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7 Inspiring TED Talks That’ll Help You Get Through Difficult Times

7 Inspiring TED Talks That’ll Help You Get Through Difficult Times

Are you facing adversities and in need of positive messages to help you get through difficult days? All of us have to deal with feelings of failure, loneliness, and blah-ness. Sometimes we lack focus, calmness or positivity.

I’m excited to pass on the following 7 TED Talk videos that are both comforting and inspiring. TED Talks motivate the viewer to take action to make a change in their lives.

During difficult times, we might feel confused and unclear about how to move ahead. Taking a time out for some Ted Talks is a positive step forward.

Try one of the following and be inspired today!

1. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you could benefit from using this “10 Minutes a Day” technique.

This is a great 10-minute video from Andy Puddicombe explaining the necessity for keeping the mind healthy. His positive technique involves doing absolutely nothing for 10 minutes each day. Simple, eh?

The benefits are huge. You’ll experience a greater sense of calmness in your life, particularly if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

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Andy contrasts his positive technique with the negative ways people often handle being overwhelmed. These include burying yourself in work or taking medication.

You can’t change every little thing that happens to you in life.  However, after listening to Andy, you’ll know how to change the way you handle life’s experiences.

2. If you’re feeling like a failure, you might be ready to learn this important key to success.

In this 6 minute video, Angela Duckworth explains her view that the key to success isn’t necessarily being smart. Her message, backed by her own research, focuses on having grit. That’s her key ingredient for success.

Angela suggests that it’s okay to fail or to be wrong. Failure isn’t a permanent situation. Simply start over again—but this time, be gritty.

3. If you’re feeling alone, you could try clarifying what is most meaningful in your life.

Candy Chang gives a brief talk about what life meant to her after she lost someone she loved dearly. She realized she wasn’t alone when she conducted an experiment. She asked many people the question, “Before I die I want to … ” and received some thought-provoking answers.

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Have you thought about what is most meaningful in your life? Just refuse to let day-to-day pressure dominate your life. You’ll find you have time for friendship and community involvement. That lonely feeling will be lessened.

Be inspired by Candy’s account of her creative community activity. It’s a video of reflection and contemplation and how thinking about death clarifies life.

4. If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, you’ll probably enjoy following this 30-Day Challenge technique.

In this TED talk, Matt Cutts details his special technique—the 30 Day Challenge—guaranteed to move anyone out of the rut they’re in. Matt challenges you to make small, sustainable changes to your life. You’ll build self-confidence through achieving the changes you make.

Follow Matt’s ideas to make your moments more memorable. It’s true, as Matt says, that if you really want something badly enough, 30 days gives a reasonable time frame within which to accomplish your goal. It would, don’t you agree?

Well, take on Matt’s challenge and move ahead from today. This 3 minute video should bring lots of positive results with it. Well, what are you waiting for?

5. If you’re feeling stressed, you might find the key you’ve been looking for to unlock your feelings.

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In this 10 minute video, Tara Igoe shares how she found her way back from the darkest period of her life. She views stress as a trigger to start thinking deeply about our feelings, so we understand them more.

Follow Tara’s steps to unlocking your feelings and free yourself from the grip of stress.

Do you always experience stress and anxiety as negative situations? Instead, find freedom by viewing these feelings as opportunities for transformation.

You’ll find this video enlightening as it brings a different angle to coping with stress.

6. If you’re feeling negative, you can focus on the good things in your life to bring that smile back.

Alison Ledgerwood gives a thought-provoking talk about changing from a negative to a positive frame of mind. She admits that making such a change isn’t easy.

Why does failure stick in our minds longer than success? Alison answers this question and others.

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What can you take away from this talk? You’ll leave being more aware of why negatives tend to stick in the mind. With this knowledge, you can use Alison’s quick way of changing negative feelings into happy ones.

Adopt this simple idea that will make you smile.

7. If you’re feeling blah, you can lift your spirits quickly by marveling at the music created by this young violinist.

Are you feeling blah or very ordinary about your life just now? Let Sirena Huang, a brilliant 11-year-old violinist, work her magic on you.

This is a feel-good TED Talk. You’ll relax as you marvel at her performance. It’s obvious that Sirena loves playing her instrument. You’ve probably heard the saying that music is food for the soul. Well, prepare yourself for the beauty of the music that this young person creates to feed your soul.

You’ll be amazed at how uplifted you’ll feel.

If you’re facing adversities, I hope you’ve found comfort and inspiration from viewing the above TED Talk videos. They contain many actionable ideas that can lift you up from even your darkest moments. So try some of these to put a smile back on your face. Hopefully they’ll transform your pain into purpose.

Featured photo credit: Andy Puddicombe All it takes is 10 mindful minutes via tedcdnpi-a.akamaihd.net

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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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