“I think that, for most of us, there are times in life when it all just feels like Too Much.” – Therapist, Annie Wright
Life isn’t always easy. There may be times when you stumble and struggle through the day; times when you feel like you’ve had enough. Circumstances where you feel totally overwhelmed. Occasions when you feel sad, depressed, angry or even unloved.
Sometimes, there maybe no apparent reason for these feelings. Other times, they may stem from obvious reasons such as being heartbroken, suffering from anxiety or even a mental illness. It’s okay! We are only human after all. We feel. It’s a part of who we are.
When you feel that life is tough, here are 100 ways to calm yourself, restore the inner peace and make yourself happy. It’s often the simple things in life, that make all the difference.
#1 Be Generous. Give something to a total stranger. Acts of giving make us feel warm and fuzzy inside.
#2 Sit in a coffee shop or a busy street and soak up your surroundings. You don’t have to talk to people.
#3 On the flip side, if being around people is feeling too much for you. Go home. Relax.
#4 Practice self-love. Each day remind yourself that you are a strong, beautiful person, with a lot to offer.
#5 Educate yourself: research what it is you are experiencing. Arm yourself with knowledge and the resources to tackle the problems head on.
#6 Preparation: Write the day’s to-do list the evening before.
#7 Create a dream sanctuary; surround yourself with inspirational quotes and positivity. You can use your laptop and create a folder dedicated to this.
#8 Strengths: Write down a list of 20 of your strengths. [ good communicator, empathetic etc.]
#9 Keep going forward. Keep taking small steps, no matter what. Being stagnant doesn’t serve you. Are you looking to start a business? What steps can you take each day to make that dream a reality.
#10 Walk: Walking helps clear your mind. It offers you a different perspective.
#11 Indulge. Take a day off to spend a whole day doing exactly what you want. Eat what you want. Watch series. Go wild.
#12 Cry: Release all that emotion. You will feel better.
#13 Talk: Call or meet someone in person to chat about problems.
#14 Re-visit an old hobby. If you don’t have one, create one. Paint. Read. Sculpt. Gardening.
#15 Prioritize: Decide what’s important right now. Say no to extra obligations.
#16 Alleviate pressure: Reduce expectations of yourself and others.
#17 Sleep: Get enough rest. Sleep 7-9 hours each night.
#18 Nap: Give yourself a break. Afternoon naps have been shown to increase creativity.
#19 Help: Don’t be afraid to ask someone for help; friend, colleagues or a therapist. Maybe you are struggling emotionally. Maybe you need help with launching a business. Often we get caught up in what we are doing, we forget that help is just a phone call away.
#20 Be silly: Do something that you did as a child. Don’t take life too seriously.
#21 Surround yourself with beauty: Visit an art gallery. Re-instill beauty in your life.
#22 Restore your faith in humanity: Search the internet for inspiring stories.
#23 Surround yourself with positive people who can support you.
#24 Let your hair down: A night out in town might help you blow off some steam.
#25 Meditate: Learn to calm yourself.
#26 Hydrate: Don’t forget to drink enough water.
#27 Check your self-talk. Negative self-talk does not serve you.
#28 Change your self-talk to positive self-talk.
#29 Eat: Make sure you eat healthy foods; if possible,smaller portions.
#30 Watch a silly movie: This can be a welcome distraction.
#31 When you wake up, stretch like you did when you were young.
#32 Shower: A nice warm shower makes you feel good.
#33 If you feel something is wrong physiologically, schedule a meeting with your doctor.
#34 Cuddle: whether it’s your dog, cat, friend or partner. We are human. We require touch.
#35 Intense Exercise: running or even swimming. This will increase energy levels.
#36 Journal: Develop a habit of journaling. This will help free your mind.
#37 Small steps: If you feel overwhelmed by everything, break it all up into small actionable steps.
#38 Gratitude list: Write down a list of 20 things you can be grateful for.
#39 Accomplishments: Write down a list of 20 things you have accomplished so far.Advertising
#40 Remind yourself of the value you have to offer. We are often so good at something, that it becomes second nature. We don’t recognize that it’s something other people can’t easily do. Recognize that value.
#41 Write down the two most important things you want to complete each day.
#42 Wake up. Complete the two most important things. Then do other tasks.
#43 Clean your bedroom. De-cluttering your environment is magical.
#44 Relax: Lie in an open field and stare at the clouds.
#45 Read a good book. Get lost in another world.
#46 Take a break from social media, if it all feels too much.
#47 Avoid the comparison game. If you find yourself comparing yourself to others remind yourself (daily) that it’s not healthy.
#48 Pamper yourself. Go to the spa.
#49 Ask for reassurance from family and friends. Hearing ‘all will be fine’ is often all that is needed.
#50 Listen to your favorite music (not a love song, if you are heartbroken).
#51 Volunteer and give back to your community. Maybe a pet shelter?
#52 Find a safe place to scream and let it all out. Keeping emotions bottled up is not healthy. It creates stress and can cause anxiety.
#53 Eat foods that make you feel comfortable.
#54 Embrace silence. Go somewhere to be alone.
#55 Think about your dreams. Allow yourself to dream. Write down your dreams.
#56 Do simple coloring in books. Be like a child.
#57 Take a walk on the beach. The ocean is soothing.
#58 Mountains are strong and secure. Find them. Absorb them.
#59 If Self-help books overwhelm you. Read fiction instead.
#60 Get inspired. Watch inspiring videos on Youtube.
#61 Find those that have overcome what you are going through to restore inner strength.
#62 Get expert help (psychologist, doctor etc) if required. Ask family for help with this.
#63 You have won the lottery. Just being alive and being able to breathe is a privilege. Remind yourself of this each morning when you wake-up.
#64 Routines: When life is chaotic, establishing a routine provides stability.
#65 Embrace the sun. Soak it up. Go outdoors.
#66 10 min alignment exercise. Set a deep meaningful goal (e.g. being self-employed). Write down all the skills and abilities you have to achieve it now. Sit with those thoughts until you feel excited.
#67 Sit in silence and just breathe. In and out. Nice deep breaths.
#68 Seek out happy memories: go through photos of loved ones or even postcards from friends.
#69 Relax. Have a warm bath. Clear your mind.
#70 Invest in a miniature Zen Garden. Start by searching on the internet.
#71 Walk barefoot in the grass. This can be therapeutic.
#72 Bake bread. Enjoy the process. Absorb the comforting smells of your creation.
#73 Watch the sunrise, whilst sipping your favorite coffee. Get excited about the day that lies ahead.
#74 Watch the sunset, with a glass of wine. Recap on the day.
#75 Decorate your room or house. Make it look beautiful.
#76 Call your boss. Tell him you’re sick. Just take the day off to unwind from all the stress.
#77 Create a morning ritual that provides the needed support.
#78 Or (because everyone is different) you can develop an evening ritual instead.
#79 Switch off all devices an hour before you sleep for a good night’s rest.
#80 Help someone else with their problems. This can often be the best self-care.Advertising
#81 Watch a comedy show (live or on T.V.). Get yourself to laugh. Laughter, as they say, is often the best medicine.
#82 Dance. Dance on your own. Dance in your house. Dance wildly.
#83 Walk your dog and get exercise.
#84 Walk someone else’s dog and do them a favor in the process.
#85 Seek out new experiences. Do something you haven’t done before.
#86 Ideas. Start writing down all your ideas. Carry a notepad with you.
#87 Be spontaneous. Instill excitement into your life. For example, take a drive on the spur of the moment. If a friend calls you to do something, do it.
#88 Sign-up for the gym. Exercise helps clear your mind.
#89 Or exercise in the comfort of your home – you don’t have to spend lots of money to stay fit.
#90 Plan a short road trip with a friend to get away.
#91 Speak to a nutritionist to develop a food plan that can support you.
#92 Try yoga. It’s great for the body and the mind.
#93 Get rid of limiting beliefs that do not serve you. You may believe that you cannot do something, but is this really true? Consider what you can do right now to make it happen. Maybe you can ask for a friend’s advice to start?
#94 Use your senses. Buy some incense for your house.
#95 Love. Call someone (instead of texting). Tell them you love them.
#96 Listen to classical music. Get relaxed and improve your intelligence.
#97 Spoil yourself. Buy yourself presents – flowers or even a new dress.
#98 Sketch. Take out a notepad and start sketching. This can be therapeutic.
#99 Wake up and listen to inspirational podcasts to get you motivated.
#100 Remind yourself that life is a journey. Remember that what you are going through is temporary, It will pass.
Last Updated on January 15, 2021
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension. 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.
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? 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.
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.
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:
“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.
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.
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
- Increasing Confidence with Body Language
- 8 Fatal Body Language Mistakes To Avoid During Presentations
- Be Instantly Irresistible With These 10 Body Language Tips
Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com
|||^||Berkeley News: The 16 facial expressions most common to emotional situations worldwide|
|||^||Science Daily: Teeth grinding and facial pain increase due to coronavirus stress and anxiety|
|||^||National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research: TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint & Muscle Disorders|
|||^||Michigan Medicine: Stress Management: Doing Progressive Muscle Relaxation|
|||^||Spectra Magazine: Oculesics: Science Speaks Where Words Do Not|
|||^||NCBI: Attention to Eye Contact in the West and East: Autonomic Responses and Evaluative Ratings|
|||^||ResearchGate: An Anthropology of the Handshake|
|||^||Sage Journals: Mapping the Range of Information Contained in the Iconic Hand Gestures that Accompany Spontaneous Speech|
|||^||Journal of Experimental Psychology: Hand Matters: Left-Hand Gestures Enhance Metaphor Explanation|