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How Satisfied Are You With Your Life? Check These Graphs Out

How Satisfied Are You With Your Life? Check These Graphs Out

We only live once. Who doesn’t want to make the best out of it? Below are three graphs that illustrate the important things we should have in our lives in order to be more satisfied.

Note that these graphs are used to illustrate some key ideas but not based on science or aligning with strict maths rules.

motivation_hand

    How Motivated Are You?

    You may think that the more motivated someone is, the happier he/she is and hence life satisfaction would be greater. However, note that motivation is just about enthusiasm, it doesn’t include planning or setting goals, which are the fundamentally important steps to achieve something. When we’re motivated, we can be encouraged to perform better, or blinded by the excitement brought by it. When one is motivated but lacks reasoning and a clear mindset, he can end up being overwhelmed and in a worse situation than having little motivation. This is why the life satisfaction curve fluctuates so much in the graph. Either you’re highly motivated or rarely motivated, it’s hard to decide your level of life satisfaction.

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    Then, what’s the gap between motivation and life satisfaction? When goals are set, performance usually would be better, hence making us more satisfied. That’s why Lifehack always encourages users to add goals.

    See the below graph about the relationship between number of goals and level of life satisfaction.

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    number of goals_hand

      Number of Goals

      Without clear goals, tremendous motivation wouldn’t be enough.

      But does it mean we should have as many goals as possible? No, quantity isn’t always directly proportional to quality. There is an optimal number. Once that number is exceeded, we can be easily overwhelmed. We’ll lose focus and can only make small progress for each little goal. To fully untap your potential, focus is essential.

      How many is the best? There is no absolute answer. It depends. Some people can only focus on one goal at a time, some can focus on five at a time.

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      Signs that you’re taking too few goals

      • you don’t know your direction
      • you can’t tell what you’re going to do next
      • what you describe is very vague that you can’t remember well too
      • you’re always thinking about the utopia and rarely take any actions

      Signs that you’re taking too many goals

      • you always feel that you have too little time
      • you can’t remember how many goals you have
      • you feel overwhelmed

      Signs that you’re having the optimal number of goals

      • you know what you’re working on and what you’ll work on next
      • you can state and elaborate all your goals to someone very clearly
      • you work hard and play hard

      What’s even more important than the number of goals?

      Before the “optimal number” line, the curve is still fluctuating, like the first graph. It is because there is one more important factor than the number. It is how well you stick to your goals, i.e. how you work towards them. Overall, the more goals we have (before reaching the optimal number), the more satisfied we would be with our life. But the level of satisfaction fluctuates a bit since goals being set does not mean goals being stuck with or achieved. Remember how many times you’ve written down a list of new year resolutions and forgotten them after a month? Don’t be frustrated though! That’s already a big step!

      growth_hand

        The Most Important Factor: How Well You Stick To Your Goals

        The most important factor is the hardest to be fulfilled. At the same time, as you can see from the graph, the return is promising. The better we stick to our goals, the greater our life satisfaction is. Such growth is exponential as what we’ve achieved would help us advance more quickly and hence contributes to even larger increase in satisfaction.

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        However, it’s often hard to start by yourself. It’s always good to seek help and learn from others. Lifehack Goal Setting System is a hearty system that makes every small progress counts. By providing practical and useful articles, users would be guided through the process and achieve remarkable outcomes.

        Note that how you set your goals is also extremely important. When the goals are too vague, they’re not much different from motivation, which means it’ll lead you back to the situation illustrated in the first graph. A good example is “I always stare at a screen and that hurts my eyes. I want to keep my eyes naturally healthy!“.

        Maybe you would ask why it is “how well we stick to our goals” instead of “how many goals are achieved”. This is because goals mainly act as a roadmap/direction for us to follow through. As long as we make progress towards it, it is a kind of growth that will make us happier.

        Setting goals

        According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, concrete prosocial goals can boost our happiness better than non-social ones. You may take this into account when setting your own goals.

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        Chloe Chong

        Chloe is a social media expert and shares 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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