“If you look at the world one way what, it takes from you – it’s a thief of time, energy and your creative mojo. But if you look at the world another way, it gives you an endless supply of motivation” Julianna Baggott
When you have your mojo, your view of the world is positive, optimistic and hopeful. You are full of energy and have an endless supply of motivation. You have your spark in life and people feel it and are attracted to you.
The reality however is, at some point in your life, you will lose your mojo. How long you lose your mojo for depends on how long it takes you to figure out how to get it back. For some of us, it can be a matter of a few days and for others, it can be months or years.
The reason why it takes so long for many of us to get our mojo back is because we don’t know how to or even where to start.
To get your mojo back into your life, you have to be prepared to change the way you think and the way you do things. This all takes energy and motivation and you don’t have much of either when your spark in life has gone out.
I know this to be true because this was how I felt when I lost my mojo about three years ago. When I lost my job for the 3rd time in 18 months, I lost my mojo big time – no energy, no self-belief, and no self-confidence. For about 6 months I was miserable and I shut myself away from the world. I was still functioning in life but my “spark’ had gone. I did not feel alive inside.Advertising
I like to think I am an optimist and I like the feeling of being energised and hopeful about life. After spending six months of my life feeling the opposite, I realised that if I didn’t get my mojo back, my quality of life would be bleak.
I decided to take action to get my mojo back in my life. I knew it was going to be hard work because the biggest obstacle I had to overcome on this journey was going to be me.
I have a record of giving up when the going gets tough, so I decided that I would focus on bringing back into my life six positive feelings that I had lost along with my mojo. These five actions below brought back into my life, energy, a positive attitude, hope, optimism, a sense of purpose and joy. This is what I did to get my mojo back.
1. I Got Active – This Creates Energy
I have always been an active person and attended the gym regularly. I gave up all physical activity when I lost my mojo.
I once read an article that said that the key to sustaining motivation with any type of physical activity is to focus on doing an activity that you enjoy. The article then went on to say that once you identify that activity you enjoy, write down and memorise the 5 benefits/feelings you get when you do the activity or exercise.
The next thing you do is: when you are about to start this particular activity you say “I am going to____ and I feel_______________” Name five feelings/benefits.Advertising
When you finish the activity, recite the same 5 benefits/feelings starting with “ I have completed my ______ and I feel_______.” I look forward to doing ________ on_____” (you name the specific day and time you will do the activity).
This is what I did to help me get back to the gym and yoga. I needed a strategy to help me get started and this worked. I have never looked back and yoga definitely was a huge help in getting my mojo back.
2. I Changed My Thoughts – This Creates A Positive Attitude
The conscious and subconscious minds operate at different levels. The conscious mind is your logic and reasoning. It controls your actions and intentions of the present moment. Your subconscious mind, however, controls your emotions and it is also where all your beliefs and memories are stored.
My conscious mind knew I had to get my mojo back but my subconscious mind stored the beliefs and emotions that supported the fact that I had lost my mojo. For me, to get my mojo back, I had to get my conscious and subconscious mind aligned because if I didn’t, my mojo was never coming back.
Again, I decided not to over-complicate things and so I came up with a practical way where I could start to work toward having alignment with my thinking and my actions.
Every time I had to choose between doing or thinking something that would help me get my mojo back or something that would block me from getting my mojo back, I would ask myself this one question;Advertising
“Is this decision/choice/action/thought/attitude going to get me closer to my goal of getting my mojo back or further away?”
I found this to be a powerful question that helped me to align my conscious and subconscious minds so that they were on the same page. As a result, I felt more positive about life and my thinking and attitude reflected this as well. This, without a doubt, was key to me believing that I could get my mojo back and sustain it in my life forever.
3. I Connected With People Who Had Mojo –This Creates Hope and Optimism
I am very lucky in my life as I have wonderful friends and family who I know love and support me. I realised however that for me to get my mojo back I needed to be with people who lived their lives embracing their mojo.
I set myself a challenge that twice a week, I would engage with someone who I didn’t know but felt they had mojo. The mojo qualities I looked for in people were those such as energy, enthusiasm, positivity, and motivation and had a joyful attitude about life.
This was an amazing experience. I met some incredible people who truly lived inspiring lives. They came from all walks of life. I learnt about gratitude and the gift of life. The more contact I had with people who embraced their mojo, the more energised, optimistic and hopeful I felt about my future.
4. I Clarified My Life Priorities – This Creates A Sense Of Purpose
Writing down what is important to you in your life helps you get clarity about how you want to live your life. When I wrote down my life priorities, next to each one I wrote down one feeling that I felt belonged with that life priority. For example, one of my life priorities that comes at the top of the list is FAMILY and the feeling I put next to it is LOVE.Advertising
I looked at my list every day and, over time, I began to realise that the more I focused on what was important in my life, the easier it was for me to commit to getting my mojo – my spark back in my life. This action was so important when taking up the challenge to get my mojo back, as it gave me with a sense of purpose in my life and also clarity and focus.
5. I Went And Had Fun – This Creates Feelings of Joy and Happiness
When you have lost your mojo, it is so easy to spend days in the doldrums feeling miserable for yourself. Doing any kind of activity, even if you like doing it, is often too hard. All elements of laughter and fun soon disappear from your life.
I certainly felt like this when I lost my mojo. Even though I didn’t like living my life this way, for a long time, I had no energy to do anything about it. One morning, out of the blue, it hit me. I realised that if I didn’t do something about changing my life for the better, I had to accept that living a joyful and happy life was not going happen. At that moment, I decided to do an activity that brought me joy – having a coffee with my best friend. I rang her up and went to have coffee that afternoon.
When I got home, I wrote a list of 30 activities that I loved doing and brought me joy. Every day for the next 30 days, I worked my way through my list and guess what came back into my life? The feelings of joy and happiness. Over the month, I learnt how to appreciate the gift of joy and happiness in the present moment. The more aware I became of the joyful, fun and happy moments, the more joy and happiness came into my life. That was when I felt my mojo was back!
Getting your mojo back is critical for your quality of life. Your physical health and emotional well-being are under threat if you don’t start to take action to get your mojo back into your life. These 5 actions helped me get my mojo back and I hope in a small way, they help you to take action to get your mojo back into your life forever.
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|