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10 Adorable Characteristics Happy People Have

10 Adorable Characteristics Happy People Have

Everybody wants to be happy, but how many people can say they are? A recent study shows that only one out of every three Americans is actually happy. On a list of the top 20 happiest countries in the world, America just barely ranks at #17. This is kind of ridiculous when you think about all the freedoms and conveniences Americans enjoy that less wealthy nations will never experience. Even if you are not happy, it is likely you know someone who is. Think about how much you adore them and why. Observe them closely for a while and you might notice a surprising amount of room for growth in your own habits. Here are some of the things happy people do to make life better for everyone around them.

They Are Nice

It might seem like an overly general term, but happy people are usually nice. They are well-liked and pleasant to be around. They are respectful, warm, considerate, and helpful. They don’t get jealous. They don’t waste time gossiping and complaining. They seem to have infinite patience and give freely of themselves. Traits like these can only stem from a deep-seated sense of contentedness. Nice people create a social climate that puts everyone else at ease.

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They Are Honest

True happiness cannot coexist with lies. Those who lie to themselves are more likely to lie to others and struggle with unhealthy relationships. Honesty starts with an informed sense of self. Happy people know who they are and aren’t afraid to show it. They are consistently themselves and do not feel the need to wear masks or pretend to be something they are not for any reason. Life is a lot less complicated when you allow yourself to be the same person at all times. By letting go of lies, happy people set an inspiring example which encourages those around them to flourish.

They Are Cooperative

Happy people are not overly concerned with dominating, yet they tend to come out on top. Victory is meaningless to the happy person without a team to share in the glory. There is a reason why it is customary for people who win awards to stand up and give a speech about all the people who helped them along the way. It is because nobody gets there alone, and taking all the credit for yourself is just mean. The idea of winning or dominating denotes pushing other people down on your way to the top. Those who recognize the efforts of others and freely share the joys of success tend to live much happier lives.

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They Have Beautiful Smiles

There is a huge difference between smiling for the camera and smiling as a function of happiness. Anyone can show their teeth. Happy people smile with their entire bodies, and sometimes with all the energy in a one-foot radius. A real smile cannot be faked. When you run around emanating a radiant glow in response to all the joys of life, you are bound to attract some admirers.

They Are Well Adjusted

Happy people revel in life’s small pleasures. This gives them access to sources of joy that pass most people by. At the same time, they don’t get bogged down by the petty little details that seem to keep plenty of others stuck in the dumps. They know what is worth savoring and what to disregard. Happy people have a rational sense of scale to keep them grounded. The resulting positive perspective can turn any problem into an opportunity for growth.

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They Surround Themselves with Happy People

Whether they actively seek out other folks with similar habits or they have the effect of raising the positive charge everywhere they go, happy people do not often stand alone. Glee is contagious. Groups of people tend to observe each other and subsequently imitate the most attractive behaviors they find in those around them. If enough folks agree to treat each other the way they would like to be treated, the result will be infectious and irresistible to bystanders.

They Are Spontaneous

A good relationship with the value of each passing moment is an essential component of happiness. If living in the present is so easy to do, why is it so many people are preoccupied with thoughts of the elsewhere, the future, and the past? Happy people are comfortable in their skin. They are content and aware in whatever moment they inhabit. This allows them to see opportunities for fun and adventure which others might overlook. It is part of why happy people are always the life of the party.

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They Are Good Listeners

Communication is about more than just barking a bunch of orders and wondering why nobody is listening. Harmony cannot exist in a vacuum. Can you imagine trying to sing in a barbershop quartet without being able to hear the other singers? In order to create a resonating chord, you must listen to what is happening around you and find just the right place for your own vibrations. Happy people are always looking for new perspectives as a way of informing their own. The feelings of others matter deeply to them because they know the greater good involves far more than just their own desires. Happy people have made a lifelong commitment to constantly learning, and they know the only way to do this is to be quiet and listen.

They Expect Less

It stands to reason that if you expect less, you will be satisfied with less. This mindset allows a more sustainable and unmaterialistic approach to life. Those who focus on what others should be doing for them are often disappointed more often than they are satisfied. True happiness comes from within, not from deeds or objects originating outside the self. Happy people know this, and they expect more from themselves than they do from external sources. They are more likely to accept than to demand, simply because a state of acceptance is a much healthier place to be than one of constant unmet demands.

They Don’t Judge

Nobody likes being judged. This is because the majority of judgments we make about each other are false and misinformed. Happy people understand through their own experiences that life is a perpetual learning process and everything we go through changes us in some way. With this knowledge, it just doesn’t make sense to hold a bunch of grudges. Happy people accept that we all struggle with different weaknesses, and everyone has the potential to figure things out in due time. This makes happy people better and more patient companions than those who are always judging others for their weaknesses.

The road to happiness is not an easy one to travel. It requires a sense of humble honesty which does not come naturally to everyone. Happy people are popular and successful for a reason. Anyone who smiles that much has got to be doing something right. It’s time you realized how much you have to learn from them. Happy people do not want you to be jealous. They want you to share in their joy by opening yourself up to the lessons all around you. They want to learn from you while inspiring you with their example. This is why we love happy people, and the world would probably stop turning without them. Hug your local happy person today. Let them take you by the hand and lead you toward a better life.

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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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