourself.
Take yourself lightly- everyone else is!