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10 Things That Chronically Unhappy People Do

10 Things That Chronically Unhappy People Do

Happy people don’t try for happiness. They don’t look for it. Happy people become happy as a sidenote to living their life the best way they can. Chronically unhappy people seem to want to fix their unhappiness and in doing so miss the mark all together. Happiness can’t be chased. It can’t be found. It can’t be grasped. It happens, when everything else falls into place.

You can’t fix unhappiness, unless you fix your inner dormant self. Wake up inside and make some changes. Happiness is grossly related to our actions, our choices and ultimately our thoughts. You can feel happy only as much as your mind will allow you. Fix your thoughts. Stretch your mind. Stretch your capacity to feel better.

Here are 10 common things chronically unhappy people do and how they can heal their life.

1.  They subscribe to fatalistic views of life.

Unhappy people quickly conclude the finality of something being impossible before giving it a chance for hope. “People can’t change.” “That is not fixable.” “You are finished.” These types of belief systems are self-limiting. They all happen to be fear driven. They keep you from trying alternatives, testing new ways, finding workarounds, solving problems. This kind of thinking holds people back from their actual potential.

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius

A closed mind cannot problem solve effectively. So to be happy throw aboard all you fatalistic beliefs and start being open-minded instead, thinking positive.

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2.  They stay stuck. They’re averse to change.

I get it. People need a break from the hustle of life, they throw the towel in, and e.g. eat more, exercise less. This is the time in their life when they become a spectator instead of a participant in life. Change means work, it means pain. It means getting out of the comfort zone. It means losing control a little bit.

Still, it’s important to practice change, feeling fear and overcoming it – because that’s where happiness starts shining through.  It happens when you aren’t focused on finding happiness, but focused instead on overcoming a fear. The evolution and growth of a person is where personal satisfaction and accomplishment breeds happiness. Without personal development we are expecting happiness to come without having done the work. Unhappiness is a symptom of arrested development. So get active and take your life in your own hands.

“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” – Steve Maraboli

3.  They don’t try enough.

Being unhappy is the same as giving up. It’s a choice you make every day to not try at something. We need to try new habits, try new relationships, try new activities, try new foods, try new knowledge. We need to keep trying to find ourselves at every stage of our lives. We need to try to be our best person. We need to try to serve.

Happiness is finding your passion. Your passion is the thing that you love so much that it causes you pain. Unhappy people quit too early. They don’t give themselves credit and quit before the glory. When we know what we’re made of, it give us confidence to try more often.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

4.  They self deprecate.

They’re quick to quip, “I am such an idiot.” Or “I am terrible person.” You’ve got to be good to yourself and it starts by quitting the self inflicted verbal abuse. Happiness is derived from confidence and that inner belief in ourselves. You can’t be happy if you don’t love yourself. If you don’t love yourself, people can sense it and won’t want to love you either. Project outwards what you want projecting inwards.

“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – A.A. Milne

Your disposition is a product of your thoughts, how you treat yourself and how you nourish yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat someone you love.

5.  They read, watch, hear dark and depressing things.

Something as simple as the news, is inherently depressing. It’s easy to get to a place where you want to hear the doom and gloom about the world and other people. We program ourselves to believe that our lives are better compared to the horror stories we hear. The problem is that we’re polluting our mind to attract those very things in our lives. Sad love songs are nice but do the songs you listen to correlate with the state of your relationships? What would happen if we exposed ourselves to funny, happy things?

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” –  Abraham Lincoln

Change your mindset. Decide how you want to feel and immerse yourself in a culture more happy.

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6.  They care about what others think.

It’s impossible to be happy if you spend worthless time thinking about outside judgements. Find out what YOU think and care only about that. Not how others stifle you. Feel strong about your own beliefs so that when people judge, you can stand confident. It takes major introspection to discover your authentic self, so don’t waste time on what others are thinking.

“Be true to yourself and you will never fall.” – Beastie Boys.

7.  They are defensive.

Instead of making things happen, things are happening to unhappy people. Living life in the defensive position is no play for happiness. Take nothing personal. Accept truth. Learn to be okay with it.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lao Tzu

Be open to taking chances, getting creative and working at something. Little achievements are big offensive moves.

8.  They are passionate and proud (but also stubborn).

Unhappy people want to do things their way. Given suggestions, they rebel even more positive that they are right. Sometimes it’s pride that gets in the way. Pride is just another barrier to happiness. Pride needs to be checked and wrecked. Pride is selfish and happiness is selfless. They have to be open to alternative ideas and solutions. If something is not working, try a new approach.

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“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill

Being humble is the answer to happiness. Do something different, if you want a different result!

9.  They hold on for too long.

Toxic relationships, sad memories, the past, material possessions, unfinished projects, unfinished tasks, clutter, feelings, grudges….the list goes on and on. Whether it’s de-cluttering, detoxing, reprioritizing or clearing the mind, there needs to be a consious effort to let go of the old, to make room for the new.

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” – Anatole France

One door must close for another to open! Holding on to the past and looking back, not forward, halts progress and happiness. The best things happen to those that don’t hold on too tightly. Let go of your grasp and watch how things fall into place without your efforts. Have faith in something other than yourself. Let go of control.

10.  They take themselves too seriously.

If you can’t find humor in your efforts or circumstances, then you’re taking yourself too seriously. Learn to laugh at yourself and at others. When people take themselves so seriously, they aren’t present. Step back and breathe, look at the big picture. Don’t be that person that tries too hard! Narcissism happens when you believe so strongly that only your own attributes can produce gratification. That’s a lot of pressure to put on oneself. Learn to be humble, accept help from others.

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Life is too short to be so serious.

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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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