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If You Want To Be Happy, Healthy And Successful, Start Doing These 10 Things Now

If You Want To Be Happy, Healthy And Successful, Start Doing These 10 Things Now

We all want to be happy, healthy, and successful, but aren’t always sure how to do it. You do things here and there to improve your quality of life, but you seem to lack consistency. For example, if you want to feel happy, you may go for a hike, hang out with friends, or have a weekend getaway. To be healthier you may join the gym, take yoga classes, change your eating habits, etc. All of those things are great to do, however, it might be more helpful to look a little bit deeper than the short-term and find habits that stick.

Take a look at these 10 things you can start doing today to get you on the right track:

1. Make a bucket list and tackle it

Sit down and think about all the things you want to do before you die. Want to travel to another country? Skydive? Learn a new language? Whatever it is, write it down. Make a 30-day bucket list as well as a 5-year bucket list. Often times people tend to live as though they’ll live forever. They sink into “tomorrow” and end up with a lot of yesterdays that are filled with a whole lot of nothing. Don’t plan your ambitions around your life, plan your life around your ambitions.

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2. Do a 24-hour internet detox

In today’s world, almost everything that we do is through the internet or a mobile device. You can become easily wrapped up in other people’s lives and forget about your own. Think about how often you go out to eat and see others on their phone and not talking to the person they’re supposed to be sharing their meal with. By detoxing yourself from the internet for 24 hours a week, you give yourself the opportunity to reconnect with the people you love and care about most. By putting your phone away, you’re able to give your undivided attention to your loved ones and form stronger bonds with them.

3. Be selective in what you read in newspapers

Most times, the media is pumping out information to get your attention and appeal to your fears. If they didn’t do this, most newspapers would fail because no one would be reading them. You can get a lot of accurate information from Google News. When you separate yourself from public news, you’ll be surprised at how much more optimistic your life will become. Occasionally, we fall into perceived realities when we are constantly filling our brain with the information we read in newspapers which can, and often times is, extremely toxic.

4. Do something daily that scares you

It is very easy to live in our comfort zones. It is our safe place, and it is where we escape to when we feel uncomfortable. You don’t need to do something drastic that scares you every day. Small things can make a big difference as well. If you’re able to take 20 seconds out of your day every day to do something that terrifies you, you’ll realize you’ll be in a completely different socioeconomic situation.

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Ever notice how you’re always more nervous for a meeting or an event until it actually happens? The anticipation is far worse than the situation itself when it comes around. It’s important to remind yourself that most things out of your comfort zone are completely safe.

5. Do something kind every day

Ask yourself, “Have I done anything good for the world or another person today?” You’re busy, I’m busy, everyone is busy, I get it. But if you allow yourself to become so busy that you cannot take any time out of your day to help another person, you should make some adjustments so that you can make that a priority. Whether it is spontaneous or planned, you will realize that one of the greatest feelings in life is being able to help others. When you help others, you give yourself the ability to open up to them in a way you may not have been able to before. It can truly put into perspective what really matters in life.

6. Get rid of the things you don’t need

Start with your closet. You have probably looked in there countless mornings and said, “I have nothing to wear.” But you clearly have a ton of things to wear. Inside is probably a ton of clothing items you haven’t worn in months, maybe even years. It’s like money sitting in your closet. When you start getting rid of the things you don’t need, you’ll start to notice how much more motivated you feel. When you get rid of old energy, you open the doors for new and positive energy to come through.

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7. Believe in your dreams

At one point or another, we have all dreamed of a life we’d love to live – from material items to all the things that money can’t buy. When you come to the realization and understanding that the things you seek can occur, the universe will work in very mysterious ways to make that happen.

8. Stop focusing so much on the outcome

Many times we find ourselves focusing so much on what could happen rather than just living in the moment and enjoying it for what it is. We do this because we really don’t want to mess something up. It can either be a relationship or work-related, but we can sometimes create negative outcomes when we focus so much on what hasn’t happened yet. Focus on the things that you can control. Better yet, focus on who you can control – yourself. Do what is right and let the consequences follow.

9. Surround yourself with people who inspire you

Have you ever heard someone say to you that you tend to act like the five people you spend the most time with? That is very, very true.

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  • What goals do they have?
  • What kind of beliefs do they have?
  • Are they a kind person?

These are just a few things that dramatically impact you. Becoming uncomfortable around people you’ve been friends with for a very long time can be very tough to grasp. It’s normal for people to grow, evolve, and realize that they may desire to hang around a different crowd. It’s okay to move on, but don’t detach from the genuine love that you have for those people.

10. Read weekly

It’s very important to always keep learning. Even the smartest and most successful people in the world still feel that they can always learn something new. Try to read one book per week. As time passes, you will have read hundreds of books and you will have gained knowledge on a number of topics. You’ll then have the ability to see the world differently, as well as open the doors to communicate with more people due to your knowledge on various things.

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Erica Wagner

Erica is a passionate writer who shares inspiring ideas and 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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