How To Be A Better Friend This Year

With the dawn of a new year, everyone is thinking about ways to improve themselves and live their best life. Whether your ambitions run to overhauling your diet and starting your day with healthy smoothies, travelling and seeing more of the world, studying for a new qualification or even finally getting those killer abs, there's no end of articles, videos, podcasts and books instructing you on how to go about it. Some people are just constantly striving to better themselves, and that is a positive drive to have in life. But whichever areas of self-improvement we've chosen to focus on, relatively few will think about how they can become a better friend. And yet, focusing on this area of your life has real potential to improve your happiness and mental balance.

Friendships are the glue that bind together our days, and shared experiences have the biggest impact on our well-being. Human beings are fundamentally social animals, and when we develop solid bonds, it makes our lives feel more stable. If we choose to enhance what we give to others in our friendships, we will get so much more back in return. Making a conscious decision to enhance what you give, will mean you get so much. So focus on your friendships this year in order to enhance your life…


Improve Your Communication Skills

When was the last time you really listened? Social media and time pressures have gradually eroded our ability to deeply listen, and conditioned us to become much more superficial, with a reduced attention span. All the scrolling, swiping and expressing our thoughts in 140 characters has taken its toll, and we struggle with giving our friendships the deep dive that they need. Concentrating on non-verbal cues during conversations will give you a much clearer picture of how the other person actually is. There may be areas where they need extra support that you simply won't pick up on without meaningful conversation. Things like being trapped in a destructive relationship are often subtle and difficult to spot, as victims will often try to hide what's really going on out of misplaced shame and fear. A friend who listens can be absolutely invaluable in a situation like this, and a crucial part of the effort to stop violence against women. The impact of paying attention can be huge in areas such as this. Use kindness and sensitivity towards their feelings and you could make a life-changing connection.

Stand By Your Word

Making false promises is sure to damage your friendships. Sometimes we can do this without meaning to, but being able to trust your word is essential if you want your friends to trust you. The intentions you put out into the world must tally with your actions, or it creates a fundamental mistrust that can sour your friendships. If you've ever been guilty of not being true to your word, even without intending to do so, then this year you need to up your game. If you've arranged a coffee date, don't flake out. If you say you'll get those concert tickets, then do. Even if it's a really small thing, like promising to do a favor, then follow up on it. This will strengthen your social ties and build stronger reciprocal friendships.

Be Forgiving

We are all human, but sometimes we can be a bit judgmental and unforgiving when it comes to the failings of others. If you've chosen to give your loyalty to someone, then don't make it conditional. Building a support network doesn't happen overnight, so if your friends falter on occasion then try to be understanding. There is definitely a difference between those who consistently let you down and something happening on one occasion. Learn to be more forgiving, especially if a friend is coping with recently changed circumstances, like starting a new job or having a family. They may have a lot on their mind.

Understand Other Perspectives

Life is all about variety, and it would be very boring if we all held the same opinions. So don't make the mistake of assuming your take on a situation is the only way that's right. The beauty of life is the multitude of differing opinions. If you let go of the idea that there is a ‘right’ way to think about a given situation, it will open up your mind and enrich your life. You'll become an empathetic person and a much better friend. It's an important step to take for your own enrichment and that of your friendships.


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Everything You Need to Know About Emotional Support Animals

Generally speaking, humans and animals tend to live apart. We pass hundreds of animals on a daily basis. However, we tend live alongside them with little interaction. But then there are animals who we actively incorporate into our lives. Nine times out of ten, these animals will be pets. We offer them a comfortable home to live in, in exchange for their companionship, loyalty, and unconditional love. However, you will often find that different people rely on their pets to a different extent. Some treat them as pets. Others treat them as family. If you find that you have a particular bond with your pet and rely on them for emotional support on a regular basis, you could say that you have an emotional support animal. Read on for everything you need to know about this!

What Actually Is An Emotional Support Animal?

An emotional support animal, otherwise referred to as an “ESA”, is a companion creature who actively provides their owner or handler with emotional support that can significantly improve their overall health, happiness, and wellbeing. In order for an animal to be officially recognized as an emotional support animal, they will have to be signed off by a psychiatrist, psychologist or other qualified health practitioner. This individual will verify that this pet’s presence is necessary for you to maintain a good quality of life. You can then enroll your pet as an ESA and receive official documents to confirm this through certa pet.

Can My Pet Be an ESA?

ESAs tend to be most beneficial for individuals who suffer from some sort of physical, psychiatric, or intellectual problem or disability. If you fall into this category, your pet may be an ESA. There are no species specific requirements for ESAs. While dogs tend to be the most common form of emotional support animal, any animal can qualify. So, if you have a cat, bird, or even a more alternative pet such as a hedgehog, these could all count.

How Can I Benefit from ESA Certification?

There are certain situations in life where you could potentially be separated from your pet. This, of course, could be extremely traumatic if you have a special bond. ESA certification can help to guarantee that you and your pet can remain together. Say you move into a privately leased house and the landlord may say that they have a no pets policy. An ESA certificate can be used to ensure that your pet is allowed in the house, regardless of the no pets policy. An ESA certificate can also be used to ensure that your pet can travel with you on airlines that may otherwise exclude pets from the cabin.

 

This is just a brief introduction to emotional support animals. Hopefully, it has proven useful, and you can put the information to good use if you have an animal of your own who offers you emotional support in your life!


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Treat Yo'self (on a budget)

The concept of treating yourself and engaging in self-care has become increasingly popular over recent years, and for good reason. The need to focus on health and mental well-being cannot be overestimated, especially in a busy world that relentlessly places extra demands on your time and energy. A societal change that encourages people to focus on themselves and their own happiness has long been due.

However, there is one downside to the self-care, treat yo’ self phenomenon; it’s that many of the methods employed to do this are downright expensive. Go out for a meal with friends; get a massage; have your nails done… all wonderful ideas, but all demanding on your finances. In fact, you were to engage in this kind of self care on a regular basis, it wouldn’t be long until you were having to visit the likes of https://debtconsolidation.co in an effort to manage your beleaguered finances - which wouldn’t be much of a ‘treat’.

There’s no denying that treating yourself and indulging in self-care are beneficial, however, so how can you introduce these concepts into your life without ruining your finances? Here are a few ideas.

#1 - Switch your phone off

We spend our lives tethered to our phones, instantly contactable by a variety of people, and exposed to an endless stream of information. While undeniably useful, the harm caused by this relentless connectivity cannot be underestimated; it can lead to addiction, and creates a sense that you’re always “on”, needing to be ready to respond if someone reaches out to you. Under these conditions, relaxation can be incredibly difficult.

To counter this, turn your phone off the moment you get home from work. You can warn your closest friends and family of this decision, so they know they will need to actively visit in an emergency, then switch your phone off, and enjoy a little mental space to yourself.

#2 - Go for a walk

It may sound simple - perhaps too simple to really be of any use - but going for a walk really is one of the best methods of free self-care you can experience. As https://www.rd.com/ points out, going for a walk has a range of benefits that few conventional self-care measures could ever come close to replicating, so it’s well worth giving it a go.

#3 - Use your vacation days

As discussed on https://www.marketwatch.com/, studies have shown that over half of US citizens don’t use all of their work vacation days. This is a real shame, as time off from work is essential for managing your mental health and sense of well-being. To truly treat yourself, keep track of your vacation days and note when they expire; if the year is running out, treat yourself to a few days off - you’ve worked to obtain those days, so you definitely deserve to enjoy them.

 

In conclusion: As the points above prove, treating yourself and pursuing self-care doesn’t have to cost the earth. The tips above cost precisely $0, but will have a huge impact on your overall health and well-being.


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