“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” ― Helen Keller
How lucky we are as human beings to have the ability to feel. Emotions make us human. They allow us to relate, care and connect with everything on the planet in ways that other creatures cannot. Sure, feelings can sometimes leave us sad, but all in all, that is part of living the human experience. Feelings make the human experience as beautiful and ugly as it is. Don’t take them for granted. Give yourself permission to feel from today! Start with these 10 key feelings you should never take for granted in life.
1. Falling in love
Falling in love is a wonderful feeling. Nothing is quite like falling in love and being loved right back. Never take that feeling for granted. It’s a life-changing experience. Do whatever it takes to keep love alive.Advertising
2. Losing someone you love
The feeling of losing someone close is deeply sad and meaningful. Never take it for granted. It helps you understand how fleeting life is. You learn the importance of appreciating those you love when they are still a part of your life. Too often, we don’t give much thought to the people and things we love until they are taken away. Talk, laugh, cry, and share quality time with loved ones daily, including your wife, husband, kids and parents.
3. Loving yourself
The feeling of loving yourself and being at ease, content and confident about who you are is deeply satisfying. It gives you a firm grounding in this world and should never be taken for granted. Nurture and protect it by practicing more self-love. Reassure yourself daily that you are beautiful, intelligent and wonderfully made. After all, you cannot love and care for others if you don’t first love and care for yourself.
If you have at least one person you feel completely connected to, whom you talk to and share your most personal life details without fear or shame, don’t take that for granted. Many people today are lonely and lost, even when surrounded by others, because their connections lack depth. Reach out to friends, neighbors, relatives or supporting organizations that offer companionship, or adopt a pet if necessary, to enjoy that feeling of connectedness and companionship.Advertising
Heartbreak can sting at any age. When it stings, it affects the same part of the brain that is affected when you feel physical pain. Don’t take heartbreak for granted, or try to numb yourself to the pain of a broken heart, or swear to keep off of relationships forever. Instead, allow yourself to feel sad if that’s how you’re feeling. Draw lessons from the experience and give yourself time to heal. Time really does heal all wounds, even though you might doubt that at the time.
6. Satisfaction for a job well done
There is a sense of deep satisfaction that washes over you when you know you have given something your best shot and done the task to the best of your ability. Don’t take that feeling for granted. It is a powerful motivator that boosts your ego and helps you aspire for more. However, don’t dwell too long on your successes. Take pride in the things you do, no matter how small or insignificant they might seem, and keep moving forward.
7. Pride for showing kindness
Whether you show kindness to another human being, or an animal or pet, there is a special, warm and fuzzy feeling of pride in the act that sweeps over you. Savor that feeling and the connection you make in the process. It gives meaning and value to your life and makes both you and the other person truly happy. Just don’t show kindness expecting something in return. Show genuine kindness and it will beget genuine kindness.Advertising
8. Enjoyment of a sumptuous meal
One of the most delightful pleasures of life is to sit and enjoy a delicious, full-course meal, especially when surrounded by loving family and/or friends. Don’t take that feeling for granted. Enjoy a sumptuous home-cooked meal and drink down a glass of fine wine to your full pleasure. Many people don’t get to enjoy that for different reasons ranging from health complications to the high cost of a decent meal.
9. Relief for releasing a full bowel
Ah, that feeling of rushing to the toilet and releasing a full bowel. Priceless! It makes you feel lighter and truly relieved. Don’t take the feeling for granted. Many people go to the toilet and constipate!
Success doesn’t come easy. You put in the hard work. You sacrifice your sweat and blood. You endure pain and hardships. In the end, you come out a winner. You become the champion! That is a glorious feeling. Cherish it when it comes. Winners are more likely to continue winning because they have tasted success and know what they are capable of.Advertising
Featured photo credit: Mo Riza via flickr.com
Last Updated on January 15, 2021
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension. 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.
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? 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.
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.
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:
“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.
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.
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
- Increasing Confidence with Body Language
- 8 Fatal Body Language Mistakes To Avoid During Presentations
- Be Instantly Irresistible With These 10 Body Language Tips
Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com
|||^||Berkeley News: The 16 facial expressions most common to emotional situations worldwide|
|||^||Science Daily: Teeth grinding and facial pain increase due to coronavirus stress and anxiety|
|||^||National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research: TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint & Muscle Disorders|
|||^||Michigan Medicine: Stress Management: Doing Progressive Muscle Relaxation|
|||^||Spectra Magazine: Oculesics: Science Speaks Where Words Do Not|
|||^||NCBI: Attention to Eye Contact in the West and East: Autonomic Responses and Evaluative Ratings|
|||^||ResearchGate: An Anthropology of the Handshake|
|||^||Sage Journals: Mapping the Range of Information Contained in the Iconic Hand Gestures that Accompany Spontaneous Speech|
|||^||Journal of Experimental Psychology: Hand Matters: Left-Hand Gestures Enhance Metaphor Explanation|