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25 Websites Other Than Social Media To Upgrade Your Life

25 Websites Other Than Social Media To Upgrade Your Life

Have you been spending too much of your time on social media recently? Is that making much of your internet usage wasteful? Social media can be so addictive, so much that we spend hours on it without really noticing.

While social media does contribute in healthy discussions and is also our primary source of news and ideas at times, it’s equally likely to encourage us to refrain from learning something useful in our lives. It’s very important to keep our social media usage in check if we want to enrich ourselves with great learning experiences and upgrade our lives.

Here are 25 great websites which you should check if you want to escape from the vicious trap of social media and live a life full of knowledge, joy, and inspiration.

1. Coursera

1

    Coursera offers MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) on wide range of subjects from hundreds of institutions and renowned professors. You can teach yourself anything from history to programming and learn with a large online community. You can receive a world class education right from your home for free and develop a solid background in a subject area of your interest.

    2. edX

    2

      edX is another MOOC platform where you can take online courses from the finest universities in the world. It was initiated as a joint venture by MIT and Harvard University. It also offers hundreds of courses in different subject areas, similar to Coursera.

      3. Khan Academy

      3

        At Khan Academy, you can access a wide-ranging library of interactive content on almost every subject out there. You don’t only learn those subjects through wonderful videos, but you also have chance to practice on the subject regularly and keep track of your learning. It’s a great platform to both learn new things and expand on earlier knowledge.

        4. Udemy

        4

          Udemy is also a MOOC provider, but unlike academic MOOC providers like Coursera and edX, it focuses on providing real-world skills online. It offers courses on topics from building an ecommerce site and playing guitar to photography. It’s actually a marketplace for online learning, where experts on different subjects offer you lessons, either for free or at a certain price.

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          5. Quora

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            You can learn almost anything on Quora from experts and recognized people, as well as not-so-famous people. This is a question-answer platform where users ask and answer questions. But, unlike other similar sites, the user profiles are authentic and questions and answers are managed according to their uniqueness and relevance.

            6. Stack Overflow

            6

              Stack Overflow is probably the single most important site for a programmer. If you’re a programmer, or want to learn programming, this site should easily be your best friend. At this question-answer site for programmers, you can ask questions about your computing difficulties and learn from other people’s answers.

              7. Codeacademy

              7

                At Codeacademy, you can learn programming languages like HTML, CSS, PHP, and Python in a very easy and interactive way. It makes programming a fun activity and is very handy for beginners starting at programming. However, the depth it covers is very shallow and this site is helpful only for introductory knowledge of the subject.

                8. Tutorialspoint

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                  Tutorialspoint is another programming and computer science related site on this list, which helps you master different computer-related topics. It provides in-depth knowledge, unlike Codecademy. You can grow on the basic foundation provided by Codeacademy and achieve mastery on anything from Big Data to App Development at Tutorialspoint.

                  9. eHow

                  9

                    eHow teaches you wide array of skills on different topics step-by-step. The content is created by its team of writers, called experts, who create how-to guides on topics from personal hygiene to food recipes. You can learn anything from making a Raspberry Pi Alarm clock to making a scarecrow for your garden.

                    10. Wikihow

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                      WikiHow is another how-to site teaching us how to do things in an organized manner, but it has been modeled as a Wiki. At eHow, the staff themselves are paid to create the guides, but at Wikihow, everyone can edit, modify, and delete content. So, it’s not just about learning — you can also teach others the valuable skills you possess.

                      11. HowStuffWorks

                      11

                        HowStuffWorks is another wonderful website to broaden your horizons, providing you with very unique and interesting information on a wide range of topics. It contains articles focusing on issues which haven’t been explored much previously. If you want to move an inch closer to the truth, this is surely the website you should visit often.

                        12. TED

                        12

                          According to TED, its mission is to spread ideas that are worth spreading. It features talks on variety of topics by experts in their fields who share their ideas, visions, and experiences through video talks. These talks are great way to introduce yourself very quickly and effortlessly to new concepts and develop new insights and perspectives.

                          13. Lumosity

                          13

                            Lumosity is a great website to improve your mental faculties like memory, attention, and analytical skills. You can train your brain with fun games, and it also offers you personalized training programs to restructure the training as per your needs and keep track of the progress. Its objective is to make you clever, and it’s quite addictive as well.

                            14. Duolingo

                            14

                              Duolingo is an award-winning platform that helps you learn and master new languages with minimal effort. It provides you advanced skills in several popular languages, such as Spanish, English, German, and French. It makes language learning a very easy and fun process and it’s completely free as well.

                              15. Instructables

                              15

                                Instructables is another wonderful site you should definitely choose over social media, which teaches you to create things. It offers you fun videos and instructions to build just about everything that you can imagine, from a cardboard batman cowl to water balloon mortar. You can also share what you can make with other people.

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                                16. Digital Photography School

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                                  Digital Photography School is probably the most important photography blog out there, which offers plenty of tutorials to improve your photography skills. It doesn’t matter if you’ve years of experience under your belt or you’re just starting out, this site will surely help you grow as a photographer. It also provides you the opportunity to connect with a community of fellow photographers.

                                  17. All Recipes

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                                    At All Recipes, you can find recipes for almost all kind of dishes. You can even enter ingredients and find possible dishes you can cook with your available list of ingredients. There are very easy and quick-to-cook recipes as well, so you can satisfy your palate in a short time and without much hastle. This one is definitely the site to help you embark on a cooking adventure.

                                    18. Spreeder

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                                      Reading quickly is an ability desired by many of us but also one which very few of us possess. Spreeder is there to help us achieve exactly that. It is an online speed-reading software that aims to help us improve our reading speed, and comprehension capabilities as well, and is completely free.

                                      19. Project Gutenberg

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                                        Project Gutenberg offers you more than 50,000 eBooks, all for free. You can download these books in ePUB, Kindle, or PDF formats, or you can even read them online. This site is completely legal as well, since the books available are ones with copyrights that have expired or that have been made free for non-commercial use by the publishers.

                                        20. Investopedia

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                                          Investopedia is your ultimate finance guru that teaches you everything you need to know about financial trends and also helps you to keep your own personal finance in their best shape. With this site, you can teach yourself about investments, share markets, liquidity, accounts, and much more. There are abundant tutorials and videos to help you with that as well.

                                          21. Curious

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                                            Curious provides you with more than 17,000 lessons in almost any topic. As the site states, its mission is to help you learn something new every day and you can start it for free, but you have to pay certain amount to get unauthorized access.  You can learn from the world’s best teachers in topics spanning across humanities, STEM, music, relationships, and more.

                                            22. Memrise

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                                              Memrise helps you learn new things in small chunks. It offers small-sized learning packages in a wide range of topics, from language learning, arts and literature, history, and geography to math and science. The lessons are additive in nature, meaning you learn small packages at a time and build upon earlier packages to learn advanced skills.

                                              23. Zen Habits

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                                                Zen Habits is one of the best motivational blogs on the web, which aims to help you find simplicity amidst the chaos of your daily life. It helps you get rid of the mess and focus on the things that are important and that matter the most to you. The site’s design also embodies its principle, as it’s minimalistic and publishes only the best and most meaningful articles.

                                                24. Brain Pickings

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                                                  Brain Pickings is not just another productivity blog in the crowd out there, it’s one of the most soulful and inspiring blogs on the web. It features thoughtful and analytical articles on topics related to literature, spirituality, creativity, and personal growth. Its focus is on things that truly help us grow and things that really matter, and the blog’s not very hard to keep up with either, as it posts few but powerful articles.

                                                  25. Psychology Today

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                                                    Psychology Today teaches you about various facets of human psychology, helping you to understand the ways in which people behave. Its rich pool of articles help you fathom different aspects of human life, such as relationships, neuroscience, addiction, motivation, amongst others. You can benefit by applying these principles to the betterment of your life.

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                                                    Nabin Paudyal

                                                    Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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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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