“In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson” – Tom Bodett
There are so many great lessons we all learn from life. These lessons have helped me become the person I am today. Reading about other peoples’ experiences and lessons in life can give you a better understanding of how you can choose to live your life. To really appreciate the value that these lessons can bring to your life, you need to experience life and embrace the challenges that life throws at you, make mistakes, fail, and bounce back. It is these life lessons that you learn from all of your experiences that will have the most impact.
“People never learn anything by being told, they have to find out for themselves” – Paulo Coelho
So get ready, be open and look forward to passing more life tests and learning more life lessons.
There are many things in our lives that we have to do, even though we may not want to do it. The trick to managing these aspects of our life is to have activities in our life that we actually enjoy and love doing. It is all about keeping perspective and balance in your life. Health, wealth and happiness are the key ingredients to living a life you love and when you have activities in your life that bring you all three, then you are definitely living a life you love.Advertising
“Paralysis by analysis” is defined in Wikipedia as: “the state of over-analysing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralysing the outcome.” The result is that because decisions are never made opportunities are lost. Don’t spend too much time analysing whether you should or shouldn’t act on an opportunity, or step out of your comfort zone to change your life. Manage your risk, listen to your intuition, find your courage and take action.
This life lesson is all about self belief and having a positive attitude in life. Self belief and a positive attitude are the key ingredients to living a successful and fulfilled life.
Have you ever felt fearful about what others think or say about you? If you seek validation from others before you make a decision or take action, then you will never truly be your own person. If people are speaking unkindly about you, ignore it because the comments they make aren’t really about you, your value or self worth. You don’t need other people to validate you, you are already valuable. When you find your courage and step out of your comfort zone to take positive action in your life, there will be people who will support you, ignore you, reject you and disagree with you – and that’s okay. Focus on those who are supporting and encouraging you to be courageous and to be different.Advertising
This lesson is all about being self aware and surrounding yourself with the right people. Those who support and encourage you, will speak their truth to you and to others with integrity and respect. If you are surrounded by people who are only massaging your ego and speaking ill of others, then that is a sure sign that they will be saying very similar things about you behind your back. Managing your ego is key to learning this lesson as it is your ego that will allow you to have these negative and untrustworthy people in your life.
Negative self talk is not going to get you anywhere. If you listen to the negativity in your head, then it will definitely creep into the language you use to communicate with others – particularly in difficult and trying situations. Your negative thoughts without a doubt will influence your relationships. A positive attitude creates positive thoughts which results in positive relationships – even in the tough times!
Become a student of life rather than a person who knows everything. Life lessons can only be learnt the hard way – there is no other way. Embrace the joy of learning new things and stepping into the unknown. There is no joy and there no lessons to be learnt when you know everything there is to know. It is a safe and incredibly boring way to live your life.Advertising
This is a tough life lesson because it is all about understanding the emotions that come with being in love. For some people it takes many times of falling in and out of love before the lesson of “staying true to you,” is learnt. This lesson is also about being self aware and keeping your relationship in perspective. There will always be signs that the person you love may not love you as much. What often happens is that our love blinds us and we choose to ignore these signs. Stay true to you and don’t hand your power over to those people who don’t care for you.
Stress kills. Deal with whatever it is in your life that is creating bad stress. Practise appreciation and gratitude on a daily basis. It is appreciation and gratitude that provides the energy source for you to live an abundant and fulfilled life. Stress will not provide you with abundance and fulfilment in your life.
Dream big, think big; be courageous and believe in you. Surround yourself with people who support, encourage and believe in you – don’t worry about those who reject you or dismiss you. Embrace failure and learn from your mistakes. Accept that the lessons in life are only going to be learnt the hard way and there is no easy way to live a full and abundant life. Become a champion of change and go make a difference in the world.Advertising
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|