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100 Tiny Swaps That Can Make Your Life Totally Different

100 Tiny Swaps That Can Make Your Life Totally Different

Small things add up. If you want to improve your life, check out these 100 small swaps you can make today to improve various aspects of your life, making you happier, healthier, and more productive.

Happiness

1. Swap texting for a phone call. Even if you initially feel shy or awkward, once you are used to making phone calls you will find them faster and more enjoyable!

2. Swap sitting on social media for an hour for Skyping with a friend. You will have more fun and you will strengthen a bond with someone you love.

3. Swap each complaint for gratitude. The world will seem like a more positive place when you change your outlook.

4. Swap watching television to reading a book. It is more peaceful and relaxing, and nothing feels better than getting lost in a book.

5. Swap playing on your phone for taking a walk. People can waste hours checking Twitter and Instagram on their phones – instead of looking at filtered pictures, go get some fresh air and enjoy the outdoors.

6. Swap stressing for meditation – it is much more likely to relax you.

7. Swap frowning for smiling – it will help you to feel happier and more positive.

8. Swap safe clothes for your favourite top to feel more confident.

9. Swap falling asleep whenever for setting a bedtime – this will improve your sleeping habits and the quality of your sleep.

10. Swap seething for venting. If you feel annoyed, talking it out will help to relax you and clear your head.

11. Swap ignoring strangers for smiling at them. It will improve your mood – and theirs!

12. Swap over-planning for saying “no.” If you don’t want to do something, be honest. You will be happier for it!

13. Swap being alone for throwing a gathering with your friends. It is better for your mental wellbeing and a great way to maintain friendships!

14. Embrace your flaws instead of worrying about them. No one is perfect, and everyone should embrace their uniqueness.

15. Instead of forcing friendships, let some people go. Not all friendships last forever and trying to maintain bad ones is often stressful.

16. Swap sitting inside for sitting outside when the weather is good. The park is a beautiful, atmospheric place to read a book or get some work done.

17. Swap passive-aggressive behaviour for upfront honesty. It is better for your emotional state to work out problems rather than skirt around them.

18. Instead of being pessimistic, be optimistic. You weren’t born one or the other; it is a choice how you choose to see the world.

19. Swap uncomfortable heels for shoes you love. If you are comfortable, you will be happier and more confident.

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20. Swap driving alone for carpooling. You will save money on petrol and have fun with your coworkers!

21. Swap worrying about previous mistakes for focusing on the future. The past is set in stone, but anything could happen in your future.

22. Instead of overeating when you are upset, journal your feelings. This will help you to deal with and work through your problems.

23. Instead of criticising yourself, try praising yourself.

24. Instead of sitting at home with no plans, volunteer with a local charity.

25. Instead of trying to please everyone, realize that you can’t actually please everyone. It is better to focus on pleasing yourself and your loved ones.

Productivity

26. Instead of doing nothing on your commute, do some work to make it more productive.

27. Instead of under-planning, write a to-do list when you start work so you know exactly what you need to do.

28. Instead of treating yourself when shopping, start an emergency fund. You never know when you will need it!

29. Instead of procrastinating, improve your resume.

30. Swap working late for starting early. Most people are at their most productive when they first wake up.

31. Swap procrastination for planning. If you don’t feel like working right now, you can at least set a time to start.

32. Instead of working a job you dislike, create a start-up company that you feel passionate about.

33. Swap a lay-in for an early morning to have a more productive, successful day.

34. Swap daunting goals for small milestones so you can watch your progress more accurately.

35. Instead of spending freely, set a budget so you know where your money goes.

36. Swap a cluttered workplace for a clean one for a more productive working day.

37. Swap working on lots of tasks for working on one. Research shows that we are less productive when we multitask.

38. Instead of buying a new car, start to save for your retirement.

39. Instead of watching TV, take night classes to advance your skills.

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40. Instead of emailing throughout the night for work, switch off your phone and reply to all of the emails during work hours.

41. Instead of emailing throughout the working day, set times aside to check your email so you can focus on your other work.

42. Instead of being unsure of your progress, set goals so that you can see your success.

43. Instead of keeping your keys on you, set aside a place in your home where you can keep them so you never waste time looking for them.

44. Swap spending for saving. Simply saving $10 a week will make a huge difference after one year.

45. Instead of making a list of things to do in your mind, write it down so you can see what you need to do.

46. Instead of feeling baffled, use the internet to find the answers to all of your questions.

47. Instead of struggling to focus at work, try to accomplish something every hour.

48. Swap excuses for honesty. You will achieve more when you are realistic about yourself!

49. Swap too-much technology for the right amount. Delete social apps you don’t use and install new ones that will help you to work.

50. Instead of working endlessly, work for 50 minutes, take a 10-minute break, and repeat.

Exercise

51. Swap driving to work for cycling. It is great for your body and the fresh air will help to wake you up.

52. Swap taking the lift for taking the stairs.

53. Instead of taking a nap, go to the gym to wake up and get your blood pumping.

54. Swap doing nothing before your shower for some exercise. You’re already washing yourself, may as well get sweaty first!

55. Swap driving to the local shop for walking.

56. Swap guessing how to get fit for a personal trainer.

57. Swap getting a taxi for getting a bus. The walk to the bus will be good for your heart.

58. Swap playing online for playing on the Wii. There are tonnes of fun games that get you moving around!

59. Swap a workout you hate for a workout you enjoy. If you don’t like squats, don’t do them!

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60. Swap exercising immediately for warming up.

61. Instead of working out alone, work out with a friend to make it more fun.

62. Swap no exercise for 10 sit-ups before you go to sleep.

63. Swap running on a treadmill for running outside. The terrain is often more rocky and uphill so you get more of a workout.

64. Swap your office chair for an exercise ball.

65. Instead of holding the bar when you run on a treadmill, go hands-free. This will challenge your body more, so you will get more out of your workout.

66. Swap a movie date for an active date. Walking around the park is just as fun – and cheaper!

67. Swap running for walking if you are unfit. Run until you can’t, and then move to walking – this way you can build up your stamina.

68. Swap planks for crunches to get great abs.

69. Swap sitting at work for standing for 10 minutes every hour.

70. Swap no exercise for a morning jog. This is great for your heart and mental health!

71. Instead of working out in old clothes, work out in new workout clothes that you love. It will help you to feel more confident in yourself, pushing you to achieve more.

72. Instead of doing the same old workout, make it more intense. This will push your body and improve your fitness quickly!

73. Instead of watching your children play, join in with them. This is one of the most fun ways you can work out – and your children will love it!

74. Swap taking the escalator for taking the stairs.

75. Swap snoozing for doing some yoga next to your bed for 15 minutes.

Diet

76. Swap depriving yourself of food for moderation. You can still enjoy food while being healthy!

77. Instead of eating out for dinner, cook for yourself. It will be cheaper – and often it is more healthy.

78. Swap a meat dinner for a vegetarian dinner. This is often better for your body and the environment.

79. Swap a glass of OJ for an actual orange. You miss out on the fibres when you drink juice, so you don’t get the full benefits.

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80. Swap buying fruit and vegetables at your local store for your farmers’ market. According to the USDA, it may be healthier, and it promotes local food trade.

81. Drink a glass of water instead of a fizzy drink. It will be better for you, but equally as hydrating.

82. Swap pre-made dressings for your own. You can make a great dressing with just lemon juice, pepper, and balsamic oil!

83. Instead of deep-frying food, pan-fry the food to make it healthier – but just as delicious.

84. Swap popsicles for frozen grapes. They are just as sweet and refreshing!

85. Swap normal tea for green tea to help detox your body.

86. Instead of overeating at a restaurant, take a doggy bag home for later. The food will still be good!

87. Eat slowly instead of quickly to improve your digestive system.

88. Swap a quick breakfast for a healthy breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day, so eat something healthy to set yourself up for a productive day.

89. Swap lettuce for other dark leaves. Spinach and kale have more flavour and more vitamins!

90. Cook with whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta to get more fibre in your diet.

91. Swap soda for tonic water as a healthier alternative.

92. If you like dips, go for salsa instead of cheesy dips. It is just as tasty, but it is far better for you!

93. Swap crisps for popcorn if you want a healthier salty snack.

94. Swap beef for fish once a week. Fish is great for your heart, and you can make some seriously delicious meals with it!

95. Instead of skipping meals and snacking, make sure you always eat 3 meals every day.

96. Pack lunch for work instead of buying sandwiches while you are out – it is much cheaper and healthier!

97. Swap white rice for brown rice when you are cooking at home as a healthy alternative.

98. Swap mayonnaise for mustard if you want to keep the flavor but cut down on calories.

99. Swap bacon for turkey if you like to eat meat but you want to cut down on salt.

100. Use avocado instead of butter on your toast in the morning for a tasty, healthy breakfast.

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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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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