Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Right Now Happiness

This year I have a new daily routine. Everyday I'll write one thing that has made me grateful and happy that day. So far it's been easy to find those wonderful positive things. 

Why I started gratitude journaling?

I've always been person who has difficulties to enjoy the famous "right now". It's always been about waiting something. When I'll graduate from high school... When I'll go to university... When I'll get married...

It's always when, never now. That's the reason why I started to write my gratitude journal. 

Couple entries from my gratitude journal:

Yesterday: It was nice to talk with my sister on the phone.

January 13: We bought tickets to Bangkok and Singapore.

Are you living in this moment? Does this moment make you happy?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Mintspiration Currently

1. Riddles

I'm so excited about the TED-Ed videos. The riddle videos are my favorite.

2. My monthly word

I've really needed my this month's word. It's been really busy time in work after the Christmas break. I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed. So much to do!

3. My Lovely Letters Partner

Lovely Elizabeth is my partner this month! Can't wait to send her my parcel. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

5 Ways to be a better listener

One of the most important skills, that I have to have in my job (guidance counselor), is the ability to listen. We paid a lot attention to it during our BA and MA studies. A good counsellor should be an active listener.

I've noticed, that being an active listener is not just for the counselors. It makes communication between people better. Well... it turns conversations into real communication. 

I believe active listening could save marriages and friendships.

1. The right mindset 

I read a really great quote on Pinterest (unfortunately I don't know whose it is):

"The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply."

I think this quote puts it perfectly; the goal of listening should ALWAYS be understanding. So when you're having a conversation do everything you can to understand not only what the other person is saying but what she/he is feeling and where she/he stands. 

If you want to be an active listener, remind yourself, that everything doesn't have to (and should not) be about you. You don't need to bring up your own thoughts, experiences and opinions. Try to understand first!

Try to make the other people realise that you:
-want to hear her/him
-want to see her/him
-want to understand her/him

2. Ask. Don't assume

When we're having conversations, we often make conclusions and assumptions. If you want to be an active listener, you shouldn't do that, because that's not listening. That's you processing the information from your point of view. To avoid conclusions and assumptions, ask questions. 

Try to ask questions, that encourage the other person to describe, analyse and reflect. Also try to avoid questions that have simple yes/no answers. This will help you to understand. Before making and assumptions, ASK.

Great questions:

Can you tell me more about that? How does that make you feel? 

3. Show him/her you're listening

An active listener shows the other person, that she/he is listening AND hearing. There are many ways you can do that. We already talked about asking questions. Questions not only help you to understand and not to make assumptions but they also help you to show the other person that you are listening.  Another great way is to repeat what you've heard in your own words.

An example:

Your friend: I don't know what I should do. I feel like... I'm so sick and tired of this whole thing. He refuses to come. And I need him to come. Don't you think he should come? I mean come on! It's my boss's birthday dinner and it would look so bad if I went there alone when everyone else brings their spouses. It's like he doesn't care.

You: So he's not coming to this thing, though you want him to. And it's making you frustrated, right?

Your friend: Yeah!

You can also show the other person you're listening non-verbally. Don't look distracted or absent. DON'T do anything with your phone. Nod, make appropriate facial expressions  and "Mmm". 

4. Listening is not judging

An active listener doesn't judge. We all have our own ideals, principals, believes and personal histories. If you want to be an active listener, you have to learn to identify them. Because if you can identify them, you can learn to prevent them from stop making you understand. Remember, you want to hear, see and understand. You want to see the issue through the other person's point of view. 

Active listening doesn't mean that you have to give up your own ideals and believes. They are an important part of you. But when you want to listen, you're not the one you want to listen to. 

5. Practice

It's important to remember, that it takes practice to become an active listener. It's a process and during that process you'll learn a lot about yourself. Though I'm a so-called professional listener, it's not easy for me. I'm still not perfect and I still have to practice it. I'm constantly training my mind to be an active listener. Number 4 is really hard for me. I have strong ideals and believes. They define me and my world. I need to work really hard not to let them interfere.

Learn more:

My favourite "listening guru" is Soren Kierkegaard. You should definitely read his thoughts and ideas. 

These articles are great too:

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Lovely letters - January 2016 Sign Ups!

I'm so excited about the Lovely Letters program! I'm hosting it with Claudia from Soul Called Life. Here's what it's all about:


What is Lovely Letters? 

Originally founded by Esther JuLeeLovely Letters is a Snail Mail and Gift Exchange program focused on building new friendships by sending lovely letters and packages all across the globe, one new friend at a time. This is a program that promotes encouragement, collaboration, friendship, and growth as individuals and as a blogging community. The program’s goal is to help you make new friends you would have never connected with otherwise and to connect bloggers from different countries, backgrounds, and cultures so as to learn from one another. 

In short, we are a community of bloggers who love connecting through the love of sending and receiving snail mail. We believe that letter writing is a dying but wonderful skill to possess and should be practiced often. I hope this serves as an introduction for possibly making a life long snail mail pal!
How do I participate?

 Click here to sign-up for the January 2016 Snail Mail exchange ― remember sign ups will be open from the 1st thru the 5th and will close at midnight PST.

▷ Pen Pal Pairings: On the 6th of January, you will receive an email letting you know who you have been paired with. Thereafter, you will spend the following weeks getting to know your partner through blog stalking, social media, Skype, or however you like! 

▷ Connect with Your Partner: After receiving your pen pal’s contact information, you will have 2 days to connect with your partner.  If your partner does not contact you or respond within 2 days of being paired please email Claudia so we can attempt to pair you with someone on the waiting list. Bear in mind that communication is key and is essential in establishing a fun-filled pen pal relationship! 

▷ Monthly Theme: January’s theme is {Diligence}

▷ Mail Your Lovely Letter Parcel: Your Lovely Letter parcel must be mailed via certified mail no later than the 25th of the month. Please note that because we want this program to be affordable and enjoyable for all participants there is a $7 limit. Here is my own Pinterest board to help give you some simple, yet meaningful ideas to encourage your pen pal and to make them feel extra special:

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