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15 Science-Backed Ways To Cheer Yourself Up

15 Science-Backed Ways To Cheer Yourself Up

It’s always useful to know how to cheer up, since the older we get the more stressed out we become. There are numerous reasons why we experience inner turmoil and start to feel a bit depressed. It can be a mid-life crisis, anxiety, stress at work, or even overthinking things that brings us down, but too much negativity is never good for one’s wellbeing, which is why the following techniques can come in handy.

1. Take some time off

If you are stressed out due to the nature of your work, it goes without saying that you should take some time off or ask for sick leave. Our jobs are daily doses of stress, and even though we are really resilient, pushing your limits won’t do you any good. The brain is like a muscle, it needs time to heal in order to be fully functional again.

So, by taking some time off, you lessen the strain on the stress neurotransmitters in your brain, allowing it to rejuvenate. If you nurture your brain properly, you’ll be far more productive and a lot less pressured.

2. Start to exercise

When you are angry, a good workout is great for blowing off some steam, but if you are generally running low on energy, then you should start exercising regularly and make it a new healthy habit. It’s good for your health, thus it directly affects your mood. You’ll be in shape and have more confidence, and you’ll have more energy, thereby feeling less mentally exhausted in general.

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3. Get up and start cleaning

Much like exercise, constantly maintaining good hygiene in your home is a healthy habit. First of all, when everything is in order and neatly organized, you get to experience a sense of achievement, which will always cheer you up. Second, if you live in a place with a nice scent, and filled with fresh air, you will feel good. If the space you are living in is cramped up, with all sorts of items lying around, the air cannot circulate as it is supposed to, and there is a chance of foul odors emerging over time.

4. Get a little shut eye

Not getting enough sleep is often a major source of unhappiness. As mentioned earlier, when we are awake and constantly thinking about problems, our stress neurotransmitters are more active. Their activity is significantly reduced during sleep, allowing us to heal. You know what they say: when you can’t make the right decision, sleep on it.

5. Plan your vacation

We all love to go on vacations, but unfortunately, we usually feel sad once our vacation is over. However, it was proven that planning your vacation and daydreaming about the various locations you are going to visit can have a positive impact on your health. The study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, revealed how planning and anticipating a vacation can boost one’s happiness for eight weeks.

6. Spend time with your friends

Spending time with your friends is a great way to cheer up, mainly because we are reminded of all the good times we had with those people. There is a tribe in Africa called Bemba (or Babemba) that has an incredible custom. Whenever someone does something wrong, the person is not punished, instead that person is placed at the center of the tribe and all of the tribe members gather around that person to tell stories.

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The stories are about all the good that the person has done so far, about all the positive traits that person possesses. This ceremony lasts for a few days and the person is embraced back into the tribe. They believe that when a person does something wrong, they need to be reminded of all their good deeds and get back on the right path. This is why you need to surround yourself with friends and be reminded of all the good times you have spent together, it will definitely cheer you up.

7. Move closer to work

Believe it or not, the mere act of commuting to work can make us unhappy, mainly because we are wasting precious time on the road. Therefore, if you want to improve your mood, you can change your location and be closer to work — this convenience will work in your favor. Of course, it may not be really easy to make happen, and you’ll need money, but the rewards are plentiful.

8. Become generous

Generosity will certainly make you feel good about yourself. You are making positive impacts and you are doing it because you want to, not because someone made you do it. If you are feeling guilty because of something, and need to reassure yourself that you are a good person, giving money or lending a helping hand to a good cause can help improve your mental state.

9. Adopt a dog

Sure, it can be somewhat troublesome to raise a dog, train them to listen to you, and teach them some tricks, but we all know that these lovely creatures are the most loyal of friends. Dogs won’t judge you, dogs won’t argue with you, they will simply be happy to see you. With a dog by your side, you’ll never be lonely. It is also worth mentioning that if you are allergic to fur, you should steer away from this suggestion.

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10. Accomplish tasks

To cheer up, you need to fill yourself with a sense of achievement. So, you can by start analyzing your situation and seeing all the minor improvements you can make in your life. These small tasks will easily motivate you to focus on something positive, and whenever you cross something off this list, you will be rewarded with a sense of achievement.

11. Try writing

Remember the time when we were kids and had diaries to write down our thoughts? Maybe this is not such a bad idea, even now. You can write journals, or even write novels — whatever helps you channel your negative feelings. Who knows, maybe it will turn out to be a good story, and maybe you’ll grow to like this new hobby. All things considered, this cannot be a bad thing.

12. Undergo self-hypnosis

Did you know that you can hypnotize yourself? It’s not the same as going to the therapist, but it has a real therapeutic effect. You can uncover what subconscious events have triggered your bad mood, and you can give yourself some constructive suggestions on how to be happier. Of course, you’ll need to be relaxed and create conditions for this to work, but it might be the self-help you need.

Here’s a more thorough guide on how to achieve self-hypnosis and help yourself overcome some of the psychological obstacles that were keeping you back.

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13. Seek catharsis

As mentioned, physical activity can be one form of catharsis for your emotions, but a good book or a movie can do the trick as well. You can also watch a sports game and yell at your team if they are playing badly, or cheer them on as they triumph — both have a positive effect on your mood. A video game can also help if you are sad or harboring some built-up rage.

14. Watch something that soothes you

Although it has not been confirmed, scientist speculate that looking at the color blue can have some positive effects on your mind. However, it was confirmed that looking at fine art or at old pictures of happy events can cheer you up. You can even look at funny pictures or memes on the internet — that usually works for me.

15. Work on your looks

Finally, if you look good, you’ll feel better. In other words, when you are down, try working on your style and looks. It will boost your confidence, bring some innovation into your life, and ultimately make you feel better. Just don’t go on a shopping rampage, because spending a lot of money will nullify these effects.

Well, there you have it, a number of (mostly) easy ways to cheer yourself up. Make sure you try some or all of them out whenever you are feeling under the weather.

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Djordje Todorovic

Blogger, Gamer Extraordinaire

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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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