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Story

Nine Days to A Nicer You - find your kinder side!

29/12/2009

Nine Days to A Nicer You - I'm astounded by the level of nastiness that’s apparently acceptable nowadays. The perfect example is the Alesha Dixon backlash. Yes, the fabulous Arlene Phillips shouldn't have been axed but that's not Alesha's fault. Yet many were quick with scathing, often with very personal attacks, before Alesha had a chance to find her feet.

This is symptomatic of how otherwise normal and nice people are quick to judge and criticise. Many confide they regret this nastier side coming out. If you've recognised this happening to you follow these steps:

Day 1: Identification

The process of becoming a Nicer You starts with identifying what's eating you. Why are you snarling your way through the day? Partly you might think others are causing you stress. But is there a niggle that much of this is your fault and you’re not a nice person to be around? Time to explore what's happening in your core life areas (CLAs).

Divide a piece of paper into four boxes representing your CLAs, say, partner (or lack of one), work, social and family life. Rate each CLA from 1 to 5 with 1 being very unhappy to 5 being very happy with it. For each CLA rated below 3 write down one/two ideas/goals for improving them. Taking action gives you control, and feeling in control puts you in a nicer mood!

Day 2: Turn Detective

Time to turn detective and analyse daily hotspots causing stress, and turning you into a monster. Identify these, prepare for them and/or prevent them and you're less likely to bite someone's head off. A typical hotspot is getting out the door each morning. Leftover stress from your fraught morning routine is compounded by your next hot spot, making it harder to keep calm then. Others include getting ready for meetings, squeezing errands into lunch breaks, the evening supper/bath/homework routine, etc.

Detect hotspots and create solutions - maybe as simple as setting your alarm 10 minutes earlier to give a head start and scheduling meetings so there’s at least 15 minutes between them - to take a breather.

Day 3: Flattery Gets You Everywhere

Time to think outward on Day 3. Make a list of the people you really care about. Next to each name make a note of what nice or encouraging thing you could say to them that day - or in the near future. When was the last time you told a girlfriend you appreciate them? Or thanked your partner for love and kindness? Saying nice, complimentary things gets tossed out the window when you're a harassed Ms Nasty. But they can create a lovely, warm glow when you take a moment to say them.

Day 4: Get the Feel-Good Factor

Today you're looking inwards to something nice you can do for yourself. Those who get increasingly nasty, losing their nicer side, are those who don't take time for some simple pleasures. Put in your diary some dates with yourself, for a luxury treat like a facial or a small pleasure like a 15-minute walk in the local park. You should at the very minimum spend 15 minutes daily doing something enjoyable!

Day 5: Learn to Listen

As we struggle through our busy lives, slowly losing our nice side, we often lose the ability to simply listen. Your six-year-old wants to tell you the detail of how they painted their picture and you hurry them along. Your partner wants to tell you an anecdote from their day and you listen half-heartedly while getting on with a chore. It only takes a few minutes to put down what you're doing, look at them, and really listen.

Day 6: Just Say No To Nagging

So you've become a nasty nag always hassling others to do what you want - but without success! Today turn this on its head. Take your top three nags - like repeatedly asking your teen to tidy their room - and say you're going to ‘let it go’ as long as certain basics are adhered to. Like they can’t grow a new strain of penicillin in tea mugs left in their room. The trick is to not do yourself what you've been nagging about. Being chilled and nicer about it, you might find they get sick of their own mess and clean-up occasionally.

Day 7: Accept Responsibility

It's easy becoming critical and not taking responsibility when something’s our fault. One of the most generous - and nice - actions is putting your hands up and saying, "I'm sorry, that was my fault," or, "I shouldn't have snapped!” Today apologise for something you've done recently and make it a habit.

Day 8: Increase The Feel-Good Factor –

Now you're getting somewhere it's time to pat yourself on the back! Practise daily self-affirmations that you’ll no longer be petty, critical, and unrealistic. Praise yourself for finding the nicer you rather than being overly critical of yourself.

Day 9: The Arrival of Ms Nice

The kinder, nicer you has returned. A few key rules to maintain Ms Nice include: the old adage - think before you speak; keep aware of new hotspots that’ll challenge your nice side; and keep the Feel-good factor in your life with the simple pleasures for yourself and those you love.

A similar article was published in the Express Newspaper