SpeechContacts Human Communication Skills Newsletter


Here’s a taste of the communication news I’ve found interesting recently.

Communication News Roundup

Making music with eye-pointing after devastating stroke

TV presenters, jargon dysphasia and conspiracy theories

Listen, don’t talk. Good advice

A plea for face to face communication in an online world

Stories of hope for locked in syndrome sufferers

Who else wants to publish a Kindle eBook? (this one’s a guest post I wrote recently).

Happiness
This week, Action for Happiness launched in the UK with a Facebook page.

I’m pleased to say that SpeechContacts was ahead of the game, with our iHappiness app for iPhone and iPad already available.

Once you’ve uploaded this FREE app to your device, click the icon every day and read a new suggestion to help you build your resilience, flourish and grow happier and more contented.

Click the bird on the web page HERE to find your app.

SpeechContacts is on Facebook

Maybe you’d like to visit our new SpeechContacts Facebook page and leave a comment.

Keep Happy

Some people just seem to keep happy. If you’d like to join them, start small. It’s not about getting rich, being a celebrity or living in a big house. Think of the happiest person you know. How do you know they’re happy? Maybe they smile a lot, or make time to chat, or just look relaxed and content.

You can be like that too! No matter how busy you are, there’s time to squeeze extra pleasure into your daily routine. Try it and feel the difference.

Here’s how to lift your mood: and it’s free!

Stop for five minutes. Listen to your own breathing. Take a moment longer to breathe out, emptying your lungs completely. Notice how much more relaxed you feel. You’ll go back to work happier and more productive than before.

Rearrange the furniture: you’ll feel as though you’ve moved house.

Passing a chemist? Try a squirt of perfume or after shave from a tester bottle.

Smile at the very next person you meet: especially if you don’t like them. You’ll be amazed at the warm glow you feel.
Decide on the most important task of the day. Make this your priority and take a few minutes to congratulate yourself afterwards. 

Take your next meal slowly, enjoying every mouthful.

Find something to look forward to tomorrow..
 


Good Decisions Make Us Feel Happier: The Six Step Process

One of the keys to a happy life is making sensible judgements. So often we waste time trying to decide what we should do. We puzzle over our decision, sometimes pulled one way and sometimes another, and often we end up doing nothing and missing opportunities.

A good decision is one that considers all the options. So if you have a difficult decision to make, here’s a Six Step process that will help.


Step One: Sit down with a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle, so you have two columns.


Step Two: In one column, list all the good things that you can think of on one side of the argument. In the other, list the arguments against that side. You may end up with something like this:     

                                              Should I give up my job?

 Arguments for giving up                        Arguments against giving up

I hate my job                                                  I don’t have another job to go to

I think I can be a writer                                  I’ve never had anything published

I will have time to write                                  I may not be good enough

I can live on my savings for 6 months          I like having a regular income

I will feel happier as a writer                         I like going on expensive holidays                                                                            

And so on…………


Writing the arguments down will help to clear your mind and make it easier for you to make the decision.

Step Three: When I make this sort of list, I like to give weighting to the items, as I find some of them are more important to me than others. For example, ‘I will feel happier’ would be more important to me than ‘I don’t know whether I’m good enough’. I’d give the ‘happier’ item five points, and the ‘I don’t know’ item only one. You can choose how to weight your items. It’s your list, after all.

Step Four: Add up the points and make a total.

Step Five: Then you make the decision. Avoid slavishly following the totals. You may surprise yourself by deciding to act in a way that seems to go against all the logic, but that ‘feels right.’ The list will have clarified your thoughts and you will, at the very least, know what you’re letting yourself in for.

Step Six: Finally, as Napoleon is reputed to have said: Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.


Happiness: Reasons to Be Cheerful

Today the sun’s shining and I’ve ditched three layers of clothes. I’ve gone all morning without breaking my diet so I feel pounds lighter. I’ve washed the kitchen floor and it’s as sparkly and bright as the floors in those adverts. I feel good.

But wait a minute. How can I be feeling so happy when there are wars, famines and disasters happening all over the world? Won’t thinking about those things ruin the mood?

The good things that are making me cheerful today are all pretty trivial compared with the madness that’s going on around the globe, but the truth is, the tiny details make a greater difference to my mood than worrying about the huge, important issues.

That’s partly because I can do something about them, I guess, and partly because they’re happening, now, today, and I feel the effects straight away.

The great thing is that if I’m having a blue day, when things aren’t going so well, I can change one or two details and make myself feel better instantly. I can spray myself with a scent that I love, that persuades me take a deep relaxing breath. I can put on a pair of red socks to make myself smile. I can listen to Mozart and find myself enjoying the anticipation of waiting for my favourite moments.

I know that those things will pick me up. That boost might not last long, and it won’t deal with real problems of illness, death and broken hearts. It won’t solve anything, really. But just for a moment, a few seconds, a brief heartbeat, I’ll feel better.

The things that enrich my life may be different from the things that work for other people, but we can all find our own mood-improvers. To write a list of ‘what cheers me up’ is a great start, and to patch one of them into everyday life is a brilliant second step.

Sometimes the things we can do on a small scale, in our corner of the earth, like charity donations or little kindnesses to friends, help us feel good and make a difference in the world at the same time.

They say ‘don’t sweat the small stuff,’ but if we pay attention to the details, the aspects of life we can really control, maybe it gets easier to deal with the big scary stuff. It’s worth a try, anyway.

If you’d like to know more about how we can work happiness into our lives, come and visit SpeechContacts

If you’re the proud owner of an iphone, you can find a free application there that will offer you a daily dose of life-enhancing suggestions.











Happy Talk

This Easter, I was pondering the things that make us happy and wondering, as ever, what real happiness is.

I took a peek at the newest addition to our family, now seven weeks old, and there was one answer, at least. There’s no doubt that a baby who’s just finished a feed, has a clean nappy and warm bed, not to mention plenty of cuddles, is in heaven.

So what happens to us as we get older? Why do we lose that fabulous feeling of wellbeing, of contentment and of just being happy in our own skin?

I can’t help thinking that the things we tell ourselves and our children may have a lot to do with it. Have you listened to adults talking to children? So often our conversation is full of ‘don’t.’

Don’t pull the cat’s tail. Don’t run into the road. Don’t talk with your mouth full.

It goes on throughout our lives. We’re always talking about the things we can’t do and the sad truth is that if there’s one thing that makes me want to do something, it’s being told I can’t.

I went to our local pet shop the other day. There was a notice on the fish tanks.

Don’t bang on the glass. Now, it hadn’t occurred to me that I would want to bang on the glass. Why would I? But when I read that, I could barely contain myself. Would it really hurt the fish? How about just a tiny tap? No-one would notice, after all.

Then I saw another notice, next to a pile of bags full of gravel.

Don’t climb on the gravel. I’m sure you get the picture. I suddenly knew exactly how it felt to be a child again, tantalised by suggestions of things I mustn’t do. I had to leave before I disgraced myself.

Telling us not to do things so often has the opposite effect. It can even be dangerous. Remember that classic instruction to anyone dangling at the end of a rope halfway up a cliff face: Don’t look down?

Wouldn’t it be great to turn all those negatives into positives? It’s not hard to do. We could change,

Don’t pull the cat’s tail into stroke his head gently. Don’t run into the road, could be see if you can keep inside the lines on the pavement. And don’t look down could be (much safer) look up to see how close the next handhold is.

So I’m setting myself a challenge today. No more negatives: only positives. I will avoid the words don’t at all costs.

I will tell my son to drive safely. I will point out to a child how much he will enjoy talking very, very quietly and I will tell myself to remember to buy the milk.

Perhaps you could join me in the challenge? Maybe when we get into the habit of being positive, we’ll find again some of that contentment we knew when we were babies. Even more importantly, maybe our happy talk will help our children to grow up to be happier people.

If you’d like to know more about happiness and communication, please visit http://www.speechcontacts.co.uk or join my new Facebook group, Happy Talk.