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10 Lies To Stop Telling Yourself About Making Changes in Life

10 Lies To Stop Telling Yourself About Making Changes in Life

Making changes in life is something people often make excuses for. However, letting those excuses prevent you from making important changes can impact you in negative ways. It’s time to uncross those fingers behind your back and be honest with yourself. Here are 10 common lies to stop telling yourself, and what you can do instead.

1. I’m not him/her

People tend to compare themselves to others who have already made the change they are contemplating. This can affect the way you perceive yourself and your outcome. It also won’t help you to achieve your goal. Rather, try to think of who you are comparing yourself to as proof that it can be done. Have the “If they can do it, so can I” mentality.

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2. I’m comfortable with what I have or where I am in life

That’s great, but don’t let this prevent you from making a life change. If you were comfortable in this stage of life, then you can be comfortable in the next. Instead, try to think, “I’m comfortable here, so let me push myself to be comfortable doing something else.” This will also allow you to expand your horizons.

3. I can do it later

Procrastination is the killer of ambition. It’s that simple. This lie can affect you by allowing you to put it off over and over again. Whenever you start to use this excuse think, “I can do it now!” Why not get it done now and move on to the next thing life will surely throw at you?

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4. I don’t know how

This statement is true about almost everything in life. At some point you had to learn. Consider driving; when you were younger you didn’t know how to drive. Then when you were old enough, you had to be taught the rules and how to drive a car. Now, you probably can’t imagine not knowing how to drive. Use this as inspiration and think, “I can learn how.”

5. It’s not that important

This is a huge lie! This is your life, and a potentially big change for your life–of course it’s important! It might just be one of the most important changes in your life, but you won’t know if you don’t do it. Anything and everything that has to do with you is a priority. Think, “It’s my life, and it’s important.” This couldn’t be more true.

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6. I’m afraid to fail

Failure is scary. Everyone is afraid to fail, and this is normal. This affects you by leading you to believe you will not succeed. You are giving this change a negative stigma before you even make the change. Instead, think, “What if I succeed?” Putting a positive light on the situation will help you to conquer the change.

7. I don’t want to get hurt

This one usually involves relationships. It’s hard to start something new when you are holding back. You could feel this way because of something that happened in your past, or something you witnessed someone close to you go through. This lie could potentially prevent you from developing a great relationship. Try to let the past be the past, and give it a chance–it could be well worth it. Think, “I won’t know if I don’t try.”

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8. I won’t be in control

Having control of a situation is really important to some people. Losing their control of a situation could be frightening. If you are one of those individuals, then this could be holding you back. If you don’t have control then someone else does, and you should try to trust them. If you trust them and know that they have your best interests at heart, then there is no reason why anything bad should happen. In a sense, you have decided they have the control, and that should ease your mind. Think, “I trust them.”

9. I don’t like change

This might be the biggest lie that is holding you back. This affects you by not allowing you to grow or develop by exploring new things. Change can be scary and not everyone enjoys it, but it is a part of growing and maturing. We can’t stay the same forever. Think, “Change is good.” It can open you to a world of new experiences and opportunities

10. I don’t have the time

If you let it, this lie could prevent you from ever making the change, or taking the chance. It affects you by allowing you to put it off. If you don’t have time now, then when will you? Instead, think, “This is important, and I need to make time for it.” Sometimes you just need to change the way you think about something. Noting that the change is important and you need to make time for it, will encourage you to actually do it.

Featured photo credit: Girl Enjoying View in Adrspach Rocks via picjumbo.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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