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10 Tips to be More Grateful in Life

10 Tips to be More Grateful in Life

To be more grateful in life means that you are also allowing yourself to be happier, more contented and more satisfied with everything that has been going on around you. But with all the stress, all the disappointments and all the anxiety around you, I bet you ask yourself this question all the time:

“How exactly can I be more grateful with my life?”

Well, my dear friend, I think I have ten tips to help you with this particular concern. Here they are:

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1. Learn to live in the moment.

Life is a wonderful adventure filled with enriching experiences and endless possibilities. Don’t just go through the motions of repetitive activities and boring tasks. No! Being a mindless zombie can make you more likely to take things for granted. Instead of doing something just for the sake of doing it, actually make an effort to savor the experience. You’re supposed to attend a conference? Absorb it. Babysit your niece? Savor the moment. Eat a 15-minute lunch? Taste each bite.

2. Make an Oath of Gratitude.

Being aware of your goal to be more grateful can help you look for things to be really more grateful for. Gratitude is a conscious decision. You have to practice it consistently.

3. Immerse yourself with inspirational thoughts and motivational quotes. 

Your feeling of gratitude is a direct manifestation of your environment. If you feel more driven, more passionate, and more alive, you are also bound to appreciate more, live more, and be more content.

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4. Make your own Gratitude Board.

You’ve heard of Motivation Boards, Disaster Boards and Dream Boards, so why can’t you have Gratitude Boards as well? Instead of posting your dreams and your disasters, it’s better for you to post the ideals that you feel grateful for. Just a hint: focus more on people and experiences rather than on materialistic stuff that don’t necessarily last very long.

5. Control your thoughts.

Of course you have the power to control what you’re thinking of! Consider this exercise, for example: if you find yourself thinking more and more self-entitled, stop. If you find yourself repeating negative junk, stop. And if you find yourself comparing yourself to other people, stop. You are given consciousness. Make use of it wisely.

6. Always resist the temptation of comparing yourself with other people.

As humans, we have the natural tendency to compare ourselves with others with the hope of attaining satisfaction. Right now, I’m telling you that this activity does not help you feel to be more grateful in life. It does the opposite! You will always be meeting someone richer, more attractive, more successful and more intelligent than you are. Comparison will just rob you off your self-worth and make you feel inferior to others! Don’t do it, please.

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7. Watch your words.

You can feel more grateful in life if you are using more positive and more enlightening words. Words that stress you and make you feel worthless should definitely be eliminated.

8. Appreciate what you have right now. 

The happiest people are those who are contented with what they currently have, not with what they lack. Apply an abundance mindset in your way of thinking – every action begins with the mind, after all.

9. Acknowledge the past, but move on. 

I’m not saying that you should ignore the past, naturally. That’s impossible. What I’m saying is that you should be aware of your past mistakes, past heartbreaks, past failures and past frustrations. Use them as stepping stones. Acknowledge the fact that they did happen in the past and utilize the lessons you learned from them in the present so that you won’t experience them in the future. Be more grateful of the bad as well!

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10. Help other people and touch their lives meaningfully.

There really is nothing more rewarding in this world than helping other people improve their lives. This activity doesn’t only make you feel great about yourself – it also makes you value what you have in your life. Go on and sponsor a child’s education. Give your old clothes and books to a charitable institution. Donate your time and offer to teach children for free once a week. Hold feeding programs with non-profit organizations.

Every little thing counts. You have the ability to make yourself feel to be more grateful in your life – never let anybody tell you different.

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Lianne Martha Maiquez Laroya

Lianne is a licensed financial advisor, Registered Financial Planner, entrepreneur and book author.

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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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