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10 Things Every Woman Needs For A Happy Life

10 Things Every Woman Needs For A Happy Life

It is fascinating to read about 900 working women who were asked to record what they had done the day before. Were they happy with what they noted down? Unfortunately, no! They were shocked to see how many things they had done that they hated doing. In other words, they were missing out on happiness. So, read this post to discover 10 things every woman needs for a happy life.

1. Savor happy moments

Instead of worrying all the time and fretting about getting from A to B, try savoring happy moments, feelings and sensations. Worries will do nothing for your happiness.

“Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that—thoughts.” – Allan Lokos

Dr. Fred Bryant from Loyola University Chicago is an expert on this, and his book called Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience, is well worth reading.

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Why not try to prolong the pleasure on some of the following:

  • Enjoy the smell and taste of coffee or other things you eat and drink. Turning off devices and TV really helps.
  • Concentrate on the here and now.
  • Note what you can be thankful for.
  • Wallow in pleasant memories.
  • Bask in the pride of having achieved a mini goal today.

These happy, savoring moments put worries in their place.

“What worries you, masters you.” – John Locke

2. Discover your favourite exercise

There’s no need to list all the health benefits of regular exercise here. But did you know that exercise can ward off depression and in some instances works better than antidepressants? Study after study shows how endorphins (often nicknamed the happy chemicals) are released in the brain after any type of exercise. Mood is improved and there is a general feeling of happiness. Don’t miss out on this marvellous tonic. Choose a sport you really like and you will be getting a dose of happiness on a regular basis.

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3. Look after your friends

Did you know that the number of social contacts and friends you have affects your longevity, health and happiness? Support from friends in times of stress and the comfort and joy that they can bring are obvious indicators. About 5,000 adults were tracked for nine years in Alameda County (near San Francisco). Results showed that there was a definite correlation between the number of social contacts and healthy old age. Those who lived in isolation died younger.

4. You need a sense of humor

“A cigar may just be a cigar, but a joke is never just a joke.” – Sigmund Freud

Laughing at jokes, making jokes or just laughing at funny videos on YouTube are all ways of making you happier. It is true that you can use jokes to help lessen the pain of trauma, illness and mental stress. That is good for your happiness as humor helps you see the positive side of life and can make you more resilient. Watch this video and see how cancer patients who were happier and had a sense of humor had much better chances of recovery.

5. Reading helps you dream

Reading can inform you, help you fantasize, take you to exotic locations and is a wonderful escape valve. Have a list of books to help you reach your reading goals. We should also never forget to encourage our children to read from early on in life, so that they too will experience the joy of reading for:

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  • Knowledge
  • Entertainment
  • Inspiration
  • Curiosity

6. Find a mentor

Many women in their careers need to have a mentor who can be there to guide, instruct, advise and encourage. This is a much more practical way to progress than admiring an idol from afar!

It is tempting to look for someone with a similar background and experience to your own. If you do that, they will not be so quick at identifying your weaknesses or needs. Try to be transparent about giving feedback on the outcome of their advice. Do not be afraid to tell them if you chose not to follow their suggestions.

7. Get a hobby or interest

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Director of the Quality of Life Research Center at Claremont Graduate University, has done some fascinating work on the study of happiness. He defines a deeply satisfying experience as a state of consciousness (‘flow’), which is the basic ingredient of happiness. One of the best ways of encouraging this state is to have a passion, interest or hobby: sport, art, literature, cooking or whatever. It is while you are absorbed in this activity that you can reach this state of flow. Best of all, you are unaware of time passing while doing it. It is one of the best recipes for happiness.

8. Build your self-esteem

Did you know that there is a part of the brain, the anterior cingulated cortex, that is particularly active in generating all those negative thoughts and all those doubts about your beauty, talents and intelligence? Guess what? In women this part of the brain is actually larger than in men! So there may be a neurological explanation for all those doubts that erode your self-esteem.

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Read the book The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, a neuropsychiatrist at the University of California in San Francisco, to understand more about this. To put it briefly, labels you inherit in childhood tend to stick, your failures take up far too much room in your brain and you end up having problems in building your self-esteem. The best way to combat all this is to start reading about female heroines who made their mark against all the odds. With time you can change your negative way of thinking and start singing your own praises for a change. You can ignore what magazines tell you that you should look like and find clothes that suit your body shape better.

9. Don’t forget loving relationships

Can surgery, sex or money make you happy? You have never had it so good in that you can choose your life partner and there is no obligation to enter marriage or have children, in most countries. Yet women in western society have to do a complicated juggling act to appear beautiful, to be successful at work, in marriage, and parenting, and running a home that meets with peer and family approval. This materialistic attitude forgets one important factor. The happiest women are those who are involved in loving relationships (family, partners or friends). You never worry too much about wearing the right shoes. You are far too involved in something much bigger than yourself.

10. Be grateful

Happy women feel grateful a lot of the time. You may keep a gratitude journal if that suits you. But the main thing is to think that life is a precious gift. Just say thank you as often as you can.

What makes happiness in your view? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Featured photo credit: Personal Excellence /Christine Chua via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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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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