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7 Roots Of Negative Emotions You Need To Identify And Weed Out

7 Roots Of Negative Emotions You Need To Identify And Weed Out

When it comes to succeeding in life, your greatest enemy is hidden in your mind, in a form of negative emotions. As Henry Ford said: whether you believe that you can or you can’t, you are right. Negative emotions are one of the main causes for self-doubt, dissatisfaction in life and looking for excuses for not doing something.

Fortunately, they aren’t entrenched in your mind for good so you can get rid of them. The perfect point to start at is determining the roots of negative emotions which is what I’ll discuss in this article. By doing this, you open your way to more happiness and success.

1. Comparing yourself to others.

“Personality begins where comparison leaves off. Be unique. Be memorable. Be confident. Be proud.”

Shannon L. Alder

In the world of social media, this became incredibly easy and tempting. As you scroll down your Facebook feed or check out Instagram photos, you are bombarded with highlights of other people’s lives. It’s rare when folks share their insecurity and obstacles. So as you are irradiated with best parts of others’ lifestyle and compare it to your worst moments, it can be really depressing.

The fact is, comparing yourself to others doesn’t serve you well. It’s ineffective to make an in-depth analysis in your mind based only on a surface. Even if some people appear incredibly confident, be aware that they simply developed a higher tolerance of uncertainty. They may still have doubts and problems, but their external self doesn’t show that to the outside world.

If you compare yourself to others, you should give up doing it immediately. The only person you should measure yourself with is your past self.

2. Repeating negative affirmations.

Your brain is a powerful tool, but for most of the people, it works against you by default. It requires some effort to make it function for your good. This begins with replacing negative thoughts with positive affirmations.

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Negative affirmations can literally paralyze your ability to become happy and succeed. Once you repeat them long enough, you start to believe in the wrong vision you created in your mind.

Luckily, the same rule applies to positive affirmations: repeating them over and over again makes you believe in these words. Consequently, weeding out the negative emotions almost automatically.

3. Underestimating your abilities.

You should never judge your skills against your favor. Always assume that you can do something and then go for it. If you fail, that just means you need to put more work into it.

Underrating your competencies boosts self-doubt and lowers your self-esteem which is the best environment for negative emotions to thrive.

Pay more attention to your attitude when it comes to facing new challenges and pursuing your goals. Do you easily come up with excuses and tend to rationalize?

If that happens, try to mute the negative inner voice and listen to the reasons why you can. It will surely impact your confidence and remove the bad energy from your mind.

You should use the internal dialog to help you to find reasons to believe in yourself.

4. Avoiding the full responsibility for your life.

Being content and satisfied involves fully accepting your influence on your life and using it properly. Whether you believe it or not, you are the master of your universe.

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Nowadays, when the technology is highly advanced and people more open-minded than ever before, you can live your life on thousands different ways. The best part is, it’s fully up to you.

Sure, you can point some external factors like the economy or your environment, but as I said, in today’s world you have countless other options.

Blaming factors you can’t control for your problems leads to a spike of negative emotions. However, once you accept that you are the king on your own planet, making a change for better becomes a matter of time.

5. Staying around negative people.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Jim Rohn

Your environment has a huge impact on your thoughts and actions. If you surround yourself with five intelligent people, you’ll soon become the sixth one. If there are only negative folks around you, eventually you’ll spread the negativity just like they do. That’s why you should pay attention to your surroundings.

One of the best ways to weed out the negative emotions is to spend more time with cheerful people. Bellyaches and complainers hurt both you and themselves so avoid them at all cost.

Positive people aren’t cheery and bright by accident, but because they separate themselves from the negative energy.

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6. Looking for other people’s approval.

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” Steve Jobs

Through socialization, we adopt an unnatural need to look for the external stimulants in a form of others’ approval. We carefully analyze our behavior so that we aren’t judged and pointed out by the society.

The truth is, however, the crowd is a bad indicator for what’s right for you. It’s because the masses aren’t authentic to their true selves. Instead, they stick to current norms and go with the flow.

The fact is, you will be completely fine once you face disapproval. Furthermore, you’ll be proud of abandoning the need for validation.

However, when you keep pay attention to how others perceive you, you become a slave. In lieu of pursuing your passions and sticking to your own rules, you go against yourself to please others.

The unavoidable consequence is a life full of regret which you definitely don’t want to live.

This article is a good starting point to discover the stuff you don’t need anyone’s approval for.

6. Saying yes when you mean no.

The ability to say no at the right moment is what defines a fully grown-up and responsible person. Plenty of adults still struggle to develop this precious skill. As a result, they end up lost in unnecessary commitments, tons of debt, excess obligations and negative emotions.

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You should never agree on something only to please others. This usually leads to problems and actually hurts both you and the person that asked for a favor.

When deep in your mind you feel like you should say no, it’s the best sign to do so. You know better what’s good for you so don’t let others influence your decisions.

Choosing between “yes” and “no” properly is a huge indicator of self-respect and confidence which are one of the key elements for more positivity in your life.

7. Contemplating about your past mistakes.

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

L.M. Montgomery

Whatever messy and awkward things you did in the past should stay in the past. There’s no need to regret your bygone mistakes. Instead, learn from them and make sure not to repeat them in the future.

You can’t turn back the clock so stop getting back to unpleasant moments only to ruin your mood. Making mistakes is a human nature and the way we learn.

The real mistake isn’t when you it, but when you fail to correct it.

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Oskar Nowik

Oskar is a blogger and the author of "Brightening: The Positive Attitude That Will Change Your Life"

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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