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10 Everyday Moments Only Truly Happy People Would Understand

10 Everyday Moments Only Truly Happy People Would Understand

It is often said that life is enjoyed in the everyday, small moments. It is also said that for happy people the small everyday moments are as abundant as the oxygen we breathe. Yet, many of us struggle to live in the moment and savor the many, many enjoyable, available and repeating events in our lives. Let’s take a moment and try to find some of these everday things and relish in them.

1. The moment that your dog jumps up to hug you.

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” – Josh Billings (a.k.a. Henry Wheeler Shaw; humorist and lecturer)

Many of you may who have a dog, probably seen this phenomenon. You wake up with your eyes barely open and you feel two pairs of paws reaching up at you. It seems like your dog has not seeing you in a year! To them, it might as well have been a year. Dogs are extremely social and loving animals and their affection is genuine towards their owners, and even visitors or guests.

It is an everyday moment that must not be ignored or minimized. It is worth every second to kneel down and give your dog a hug. It is a moment that you can savor everyday, and each time it happens. In fact, the more you do this, the more it will become a routine with your dog and who could not use a hug everyday? Hugs are warm, simple, and easy, so get on those knees and embrace your dog with all your might. Savor this moment and recognize how much this simple activity will put a smile on your face and warm your heart.

2. The moment a stranger unexpectedly says hello and smiles at you

“Yellow circles are friendly. Especially smiley faces.” – Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not for Sale

Ah, the power of a smile and a hello. When I moved from California to Indiana, I was completely shocked by something. My wife and I started searching for a home and we’d drive through countless neighborhoods looking for “for sale” signs. As we would drive around, complete strangers would wave and wave. I would turn to my wife every time and ask, “do you know them? why are they waving at you?” She would say, “I don’t know them. They’re just being friendly.” For me, it was shocking every time. After four years of living in Indiana, I am still not used to it. I still get confused when someone says hello at the local coffee shop.To make it even more complicated, they smile too! I have actually had a couple of experiences where someone paid for our dinner and our coffee at the local Starbucks.

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There is beauty and innocence in the act of smiling and saying hello to people. I would even say it’s a custom that is disappearing. Please don’t let it disappear from your life. Make it a challenge every day to smile and/or say hello to someone. It does not have to turn into a conversation or into a commitment of any kind. It is simply a way of extending some friendliness and also receiving some back! Try it, and enjoy it!

3. The moment that you miss a friend, a family member, or a spouse.

“Can miles truly separate you from friends…. If you want to be with someone you love, aren’t you already there?” – Richard Bach

I know this one through and through.. If you don’t have anyone to “miss”, then you need to work on that! Although it is not by default a pleasant feeling, it feels so wonderful to want to talk to or be with someone that you love. For many years, I lived close to my family in California, but over the last four years, I have learned to value “missing” them. That let’s me know that I truly love them and value them. It is not that I didn’t love or value them before, but distance does make the heart grow fonder. Now, I look forward to planning my trips out to California, plus purposefully calling them and video-calling them has become a priority.

Missing someone could also happen when someone is close to you. Missing someone means you see the value that person has in your life. They mean more than just another body, another voice in your household, or another voice at your job. It’s another set of experiences, another set of thoughts and laughs that they add to your life. When you get that feeling of missing someone, let it remind you that you value something about that relationship and then let them know how much you are missing them!

4. The moment that you realize you can sing like Mick Jagger – in the shower.

“If you’ve got nothing to dance about, find a reason to sing.” – Melody Carstairs

You have sung in the shower before. We all have. It’s like admitting we’ve all pretended to be Michael Jordan on the basketball court at one time or another. Although all of us could use some singing lessons, there is an absolute flow of happiness and joy from singing your favorite song, either in the shower, or in your car. Hey, maybe even at a party or with a karaoke machine. My wife tells me all the time she wishes she could sing. I know she can, actually. She can carry a tune pretty well.

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So, take your favorite song, and simply sing along to it. Yes, you probably won’t sing it perfectly, but let your voice ring and let your heart sing. You are Mick Jagger in that moment singing “I can’t get no satisfaction”, all the while getting some satisfaction.

5. The moment that you see the neighborhood birds hopping along your sidewalk without a care in the world.

 “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I see this one often. My wife’s family loves watching birds. I grew up chasing pigeons away from our porch because they would eat the grass seed my dad would put on the grass. I have to admit, though, that watching birds is truly peaceful. Here’s why: we can absorb their peace and their pace. I watch birds as they walk along the sidewalk, not in a hurry, not in an impatient cadence, but in a calm and curious demeanor. They hop, they look around, hop again, and then they fly to a nearby branch. Then they repeat that sequence. Sometimes, they’ll chase each other around. I like to guess what they’d be saying to each other.

It’s truly magnificent. I especially love to watch falcons as they glide over the trees and the meadows, seemingly without a worry. There is an absence of frustration. There is an absence of doubt. But, there is a presence of confidence and patience. We could all use more of that in our lives!

6. The moment that you feel that warm coffee or latte in the early morning on your taste buds.

“As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?” – Cassandra Clare, City of Ashes

This is my favorite. Since I was a child, my family has the tradition of drinking coffee as a way to relax and enjoy the day. I have a very vivid picture in my mind of my mother sitting at the kitchen counter just sipping on her morning coffee – without a care in the world. I guess I picked that up from her. It may seem counter intuitive, but drinking a well-prepared cup of coffee is the best way to start my day. It’s the warmth of the coffee and the taste. I personally like mine with a good amount of cream and sweetened. Some people say I like coffee with my sugar, and that’s okay. It works for me. Some people love their tea in the morning. That’s good as well!

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Here’s the point: it’s more about enjoying the simple act of sipping on a warm, great-tasting beverage and taking the time to enjoy it. I also like to look at the steam rising from the cup. Like my mom, I drink coffee to think and to simply be. I like to drink coffee while I drive somewhere, or while I read a book because it is a reminder for me to relax and slow down. No, you definitely do not need Starbucks every day of the week, but a simple cup Folgers does it for me.

7. The moment that you finish your workout and feel truly empowered.

“You would be surprised what two hours of daily exercise and five hundred stomach crunches can do for you.” – Justina Chen, North of Beautiful

I remember walking into the Fontana boxing gym in Fontana, California. I had researched this boxing gym online and I had talked to the trainer about what training would involve. If you have ever dared to try boxing for a workout, then I congratulate you. My trainer told me that the reason boxers look the way they do is that they are the best trained athletes in the world. It is 100% true. I dared myself to enter the lion’s den and train like a boxer would. Yes, I was scared. Yes, I almost decided not to go. Yes, I was scared all over again – every time I went!

But, here’s what happened. I felt so empowered and confident once I survived the first training session. Not only did I learn how to push myself beyond what I ever thought was possible, I also learned to shut off the negative thinking that kept telling me I couldn’t throw any more punches, or that my legs couldn’t take another lunge. I was wrong every time. My body could take it and outperform itself every time. That did wonders for my psychological health. Plus, it didn’t hurt to have my trainer yelling at me not to “pitty pat” his punching bags. That made me into a real boxer, even if only for that one hour.

8. The moment that you open a book without knowing where it’s going to take you.

“You’re never alone when you’re reading a book.” – Susan Wiggs

Beginning to read a book is like opening a present. You never know what it’s going to be! I’ll admit I haven’t always been a voracious reader. Lately, I’ve been increasing my reading appetite by recognizing that I can learn so many wonderful life lessons by reading books. I have even started to listen to audio books on YouTube. If you are wondering what kind of books you like to read, try several kinds. You might be surprised that you enjoy reading self-help books, or that you enjoy reading political books. I would recommend buying used books, which sometimes are literally discounted almost 90% off the new list price. You have nothing to lose, except the endless possibilities of what you could learn, experience, or imagine.

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Don’t try to read for too long, if you cannot stomach it at first. Start with one page, and keep that up as long as you can. Then, move up to two pages and so on. Give yourself this gift of stimulating your mind. Television can be great, but reading makes your mind decipher, use it’s creativity and imagination. It’s a much better diet than having everything created for it with television.

9. The moment that you realize you have stinky feet.

I like to walk around with bare feet and I don’t like to comb my hair.”- Beyonce Knowles

This one probably has you scratching your head. Why would stinky feet be a moment happy people appreciate? Well, it points to the reality that you are not perfect – and that’s a good thing! First, it’s a healthy perspective to see yourself as less than perfect. It will also help you realize that other people aren’t perfect either. As my uncle used to say, if you really like a girl and want to ask her out, imagine her stinky feet. She’ll seem less intimidating and more on your level. It definitely worked on several occasions! I would invite you to laugh and smile at your stinky feet because it takes you back to the time when you were a little boy or girl full of innocence and simplicity.

10. The moment that you see your spouse walk through the door.

“Your spouse is that special person God provided to walk with you until the game of life ends.” – Christian Maciel

I’ve read a Men’s Health article that explained one explicit trait of an awesome wife. One of the most striking concepts of the article was that when your wife walks through the door and it makes you nervous – that means you have an awesome wife. I could not agree more. If you feel that slight nervousness or excitement when you see your wife or husband, then you have something there that maybe most relationships do not have. One of the most beautiful experiences that human beings can enjoy is an awesome relationship. If you feel your marriage or relationship is lacking in this regard, seek some inspiration, or even help.

Marriage is something to protect, build and to enjoy. If you are not doing one of these three things, then you could be missing out on an awesome marriage. The next time your spouse walks through the door, think back to the time when you first saw them and your breath was taken away. What was it that attracted you about them? If you have forgotten that traits, or qualities, do your best to remember. It’ll bring back some wonderful feelings of nervousness and excitement.

Featured photo credit: Happy beautiful woman playing outdoor, trying to catch snowflakes with her tongue via shutterstock.com

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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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