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10 Simple Things You Can Do To Make Giving Feel Good

10 Simple Things You Can Do To Make Giving Feel Good

Giving always seems a very simple thing to do; however, it’s not as easy as it sounds, especially when you feel that you are giving something that you might lack, such as love or money. When you possess a lack mentality, it almost seems impossible to give. You ask yourself, “What’s in it for me?” and feel resentful rather than open hearted and good about it.

Life is about giving, and giving one of the many things that should be done unconditionally and with no expectation of return. If you give away what you feel you lack, but give it anyway from an open heart, then you’ll receive more stuff to feel good about, which results in more giving.

Life is meant to feel good, so I’ve come up with 10 points to help make giving feel good again!

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1. Make giving a choice rather than a chore

When giving feels false or forced it can make you feel used, taken for granted, or worse—resentful. All of these feelings do little for the soul and are hardly ways to make giving feel good. Like many things in life—getting up on a Monday morning, for example—when you’ve got to do something rather than it being a conscious choice, it can make it that little bit harder.

So when you’re giving, make it a choice rather than something you feel you have to do. If it’s up to you and you’ve decided when, how and who you are going to give to, it’s going to make you feel more excited about it and you’ll want to do it again and again!

2. Give a little but give often

Giving is a wonderful feeling, especially when you can give little amounts often. It is far better to give what you can than stretch yourself and give a lot in one go. To make giving feel good, it’s wise to start small then build it up as you go along. It’s great to see what you give as you give it, seeing the progress made step by step.

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3. Giving encourages others to give too

Have you ever given someone a hug only to have them hug you back, or paid for a cup of coffee only for a cup of coffee to be paid for and gifted to you? When you give it’s a bit like yawning, it becomes contagious. The only difference is that the person you give to may not always be the one to give back. However, the receiving will be returned, either by someone else or through another gift. Giving opens people’s eyes to the magical feeling it can bring, a satisfaction like no other and that can be repeated time and time again.

4. Giving can make a massive impact on the world

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of giving when you see the impact one gift can make. It can impact on just one person, an entire community or even the planet. To make giving feel good and to see the difference you can make is one of the best feelings ever. Seeing a poor person smile, a child learning to read or a dog being given a new home can change a bad day to a very good day indeed.

5. Giving can make you appreciate all that you have

When you give, it’s normally to help another who is lacking in some way. It can be because there is a lack of money, lack of love, lack of shelter or perhaps a lack of food. Whichever circumstance it might be, when you see how others suffer it can make you look at your life in a whole new light. When you see others in need, giving to them what you already have can make giving feel good because you appreciate what you have a whole lot more.

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6. Giving more of something you wish to receive

It’s amazing how giving love, money, kindness or other such luxuries can make you feel good, especially when you feel somewhat lacking in those things. When you give with an open heart and no expectation the very things you would love to receive, you will receive them back and more so. If you want to receive more money, then give your own money away—be generous and make it a pleasure to give.

7. Giving help to connect with others

When you give it creates a special kind of bond between you and the person or thing you are giving to. It can create an unspoken connection of gratitude, love and compassion, especially if the receiver of your gift finds it hard to express how they feel. Connection is what gives many a purpose in life, that amazing feeling of being understood by another and knowing that you are not alone. Give to connect and you will always feel good!

8. Give anonymously and reap the rewards of doing so

The gift of giving is very special, even more so when you expect nothing from it, not even a thank-you. When you give anonymously there is no expectation at all, other than that you’ll feel good about yourself and about life. This is the ultimate gift of giving because there is no ulterior motive or conditional expectation; you are giving because you can and you want to.

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9. Giving makes life beautiful

Life is beautiful; especially when you put others’ wants and needs before your own. You’ll understand that there are greater things than just what makes you happy, and being mindful of that will make giving feel good. You’ll see life through other people’s eyes and see how making their lives better through giving makes life beautiful.

10. Giving gives you a purpose in life

Ever feel like there’s something missing in your life, or do you ever wonder why you were put on this planet? When you make a habit of giving back, it will instill a sense of purpose in your life and make you wonder why you never started it years ago! It’s only as you grow that you realize what matters in life, that there are other things to consider and to do whilst you live this one and only life. A purpose will make you leap out of bed in the mornings, eager to get on with the day and give it your all. So give like you’ve never given before!

Featured photo credit: Give me love/ Lara Von Lion via flickr.com

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Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips on Lifehack.

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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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