Everyday we're given opportunities to learn something new and make a positive change, especially when we're in different countries, living side by side with different cultures. So what can we learn from our neighbours around the world? How about these lessons...
You hear a lot about being more grateful these days in terms of reducing anxiety and increasing mindfulness, and if the Buddhists of Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia can teach you anything, it’s that it works. Buddhists practice cultivating gratitude through selfless acts to share and appreciate the interconnectedness of all life. There’s a reason those Buddhist monks always look so at peace. Having empathy for others and yourself can not only reduce anxiety and build better relationships, but also beef up your physical health!
Learn to be more patient
In India, you have to be patient whether you like it or not. The chaos of the traffic can be overwhelming to tourists, so how do you think locals feel dealing with it day in, day out? Exactly, and that’s where the famed Indian smile comes in handy! Accepting that some things are out of your control and everything will happen (eventually) is how they approach life, and it’s a great lesson to take on board if you find yourself getting frustrated as you rush from task to task. Just try smiling instead of glaring at the guy in front of you that can’t decide if he wants $20 or $60 out of the ATM, and you’ll start to see the funny side, we promise.
Eating while walking in Japan is a big no-no. It’s considered impolite and takes attention away from the joy of chowing down, which I think we can all relate to. Eating slowly and with intention is also praised by mindfulness experts and weight loss gurus, as it makes you aware of the taste, smell and fullness you get from your dish. That’s not to say it’s a diet (or that you should even be on one) but that food is such an amazing part of your life, so why would you want to be distracted from it? Start taking your lunch away from your desk and see if you love your meal more and are more focused after… we bet you will be.
Get more done by taking time for yourself
If you haven’t heard about the Danish practice of hygge by now then you are in for a treat, because it literally means being warm, happy and relaxing. It’s a central part of life in Nordic countries and yet somehow, those countries are also SUPER productive and have high levels of workplace (and overall) happiness. How does that work you ask? The idea of hygge is that by taking time out for yourself you improve your wellbeing and won’t be as stressed, therefore you get more done because your brain isn’t an angry hive of bees. Simple as that! Now aren’t you just dying to add some hygge to your life?
Show some respect
In Greece, ‘old man’ is not a negative thing to say. In fact on the contrary, it’s a compliment! To grow old in Greek culture is an achievement worthy of celebration, and the elder generations act as the head of their families and are honoured for their lifetime of wisdom. Of course Greece isn’t the only place that elderly people are deeply respected; countries like Korea, China and India also give their older family members pride of place, and adopting the same mentality could transform your relationships with your elders. Truthfully you should respect all people regardless of age. Next time you’re out in public, get into the practice of imagining everyone as your elder and try to harness some of their wisdom or lend them a hand.