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10 Unusual Routines That Will Bring Joy To Your Life

10 Unusual Routines That Will Bring Joy To Your Life

We can’t always travel the world or win a million bucks. The secret is finding the unusual, small routines that will bring you joy every day. Here are 10 that can indeed make a big difference in your overall attitude and enjoyment throughout the day.

1. If you need time for yourself, tell people “I’m busy” – it’s a legitimate excuse.

“In a world of distraction and competing demands, mental focus is a scarce yet precious commodity. If you want more of it, you will have to be intentional about getting it.”
– Michael Hyatt

It’s easy to get so caught up in pleasing people that you forget to take care of yourself. Take the time you need to make sure your health doesn’t suffer on account of others demanding your attention.

2. Once you get off work, stop checking your email – rarely is anything so dire that it can’t be left until the morning.

“BIF stands for “before I forget” and refers to emails sent on evenings or weekends out of fear of forgetting a to-do or follow-up. This sets a mutual expectation of 24/7 work hours and causes a plethora of problems.”
– Tim Ferriss

Unless you own a business, your evenings are your own – this is time for your family, your friends and yourself. Stop letting work interfere with your personal life.

3. Give yourself permission to buy any book you want at any time – it’s an investment in you. Now read them.

“If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
– Benjamin Franklin

Reading might be one of the most important things you can do to better yourself. It’s the wisdom of brilliant minds condensed down to a $20 and 2-day commitment. Give yourself that luxury because ultimately, it’s an investment.

4. Drive with the windows down and the music up. If people look, just smile and start dancing.

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching, love like you’ll never be hurt, sing like there’s nobody listening, nd live like it’s heaven on earth.”
– William W. Purkey

How long has it been? Let your hair down, stick your head out and watch yourself break into a smile. There’s nothing quite like it, and it’s the simplest way to feel free and let loose.

5. Leave a note on a napkin with a large tip – you’d be surprised how much that means.

“We are most alive when we are loving and actively giving of ourselves because we were made to do these things.”
– Frances Chan

This may mean paying an extra $10 – that you can afford – for a meal that doesn’t quite warrant that amount of a tip. But you may have just made someone’s night. Let them know that someone cares and appreciates their service.

6. Get plenty of rest each night – it’s crucial to your health, sanity, productivity and attitude.

“A good night’s sleep has immediate effects on our productivity, and, best of all, it can even help us keep our other resolutions.”
– Sendhil Mullainathan, professor at Harvard

Sleep is more important than people give it credit for. It’s your body’s way of cleaning the mind. Anyone who believes sleep is for the weak, is misguided in their understanding of your body’s limits and needs.

7. Write down your thoughts for 10 minutes a day – it helps you formulate cohesive thoughts.

“Once we get those muddy, maddening, confusing thoughts [nebulous worries, jitters, and preoccupations] on the page, we face our day with clearer eyes.”
– Julia Cameron

It’s not much – just 10 minutes – but it trains your mind to put feelings and thoughts into tight little packages that can be better understood by the reader and yourself. You might be surprised what you find out about yourself!

8. Create uninterruptable routines for the first hour of the day.

“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.”
– Lemony Snicket, “The Blank Book”

Mornings are crucial – they dictate your attitude, your perceptions and your energy for the day. Give yourself the gift of a predictable, enjoyable, rejuvenating morning routine. No stress. No screens. No interruptions.

9. Doodle. In meetings, over dinner, during a movie, at the park… just doodle.

“The very act of creating a Doodle necessarily engages the mind. Doodling IS thinking, soldiers, it’s just thinking in disguise.”
– Sunni Brown

Doodles are a great way to visualize your conscious and subconscious thoughts and put your mind in a trance-like state that fosters creativity and innovation. It’s not just for children – whip out that pen in the next board meeting and let your calm creativity take over.

10. Quit whatever doesn’t add value to your life.

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
– Hans Hofmann, Introduction to the Bootstrap, 1993

Why waste precious hours of your life on activities that don’t add value to your life? Make room for the things that matter by eliminating the things which don’t. Simplicity is a freeing way to live.

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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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