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The Best and Worst Feelings you Have in Your Late 20’s

The Best and Worst Feelings you Have in Your Late 20’s

If you are past your late 20’s, congratulations. You made it! If you have not yet passed it, you will make it. I have and it was not easy, but you will make it. This stage can have a lot of ups and downs, as well as lefts and rights. It can get complicated and confusing, but at the same time it can also be great.

The data science team from the happiness app, Happify has found that there was a sharp increase in stress levels of the members who joined their service in 2015 who were in their late 20’s and early 30’s.

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Here are some examples of the best and worst feelings that happen when you are in your late 20’s:

1. Best feeling: You’ve taken more control of your life compared to your early 20’s.

Your early to middle 20’s is when you probably started your first job after college. At this point, you have started earning your own money and paying off your debts. This continues into your late 20’s, and as the debts get lower and the job gets more stable, you are probably already saving up for that big travel adventure or for that big downpayment to buy your first house. At this point, you feel that you are in control.

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Worst feeling: You’re going to lose some control of your life soon, as family issues (especially if you’re going to have kids or your parents have health issues) very likely will come up.

However, at this point in your late 20’s when you feel that you are finally in control of your own life, other issues over which you have no control can arise. Examples of these are stress from parents’ health issues or having kids, and then having unexpected expenses arise due to these situations.

2. Best feeling: You are realizing your ambitions step by step.

When you are in your late 20’s and in a job that you really like, you suddenly find yourself being grateful that, unlike your new co-workers who are fresh out of school and struggling to find their “root” job and what they really want, you have already found yours. You do not need to prove yourself anymore to anyone because being in your late 20’s has made you a much more confident person than you were before. You feel that you are all set for life.

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Worst feeling: You feel that you don’t have much time.

However, there will be sleepless nights when you feel that you do not have enough time to enjoy your success. You feel that most of your time is spent building a great future, but when will all the hard work stop?

3. Best feeling: You find yourself much more mature than before.

You give yourself a pat on the back and think that this is the most mature that you have been in your whole life. You know yourself better and you have endured a lot of ups and downs and have come out of it shining like a star. You think that you rock and you do not care anymore what others think of you. You have become strong and confident.

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Worst feeling: You feel that your body has matured a lot, too.

Mentally you are feeling confident, but when you look at yourself in the mirror you suddenly notice that some wrinkles have set in. The 5-kilometer run that used to make you feel energetic is suddenly making you feel like you can’t breathe. You feel your body changing and this makes you feel vulnerable.

4. Best feeling: You already know what you want.

You know that you want to work for the company that you are working for now until retirement. You know that you want to live in the country that you are currently living in. You know that you will need to get married in a few years- or now. You are set. You know what you want.

Worst feeling: You don’t feel like settling/you can’t settle.

On the flip side of knowing what you want, you feel that you do not want to settle. You know that if you settle, you could get bored, or end up hating what you thought you had wanted. Maybe you are scared that you will make the wrong decision. Then you get stuck because you do not want to decide just yet.

Yes, being in your late 20’s is a hard and complicated stage in life. What you can do is to use all of the resources that are there to help you. Talk to your parents, close friends, seek counseling, or read self-help books. Most importantly, remind yourself that what you are going through is normal and that there are many out there who are experiencing the same things.

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Sarah Bonander

Writer, Human Resources Professional

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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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