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3 Game-Changing Life Tweaks That Really Work

3 Game-Changing Life Tweaks That Really Work

Everyone wants to improve their life in one way or another, whether it’s to be smarter, more successful, or just change their situations for the better. Three life hacks the Quora writers used themselves have made all the difference in their lives. From changing how they view their weekend, to an easy smartphone hack, to an entire life overhaul, these tried and true tweaks will inspire you.

1. Stop treating weekends like mini vacations.

Quora writer, Todd Busen set out on a mission[1] to wake up for work on time. He found that sleeping in on the weekends disrupted his sleep schedule on his work days. So, he decided to treat the weekends like his work days and wake up at the same hour every day of the week. His experiment proved a success. He has not viewed weekends the same way since then.

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According to Busen, the weekends should be treated like every other day of the week, and instead of losing those precious moments, you should use that time productively to grow, move forward, and better your life.

When facing your next weekend:

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  • Try getting up the same time you do during the week.
  • Use those extra hours of free time to read or workout.
  • Instead of watching a movie, watch a documentary.
  • Exchange watching YouTube videos of cats for YouTube videos that will help your business grow or teach you a new skill.
  • If a whole weekend seems like a daunting overhaul, use baby steps to make your tweaks.

2. Move where to charge the phone.

Smartphones are usually the first thing a lot of people grab in the morning and Quora writer Matt Sandrini recognized his own electronic addiction and knew he had to conquer it.[2] Matt wanted to read more, write more, and get more sleep, but the siren call of his smartphone was too tempting. He decided his best course of action was to move the distraction and began by moving his phone charger away from his bed. This small tweak appealed to his lack of willpower. Before, it took willpower to put his phone down, and now it took willpower to get up to get to his phone.

Matt now reads more than ever, writes more, and even gets more sleep. He recommends placing the phone as far away as possible, even in another room.

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How can you charge your phone in another room if it’s your alarm clock?

  • Choose a louder alarm tone on your phone, one that you can hear further away.
  • Consider getting a regular alarm clock.
  • Set an alarm on your watch.

3. Quit all things that don’t create value.

What would happen if you changed the way you viewed your entire life? Perhaps the biggest game-changing tweak comes from Quora writer Josh Fechter, who learned his lesson the hard way.[3]

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Broke and living in his dad’s apartment as he struggled to get his writing career off of the ground, Josh turned to reading self-help books for inspiration. From the books, he learned “success and happiness parallel how much value people create for others.” Josh knew he had to focus on his writing to be a success, but in order to do that, he would have cut meaningless distractions from his life.

Josh took the plunge and decided to let go of all things that didn’t create value in his life. He stopped watching TV and Netflix. He ceased reading his Facebook feed. He no longer paid attention to politics, and even stopped going out to eat. If it didn’t add value to his life, he didn’t do it. He focused only on what would be beneficial, or bring meaning to his life and work. With the distractions gone, he was able to concentrate on his writing, and his career began to take off. Three years later, Josh is head of growth for a $50 million-dollar venture capital company.

So, how do you determine what has no value?

  • Face each life situation with a question before proceeding: will doing this enrich me, my business, or my life?
  • If the answer is no, make the decision to not do it and fill that void of time with something that will be beneficial to your personal growth, your health, and your business.
  • If the answer is yes, go ahead, armed with the knowledge that you are enhancing your life.

Move your phone, rethink the way you live your weekend, or trim the useless distractions from your life. Three proven tweaks that can make a difference. Try one out or use them all, or choose the best bits of each. It’s your life, make it a good one.

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Sally White

writer, artist & blogger

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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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