Advertising
Advertising

How to Be Happy in Life (Despite Your Circumstances)

How to Be Happy in Life (Despite Your Circumstances)

How to be happy despite your circumstances… What a loaded topic and like all big topic, it has to start with a big eye opening mind blowing statement and for happiness, it is this:

You choose to be happy.

Happiness isn’t found; it’s created, forged and chosen. You don’t attain happiness by having a perfect job, house and life. You choose to wake up and appreciate what you have and you choose to be happy by building a life that makes you happy.

Where Do You Start?

Obviously, we don’t all live our #BestLives. Sometimes circumstances out of our control and bring us down, make us hit rock bottom. Bankruptcy, divorce, discrimination, death, destruction and false accusations, need I go on? The world is a rather unpleasant and harsh place at times.

At that point you ask me, well how do I choose to be happy when the world is so seemingly cruel?

You look at what you have, where you want to go and make the next step forward.

Life is about one thing, perspective. Your perspective shapes your reality, so all you have to do is change your perspective on life.

Your life is a combination of loads of ideas planted in your head and you see the world through it. When we are born, we are a blank slate, just a white piece of paper. As children, our opinions and values are mostly boys are gross, transformers are the best, I love my mom.

Advertising

But as we grow, others embed us with their views, ideals and values and every week, a new value is planted and sprouts, blocking your view of who you are. That once white piece of paper is full of other peoples drawings. Eventually we are lost, no idea where your home is, blinded by all of these other peoples values and opinions that we have taken on as our own.

So we stumble through life, saying things we don’t really know why we say it or why we even believe it and we wonder why we are so unhappy. All we want to do is be at home, safe and happy, like when we were children, when life was less complicated, confusing and conflicted.

The only way to get home, to happiness, is to erase some of those ideals that no longer serve you so you can see a little clearer. Ideals planted like, we will never be good enough, based on an experience you had as a child. Or you once failed at a basketball game and you were public humiliated by the coach and now you are convinced you will never be good at basketball. These values and experiences, are hindering your happiness because they aren’t truth. They are just stories you think are truth.

Let’s take the basketball example, sure, you once sucked at basketball, that doesn’t mean you will always suck. With enough practice, you could be great if you actually tried and decided you were going to be instead of just saying you will always be bad at it.

So how do we make being happy easy? Life is only as difficult as you make it. So what can we do to start flipping your mindset?

1. Choose It

Happiness like all things, is created and chosen; so the first thing you need to do is commit to choosing happiness.

It isn’t the easiest path, you will have to let things go, not let things to get to you and you will have to fight the impulse to be negative, to be the victim.

Happiness is a life long commitment and like all good marriages, you have to put in continuous effort to uphold the value of your spouse.

Advertising

Happiness needs to be appreciated while you have it because it can be fleeting, the world isn’t always as kind as you are.

This article can help you to choose happiness easier: How to Always Choose Happiness Even During Tough Times

2. Show Gratitude for Your Life and Everything You’re Blessed with

You are incredibly blessed in your life. We all sit and decide that we suffer, we are victimized and we are failures but look around you:

You have running water, medical care on request, enough money to survive, loving people around you.

You have more than you are choosing to acknowledge because you are so caught up in what you don’t have, you are taking for granted all that you do have.

So take a moment and look around and every day, write down, think, say and show how much you appreciate at least one thing.

Gratitude can be addictive once you realize all you truly have, happiness will follow the sweet sound of gratitude.

Here’re more reasons to feel grateful: 32 Things You Should Be Grateful For

Advertising

3.  Change the Stories You Tell Yourself

We are a collection of our stories, the stories we tell other people (the times we were super cool) and the stories we tell ourselves (every failure or awkward interaction we have ever made).

We are what we say we are. If you tell someone you are an honest person, people will think you are an honest person. If you tell yourself you cannot do something, you will not be able to do it.

You Are Your Stories. What stories have you been telling about your life? The story of a failure? A loser? In recent society, it is popular to be the victim, to be the underdog because in the movies, the underdog wins in the end. But the underdog wins by getting over their complex and doing what is right and brave, and they write their own story.

So throw away the book you keep rereading about your awkward, embarrassing and devastating screw ups, those tales of loss, pain and heart ache, ditch them. I never endorse burning books but in this case, throw them on the pyre.

You aren’t a combination of your bad experience but you are acting like it, it is time to ask who you are underneath those experiences.

Who Are You? And who do you want to be now? Because the beauty of writing your own story is that you can choose it. You can say, hey, I am not a loser, I am a strong person. I don’t have anxiety anymore because I do everything I can to make sure I don’t feel anxious. I am a fit person, I go to the gym.

Find a story that would make you happy, then show up as the main character everyday.

Write your story and make sure its a happy one, which leads us to…

Advertising

4. Build the Life You Want

A reason you may not be happy is because you aren’t living the life you truly want. You are living in authentically and that is fine but, if you want to be happy, you have to live in alignment with your authentic values.

Decide who you want to be, what life you want to lead and then make a plan to go get it: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

Make a plan so you do something small every day to build towards that dream life and know that when you get there. You may feel happier by doing this but remember, life is a journey and you have to appreciate the climb, not just the view from the top.

The most important thing you will ever learn is this:

You will never be happy if you think something else will make you happy.

A new job won’t make you happy, neither will a new partner, house, holiday, object, pet. That’s not happiness, that’s a chemical reaction in your brain.

Happiness in long term is a choice to enjoy and appreciate those things, everyday, even when the going gets tough and you aren’t where you want to be, you didn’t get that job, well you still got one. You partners not appreciating you? Well, appreciate them first and encourage them to do the same.

Final Thoughts

Happiness is in your control. It’s a mental choice to see the positive in the negative. One thing I’ve learned in my life is that everything I was rejected, I was being redirected to where I was meant to be and when I suffered, it was so I could learn something to make me a better person.

Struggle is growth and strength, struggle is where happiness is forged. No matter how difficult, painful or hard your circumstances are, there is always something to be grateful for and you deserve to be happy, if only you choose to be.

More About Happiness

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

More by this author

Jade Nyx

Qualified Life Coach

Surviving and Thriving Amid the Pandemic: Death to Doom Scrolling How to Hack Your Brain to Achieve Your Goals How to Finally Reach Your Goals by Creating Dependable Accountability 5 Steps to Create Self-Fulfillment in Times of Adversity 8 Time-Tested Confidence Buildinng Habits You Can Start Now

Trending in Mental Strength

1 6 Surefire Tips to Build Self-Confidence That Is Unstoppable 2 How To Let Go of Fear And Become Unstoppable 3 8 Highly Attractive Things In Women (That Have Nothing to Do With Appearance) 4 How To Connect Passion and Purpose For Fulfillment In Life 5 7 Ways to Be Mindful Every Day

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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

Read Next