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14 Seemingly Trivial Things That Make You Happy Every Day

14 Seemingly Trivial Things That Make You Happy Every Day

Happy people know that mindset can be the most important piece to the happiness puzzle. Once you understand that your happiness is not reliant on external things like clothing, career, and dress size, you can focus on cultivating happiness from within.

Here are some simple habits you can adopt to change your mindset and increase your happiness.

Get a good night’s sleep

It’s not rocket science: sleep affects mood. After a sleepless night, you may be more irritable and vulnerable to stress. After a good sleep, your mood returns to normal. Humans don’t function well when they are sleep deprived.

Studies have shown that people who are not getting enough sleep lack the adequate levels of the hormone hypocretin, which has been proven to govern joy and happiness. This means that having a good sleep contributes directly to your happiness.

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Spend time in nature

According to a recent study, people who spend 30 minutes a day outdoors report a significant increase in their sense of wellbeing, vitality, and energy, while feelings of stress and negativity, along with sleep disturbances, were all reduced

Drink, touch, and float in water

Neuroscientists, poets, and biologists have all linked our brains to water. Water soothes us, reduces anxiety, and connects us to nature. Water consumption increases our brain’s ability to transmit information. The sensory stimulation of touching or floating in water relaxes us. Even the sound of water can soothe.

Smile

The recent discovery of mirror neurons has proven what happy people have long known: if you are surrounded by smiling happy faces, your brain responds by causing you to smile. The brain secretes the chemicals to increase your happiness when you smile. So, smile and notice the world smiling back.

Make eye contact

Social connection is one of the keys to happiness. The simplest way to establish connection is with eye contact during conversation or just in passing. I like to practice making meaningful eye contact as a way to spread happiness everywhere I go.

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Adopt a good attitude

Optimism is a state which correlates with, but is not identical to, happiness. If you are a person who is looking forward to a life “half-full” rather than “half empty,” you will have a better chance of obtaining more life satisfaction and enjoyment, more satisfying work and marriage, better health and longevity.

Be present

People who meditate report higher levels of happiness, but until recently there was no proof that the meditation was causative. That was, until Matt Killingsworth built an app, Track Your Happiness, that let people report their feelings in real time. Among the surprising results: we’re often happiest when we’re lost in the moment. On the flip side, the more our mind wanders, the less happy we can be.

Dream big dreams

One’s sense of purpose is deeply entwined with happiness. People who have big dreams and actively work towards them are happier. So, surround yourself with other dreamers and with people who are your cheerleaders.

Connect with “your” people

These are the people who are on a similar path and inspire you to keep going. I call them my tribe. You can find your tribe on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, at school, at work, or at the gym. People who feel connected feel happier.

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Enjoy good food

Deepak Chopra advises you to ask yourself: “What am I hungry for?” then really listen to your body. Eating a balanced diet of fresh food makes you feel better, and it tastes great too. It’s amazing how much junk food is consumed simply because we think we don’t have the time to eat well. Nourish your body. It will thank you.

Notice moments of intuition

When the telephone rings and you know it’s your mom, or when you think of a friend you haven’t seen in years and then run into them the very next day — this is your intuition. Develop awareness of things that appear coincidental and start to trust that they aren’t. You will begin to trust your gut instinct with confidence. This self-awareness brings a sense of bliss, which is closely related to happiness.

Listen to music

When you play a song and chills run down your spine, savor this feeling. The ability to be powerfully moved by music is like a little vacation from your daily routine. Think of it as a mini spa for your soul.

Exercise

In addition to being great for your physique, exercise also initiates the release of chemicals that increase positive emotions. Get out and hike, run, swim, or try some Zumba, and notice how quickly your mood changes.

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Laugh

The chemicals released by your body during laughter are transformative and healing. Find time every day for a little bit of laughter.

Happiness is a practice. Just like going to the gym or eating a healthy diet is a lifestyle, so is living a happy life. Once you begin to cultivate the practices to support your happiness, you will begin to notice changes in your relationships, your career, and your attitude.

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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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