Advertising
Advertising

10 Great Books to Help You Find the Meaning of Life

10 Great Books to Help You Find the Meaning of Life

For each of us, the meaning of life is different. But, we are all seeking answers so we can find our own meaning of life. For some of us, this is a lifelong journey. For others, it is a matter of taking the right steps to figure out why we are here, and what we are meant to do with our lives. There are several great books out there that can help you find the meaning of your own life. Here are our top 10 picks.

1. To be Told: Know Your Story, Shape Your Future

to be told

    Dan Allender tends to use a lot of Christian language in his work, but his writing can help anyone who wants to learn more about themselves and do better in life. The more you know about yourself, the better able you will be to understand why you do what you do, and how to make changes that will lead to your success in life.

    2. The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living

    Advertising

    The_Art_of_Happiness

      Author Howard Cutler wrote this Dalai Lama-inspired book for a Western audience. He talks about how important happiness is, and how easy it is to achieve.

      3. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

      A_New_Earth_by_Eckhart_Tolle

        Check your ego at the door, and enjoy a more abundant life. This is the message from spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle, who talks about how the ego is the cause of all conflict in life. This book was selected by Oprah Winfrey for her book club, and has been read by millions.

        4. The Hundred-Year Marathon

        Advertising

        3) The Hundred-Year Marathon

          This is a book chronicling the secret strategy of China to usurp the US as the global superpower. Author Michael Pillsbury, who has served in senior national security positions within the US government, uses his own personal knowledge of the subject (based on his career experiences) to give us this wake-up call to challenges within national security.

          5. Let Your Life Speak

          letyourlifespeak_palmer

            This book by Parker Palmer is a great book about work and meaning. The ideas in the book will help you with your vocation, by letting you see the author’s journey. There are loads of great quotes, which you are likely to read many times over for daily inspiration and affirmation.

            6. The Celestine Prophecy

            Advertising

            Thecelestineprophecy

              Written by James Redfield (also his first self-published book), The Celestine Prophecy is part adventure and part New Age spirituality. It is about one man’s journey around Peru to discover nine insights into spirituality. Yes, the plot may be a bit cheesy, but the story is insightful and captivating.

              7. The Artist’s Way

              artistsway

                This is a great book for artists who are stuck in their work. Read about the 12-week journey that will help you get back on track with your art so you can get back to working on the greatest masterpiece of your life.

                8. The Alchemist

                Advertising

                the-alchemist-paulo-coelho-040313-marg

                  Written by Paulo Coelho, this is the story of a shepherd’s journey to the Egyptian pyramids to find treasure. Learn how to discover your own legend, be your own purpose, and understand omens.

                  9. Dream Year

                  dreamyear

                    This book is new this year, but it is good enough to be included in the company of these other great books. Written by Ben Arment, author of Seattle’s Pitch Night, this book is for entrepreneurs and anyone else who has big dreams and wants to find ways to see those dreams come to fruition.

                    10. The Secret

                    the-secret-book-cover-rhonda-byrne11

                      Based on the 2004 film of the same title and written by Rhonda Byrne (television producer, Melbourne), The Secret talks about the laws of attraction. This is a book that is going to show you how to believe in what you want, and actually get it because you believe in it.

                      Featured photo credit: Brittany Stevens via flickr.com

                      More by this author

                      Jane Hurst

                      Writer, editor

                      Stay Productive On The Go – The Top 20 Tools For Digital Nomads 10 Great Books to Help You Find the Meaning of Life 30 Makeup Hacks That Will Change Every Girl’s Life 15 Best Brainstorming And Mind-Mapping Tech Tools For Every Creative Mind 10 Apps You Probably Didn’t Know Can Earn You Extra Money

                      Trending in Communication

                      1 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 2 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake 3 7 Science-Backed Books About Spirituality That Will Change Your Life 4 20 Things Life Is Too Short to Worry About 5 How to Find Inner Peace and Lasting Happiness

                      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