The Fetch Blog

Curated reads and events for professionals

5 happiness hacks everyone should try — November 24, 2015

5 happiness hacks everyone should try

Happiness has become one the sexiest yet most elusive products of our time. You could read the Internet for the entire of your existence and still find another million searches on how to crack the happy matrix. Indeed, happiness is a multi-billion dollar industry.

But what if happiness was a little easier to hack than you’ve been lead to believe? Here are five easy ways you can increase your happiness and lower your stress levels.

Admit you compare yourself to the next person

Most of us are familiar with the term FOMO (the fear of missing out). We feel anxious because we feel like we’re missing out on something wonderful online. And it’s starting to lead us closer to depression and anxiety as a result.

But this is not a new concept, nor is it only a social media issue.

In 1954, social comparison theory suggested we measure our worth against others for the first time. We check the validity of our thoughts, feelings and ideas in relation to other people. And that we can use comparisons to drive us forward to achieve great things, or it can be a source of envy.

Biologically and psychologically, we’re designed to compare ourselves with our peers. And it’s OK to recognize this trait rather than deny it. It could be the first step you take to move beneath the cloud of FOMO.   

Use comparison to your advantage

It’s one thing to know you’ll fall into the comparison trap on occasion. It’s quite another to allow it to fuel you towards great things. Don’t get caught up on denying someone gets under your skin — use it to your advantage! 

Ask yourself 3 simple questions:

  1. What do they do better than me?
  2. What do I do better than them?
  3. What can I learn from their approach?

Turn your comparisons into intelligence gathering. Convert that envied enemy into a valued peer. Or use their impact on you to re-design a strategy that works for you.

Think about what excites you about the other person. Now ask yourself why you’re less excited by your own ideas and change it. Don’t copy them. Find out how you can zig to their zag.

If someone motivates you that much they live in your head, there is always some value you can derive from it.

Focus on accomplishment

We’re so often pre-occupied with what we have ‘to do’ that we forget the amazing things we’ve done.  Yet accomplishment is one of the best sources of happiness. 

So how do you focus on the great things you’ve done between major milestones?

Here are some ideas:

  • Capture what you’ve completed as a ‘done list’
  • Have a chalkboard that displays what you’ve done in a month, quarter or year
  • Save up the things you’ve ticked off your ‘to do’ list in a jar on a scrap of paper and watch it grow
  • Write a thank you note to the people who have given you another great week- and don’t forget yourself in that!

Whatever the mechanism, enjoy the difference that comes with seeing what you’ve achieved. Focus on progress. 

Step outside yourself

Our culture spends a lot of time focusing on what we can get out of life for ourselves. But we’re actually happier when we’re giving to others.

Happiness hacks everyone should try

Volunteering is good for us. It gives us the opportunity to step outside ourselves and think of others. Volunteering and giving doesn’t just give us the warm, fuzzy feeling of doing good. There’s even proof that helping others helps us sleep, make friends and generally feel fitter and stronger.

So if you want to increase your happiness, helping others is a wonderful way to do it.

Go back to the basics

Getting enough sleep, taking enough breaks and exercising all contribute to our happiness.

Working too hard impairs your thinking. We know we have to sleep to reset the clock. Time spent daydreaming and idling helps us with the creative processes. 

Stress also has a productivity cost. Thankfully, exercise is a great stress antidote. Several studies have shown exercising aids in the management of stress and mental health conditions.

There’s no point in squeezing extra hours in the day for work if the work isn’t the best quality.

So if you’re feeling under pressure, sleep, rest and movement can help. Don’t pack each minute with project work. 

The bottom line on happiness

You won’t find happiness at the bottom of a bag of diamonds or at the drinks at an expensive conference. But you can find it in the little things. Being kind to your body, mind and what you achieve is a big part of being happy. 

Give yourself a break and be happy to be you.

About our contributor // Rebekah Lambert is freelance content marketer, Unashamedly Creative. She founded Hacking Happiness to remind busy individuals stress has a productivity cost.

Wardrobe tips for the web workers of the world — January 14, 2012

Wardrobe tips for the web workers of the world

This is a guest post by Cheryl Lin, the founder of business streetstyle fashion blog, BusinessChic.com.au.

Dear web workers of the world,

You have a choice! Actually you have lots of choices!

From the freedom of choosing wherever in the world you would like to work from and whenever (!) to how you want to present yourself. Truth be told, you can wear pyjamas all the time if you so wish or the same black skivvy, jeans and sneakers day-in-day-out regardless of whether you’re working on your own or presenting to millions of potential customers!

However in this day and age of mobility and the global workforce, it’s more important than ever to differentiate yourself from every other web worker in the world because we don’t get a second chance at making first impressions. In-person communication is 70% visual which means that the clothes that you wear when you work and meet people in a professional or social (that might lead to more work) capacity are the first things that people will see and judge you by. Sure your work might be awesome but do you look as good as the things you create? Take a moment to check yourself in the mirror and consider whether you’re happy with the visual brand you’ve created for yourself or if you’re actually selling yourself short.

Regardless of whether you are happy, I’m going to share five steps to creating and finessing your visual identity to increase the prospects of your making a positive impression on your peers, clients and even yourself!

  1. Work out your style

Like whatever it is you are specialising in, it’s important to have an idea of what your work style is and how you want to look. When you get dressed, have a think about what you have on that day. Are you working, meeting with potential investors or folks you’d like to work with? Is what you’re wearing appropriate and does it present you in your best light?

I’ve come up with three general style sub-categories that are specific to web-workers; broader categories can be seen on BusinessChic.

i. The minimalist:

Innovation. Image credit: http://blogs.varsity.co.uk/

So I paid out Jobs earlier. The man knew that he was a minimalist and planned his wardrobe such. He didn’t wear the exact same turtleneck, jeans and sneakers everyday, Jobs found a brand who made what he liked and did it well. Then he filled his wardrobes with multiple versions of the same products so that he could present his minimalist self, crisply and cleanly, every day.

ii. The creative:

Maybe you are someone who spends their free-time scouring online and real-world markets for something a bit different to wear. You have your basic pieces like jeans and jackets – make sure that these are well-maintained (no frayed hems).

iii. The it’s clean crowd:

You wear whatever you find that’s clean. Even though you generally rock the messy bedhair look, you’ve showered and are wearing clean clothes – even if you’ve been up gaming all night! However if want to smarten up your look a little, make sure that your clothes fit well and aren’t too faded or bear holes that you aren’t proud of. A usual easy way to smarten up jeans and a tee is to incorporate a well-cut blazer into your look.

Generally make sure that your shoes are decent or don’t complain to the client when you’ve stomped in a puddle on your way to meeting them and water has come through the hole in your shoe.

  1. Personalise and shine

So you have worked out the look that you are going for. When going out to purchase the items to create your work wardrobe, consider making tweaks to suit you or show your personal flair.

You’re a minimalist like Jobs? Try getting some really ace sneakers. How cool would it have been if he’d rocked Marty McFly sneakers?

You’re Creative? Turn that souvenir you bought on your last travels into an accessory to string up and tie around your wrist or dangle from the gadget you use most.

You’re Clean? Hurrah you’re clean! Now consider working on your hair. Is bed hair the best look for you or can you mix it up for when you have a special meeting? Try getting a sharp new do or put effort into your headgear if no-hair is your look. Experiment!

  1. Fail well, fail often

The you in better packaging may not happen overnight but it will happen. Try out a few looks, some will work better than others. Develop an eye for what looks good on you and the pieces that make you feel good and empowered to take on the next challenge!

  1. Maintain

Once you’ve established your style, it’s all about maintenance. Conduct periodic checks to see whether your clothes are smelly, splattered, stained or wearing out and act accordingly! Also be prepared for tumultuous weather and consider whether your clothes are appropriate for the season! Get an idea of the clothes and looks you like to create your work look. This means that whenever your clothes wear out, you’ll know what pieces you need to replace them.

  1. Evolve

Similarly don’t be afraid of keeping an eye out for new things. Check out magazines and streetstyle blogs to see what folks are wearing and whether there are new looks that you want to try for yourself.

And remember what you wear to work isn’t the most important thing; it’s the work you do and relationships you develop that matter. While you polish up your style and people notice the you-in-new-and-improved-packaging; remember to keep it real and not to lose sight of the key things that matter. Until then, I hope that you choose to take some pride in your visual presentation and feel free to share your progress with me on BusinessChic.com.au.

Bio: Cheryl Lin is the founder of business streetstyle fashion blog, BusinessChic.com.au. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Peppermint, Melbourne Street Fashion, (small)lust, Pugnacious George and Australian Cyclist. Cheryl is available for personal styling consultations, wardrobe audits and even offers a professional profile photo service so that web workers can present their best selves online. See here for her services.

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