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Last Updated on March 11, 2020

10 Simple Steps to Let Go of the Past

10 Simple Steps to Let Go of the Past

Time flies and the past is behind us now. With the times that we’ve left behind, there are several trials and tribulations we go through in life; we learn from our mistakes and move on. However, there are moments we’ve had in the past that we just can’t let go of. We’re brought down, made emotional and we cry thinking about things that should never have happened to us.

But, it’s not the past that defines us. As psychologist Carl Jung says:

“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”

We all choose to become what we desire and want and we should not regret about the things that did not go well in the past as they only make our shoulders heavy and hold us back from a cheerful life.

So how to let go of the past? Here’re 10 steps to try:

1. Recognize That It’s Time to Move On

The hardest part of letting go of the past is trying to make decisions to move on.

Yes, it’s pretty hard to make new choices that can overcome our misdeeds in life but you should always remember that you have a future to share.

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You’ve already paid for the past and if that’s not working out for you, you need to recognize that it’s time to move on.

These signs will tell you that it’s time to move on: It’s Time To Let Go And Move On When You Experience These 21 Things

2. Make a List of Things You Can “Re-Do”

Life does not give you a second chance all the time. But, what you can do is make a list of things that you would have done differently if you could go back in time and do it again.

Making such list will help you to learn from your mistakes while also giving ideas on what things should have been done right. You also develop a skill to plan things and this will surely help you shape your future goals in life.

3. Believe in Yourself

Pain and suffering are parts of everyone’s life and if you believe in yourself, you’ll overcome the grief sooner than everyone else. All you need to do is make sure you know what you are doing and it’ll not let you hold back in forgetting your past.

When you start believing yourself, you develop a positive vibe around you and these feelings you gain will help to overshadow the mistakes and bad memories that haunt you.

4. Meditate

If you’re frustrated and depressed because of things that happened in the past and nothing worked to change your feelings towards it, you need to start meditating.

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Find stillness, remain calm and take long breathes. With meditation, you get to keep yourself away from the busy and fast paced noisy world. You keep yourself away from distractions and make yourself at ease with meditation.

Try out this 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime.

5. Live in the Present

If you don’t enjoy the life that you are living, you future is certainly going to be dark. You should have no regrets that eat up your thinking and you need to live in present. What’s done is done and there’s no going back.

Go on a hike with your friends or dance, sing and do what ever you love to do. It’s make you lively and energize you to focus on things that you need to accomplish right now.

Here’s How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying.

6. Forget the Fear

If you’ve ever failed in the past, chances are it’s developed a sense of fear in you. If you can’t overcome the fear of your failing and wrong-doing, you’ll get tensed and things won’t work out smoothly.

Become a challenger and forget the fear. Think about things that you’re afraid to do and try to perform them, one at a time and overcome the fear. If it’s still difficult, find someone you believe to help you overcome your fear.

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Learn How to Overcome Fear and Realize Your Potential (The Ultimate Guide).

7. Don’t Forget Your Morals and Values

If you’re to perform better in life, you need to stick to your morals and values. There’s no denying that the bad events in life develop a feeling of change in us and changes are not good every time.

Stick to your beliefs and morals to develop a self-esteem and pride. This plays a huge role in order to develop a positive attitude towards your life.

8. Forgive

Mistakes happen but holding back and remembering the same thing again and again will do nothing good to anyone.

If you’ve made mistakes, apologize, console and forgive yourself. If it’s your close ones who’ve hurt you in the past and you just can’t let go of it, acknowledge the fact that they are the one’s you trusted back. You need to learn to forgive and move on to find happiness.

Take a look at these tips to help yourself: How to Forgive and Live a Happy Life Again (A Step-By-Step Guide)

9. Let Go of Anger and Resentment

Anger and resentment are toxic. These feelings will keep you enmeshed in the past. They will bring you down to the ground and hurt you more.

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Letting go of anger will help you to develop positive attitude and you might want to punch on the wall or a pillow, or scream; do it. Vent your anger and frustration. It might take time, but after you leave anger and resentment, you’ll start feeling fresh.

Find out how you can let go of your resentment in this article: How to Let Go of Resentment and Anger

10. Realize That You Did What You Could Do Best

Perceptions shape our feelings and actions. The way you respond to what you did in your past will help you decide on your present and future.

If you’ve a feeling of guilt or remorse at things you could have done better, realize that you did what you could do best at that moment. If you acknowledge the fact, you’ll also learn that your effort was never intended to go in vain. This will keep you motivated to improve and thrive for the better in the future.

More Tips About Letting Go

Featured photo credit: Spencer Backman via unsplash.com

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Grishma Giri

Grishma Giri is a passionate writer who shares about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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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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