Advertising
Advertising

Make These 15 Small Changes If You Want To Become Happier And Healthier

Make These 15 Small Changes If You Want To Become Happier And Healthier

So you want to be happier and healthier. If you want to make  a life change for the better there are several different ways to get you there. It’s not difficult at all once you gain an understanding of your choices and you are willing to take action.

I have no doubt that the items on this list will put a smile on your face and a spring in your step.

1. Volunteer to Help Others

Sometimes we forget that there are others who need our help. When we give to others we come away with a sense of satisfaction that can’t be replicated.

Think of a time you’ve been there for someone and you will remember that feeling. Make this notion of serving others part of your weekly routine. You will be providing a life change for two people – yourself and the recipient of your kindness.

On a smaller scale you could also make ‘giving compliments’ part of your daily routine – this also has a pleasing affect on your mood and it’s a nice thing to do for others.

2. Wake Up Earlier

Getting up just a half an hour earlier than you need to can help you to feel calmer, more in control and generally happier.

Staying ahead of things means your’e avoiding the rush and cutting down on stress. Practise this every day and ultimately you will be happier and healthier.

3. Spend Money on Experiences

Researchers have found that spending money on items isn’t really what makes us happy. It may please us for a short while, but really what makes us happy is to spend our money on experiences.

Advertising

So, go and book yourself  a day trip away to somewhere beautiful and cancel that order for the new laptop.

4. Laugh, Cry and Have Sex

Here are three ways to release endorphins (happy hormones) which will lift your mood in no time.

Who would have thought that crying could make you feel good. Well, it makes sense in a way as we know already that holding in tears doesn’t make us feel very good. The relief of letting it all out brings about happy emotions – so don’t hold back the next time you feel like blubbing.

We already know that sex is good for our health as it’s fantastic exercise but now that we know it’s good for our mood there’s no more excuses not to have a good romp.

5. Drink Almond Milk

Almond milk has many fantastic benefits while dairy milk can wreak havoc on the human body. Stay away from dairy and use almond milk as a replacement – your cardiovascular and skeletal system will benefit and you will also have better skin. This is definitely a small life change that will result in a healthier you.

6. Smile

Smiling releases endorphins or happy hormones which enhances mood.

If you put a pen horizontally between your teeth for a few minutes you will be forced to smile and your mood will thank you. This well researched phenomenon is an immediate fix for anyone who’s a bit in need of a lift.

A good tool to use here would be to take out an old photo album (that doesn’t contain upsetting photo’s) and flick through the pages. You will be smiling so much you’ll be feeling happy in no time.

Advertising

7. Surround Yourself with Happy Healthy Folk

Our habits and our moods rub off on one another. We are impressionable beings both on an energy and psychological level.

If we are in a group of happy people for the afternoon we will inevitably feel happy as we make our journey home. So choose your company wisely and your mood will escalate steadily.

8. Breathe Properly

People get stressed and their breathing becomes shallow – they forget how to breathe properly.

Anytime you notice your breathing speed up and become shallow, stop what your’e doing and inhale deeply – hold for a second and let it out slowly. Repeat a few times until your breathe naturally slows down on it’s own.

You will feel relaxed and renewed after this exercise. It’s good for your lungs, your digestion, your circulatory system and of course it’s great for managing stress.

9. Expose Yourself To Humour

Just as with your choice of company – be careful about what other things you are exposed to. Watch lots of good comedy on T.V, read humorous books and listen to happy music.

We each have our own taste, but Melissa McCarthy does it for me every time.

10. Write a Pot List

This is like a baby bucket list. It’s a list of the top ten small things you wanna do in the next month. It could be something simple like going sailing or something more lasting like a new tattoo or rescuing a  dog. It’s completely up to you. There are so many adventures out there big and small just waiting to be realised. Now it’s your turn to have a little fun.

Advertising

11. Change Your Sleep Routine

For about a year now, I have been going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning. People compliment me and say that I look really well and I’m pretty sure it’s down to my sleep pattern.

I don’t feel tired anymore – I’ m careful to get at least eight hours sleep every night. Of course there will be exceptions to this but as a rule have your set hours for getting up and going to bed.

12. Connect with Something Bigger than Yourself

Connecting with something like a community group, religion, nature or the universe is a surefire way to invite happiness into your life.

Get involved in a spiritual group or maybe something of interest to you in the community. There is always very positive energy in activities involving music and dance.

13. Eat, Drink and be Merry

Now don’t get all excited – I mean in moderation.

Those endorphins are just so easy to manufacture – turns out we can make even more if we drink wine (a glass a day), eat dark chocolate and spicy food (yummy).

Then we have tea – gingseng makes us happy and green and white tea are particularly healthy. Green tea is a great antioxidant. It does a fantastic job of cleansing our systems and it gets to work on those calories too (nice one!).

So throw out the coffee (go on just do it!) and buy yourself a few boxes of herbal tea. You’ll feel so much better.

Advertising

14. Lift Weights

Lifting weights is all the rage now. It is thought to be the best way to get in shape and it has tremendous benefits for your posture and your muscle strength. Getting in shape makes us happy and you guessed it – healthy.

15. Be Grateful

Gratitude can be used as a tool for happiness and good health. Take some time every day to write down your messages of gratitude and see what happens. Many experts on the laws of the universe say that when you make a statement of gratitude you get more of what you are grateful for.

So if you state – “I am so grateful for my good health” – you will get more good health. I was very ill for some time and using gratitude everyday was a very big help to me.

Happiness and good health are intertwined – you get one then you have the other within your reach.

Taking action on even one or two of the above could have a dramatic effect on your life – so why not have a try and see how you get on. The effects of each change will be a reward in itself and you will build momentum as you work your way through the list.

Whatever you do – don’t forget to smile.

More by this author

How To Discipline Your Kids Using Words 21 Little Things Every Parent Can Do To Make Kids Really Feel Loved What Do Kids Think About Love? Pregnancy At Week 31 Researchers Discover Devastating Results of Childhood Bullying

Trending in Communication

1 5 Real Relationship Goals You Should Actually Strive Toward 2 When You Learn A Second Language, These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen To You 3 15 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Truly Happy 4 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 5 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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

Read Next