We’re already two weeks into January, so maybe 2018 isn’t such a “new” year anymore, but with 11 months still ahead of us, there’s no reason not to be able effect some level of change as to be able to make a difference. With that in mind, there are five small changes you can make in your daily routine and life, which can, in the long run, lead to a happier you.
The future has always been uncertain – that’s the point of the future, really – and the way we’re always being bombarded with bad news, it’s easy to get carried away and drag yourself down. This is particularly true in the case of things like exams and project deadlines – panic about the size and scope of the undertaking can lead to paralysis. Take a breath, push out the thoughts of the past and the future to focus on the now. Notice this very moment. If you’re just getting over a bad experience, remind yourself that the Big Bad has already happened, and you’re here right now, still breathing. If you have a big project up ahead, ask yourself what you have to do now to get there. Practising mindfulness can be great stress relief and help you become more productive.
Nothing in life really turns out the way you expect anyway, so do your best and learn to be flexible.
Practice active listening
No matter how old you are, or how much money you make (or don’t), where you live, and whether you’re single or in a relationship, life in Dhaka is hard. You’ll have to deal with the noise, the pollution, the traffic, and it’s a dog-eat-dog world that actively tries to grind you down. It’s exhausting, and sometimes you just want to vent; except, finding someone who cares enough to really
listen is hard. This is true of almost everyone. So how about being
the person who listens, for a change.
Active listening - which involves paying attention (even if it’s tempting to zone out and daydream about the next season of Game of Thrones
) not just to what’s being said but how
it’s being said, deferring judgement, and providing feedback – is actually much harder to do than you’d think, and requires practice. But once you get the hang of it, not only do you become a better friend and rake in the karma points, active listening can help you focus better, and keep you attuned with the other person, preventing a lot of miscommunications.
Walk in their shoes
One thing that comes with active listening is perspective. Being able to see things from the other person’s perspective helps you deal with difficult situations with kindness. And that’s really why making an effort to be more empathetic is beneficial to all parties. Not only do you become kinder, it also helps save energy expended on anger. So the next time someone cuts in front of you in a line, or when the security guard at the entrance is being annoying with the metal detector in bag checks, instead of getting angry, try seeing things from their point of view, and you’ll find it much easier to keep calm and carry on.
Particularly because the traffic is so bad, it’s really hard to make and commit to plans in this city. Even the best laid plans can fall through. People will let you down. Rather than letting that upset you, try to go with the flow. Nothing in life really turns out the way you expect anyway, so do your best and learn to be flexible. You’ll be surprised with how relaxed you feel.
Say thank you
This might be annoying to read, but what your parents have been saying is true: no matter how bad things are, they could always get worse. So take some time everyday to count your blessings and acknowledge how lucky you are. If you have a roof over your head and an address to go home to, you’re lucky. If you have food in your belly and/or know where your next meal is coming from, you’re lucky. If you’re able to read and understand these words – you’re incredibly lucky, and not just because this list is almost done. Appreciate the things that are working for you instead of harping on what’s not, and you’ll be much happier in the long run.