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10 Ways To Greatly Improve Your Attitude

10 Ways To Greatly Improve Your Attitude

Our attitude plays a big part in our everyday lives and can affect how our life may turn out in the future. If you decide to live with a negative attitude, always expecting the worst and never enjoying what you already have in your life, you’ll find that your inner choices will reflect on the outside. However, if you have a good attitude, you’ll be the kind of person who works hard, is a believer in the fact that life is for living, and you will live the kind of life many would aspire to.

Attitude comes down to choice, you can choose whether to have a good or a bad attitude and whether external things can affect it or not. With this in mind I’ve come up with a few ways to help improve your attitude when you are struggling to turn a bad day into a good one.

1. Take action and then let it go.

If you have something you need to get done, and you’ve been putting it off because the result could go either way, the best thing for you to do to improve your attitude is to take the appropriate action required and then let it go. Holding on, worrying and wasting precious time fretting will only put a downer on your attitude. If you remember that life is for living, and what will be will be, then you can’t go far wrong. Worrying is a complete waste of your time—if it’s going to happen, it will happen anyway, whether you worry about it or not!

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2. Spend time with those who share your positive attitude.

This is a must if you want to improve your attitude. The people you surround yourself with most of the time will reflect upon you and how you live your life. So always make sure that these people share your positive vibe, and lift you rather than bring you down. We are, after all, only human, so there will be times when we get a bit down on our luck, which makes it even more important to have good, positive people on hand to encourage, support and inspire us.

3. Remember to forgive easily the limitations of others.

So often we get disappointed by other people’s actions or non-action. Instead of getting angry or retaliating, the best way to improve the situation and to improve your attitude is to forgive. Most people don’t understand why they do the things they do or say the things they say. It is through your forgiveness (which is not about letting them off the hook, but rather letting yourself off the hook) that you will improve your attitude. Holding on to grudges will only cause you more harm than good because most people don’t realize how their limitations affect others anyway!

4. Always act with a purpose.

When you take action, always take steps to act with a purpose, so that your actions are in line with your values and who you are. Many people walk through life blindly, with no real reason for what they do and why they do it. Instead, live with a sense of purpose, so that you go through life knowing the effect you have on those around you and why you do the things you do. For an example, Walt Disney’s main purpose was to “make people happy,” so next time you act, think of your purpose and improve your attitude whilst doing so!

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5. Always say, “Please,” and, “Thank you.”

Being polite when given help or asking for it isn’t a hard thing to do, yet so often we forget these simple words, especially with those closest to us. If you want to improve your attitude use, “Please,” and, “Thank you,” every single time you are given the opportunity. Why? Because what you give out you get back, so when you are nice to someone who is helping you out or when you need some assistance, you’ll find that you’ll get more than you bargained for—in a good way, of course!

6. Don’t compare yourself to others.

If you want to improve your attitude to life and to those around you, quit comparing yourself to others. It’s human to compare our lives with others, but when we do it too often we can drag ourselves down and start to think that life isn’t going the way it’s supposed to go. When we compare, we think someone else’s life looks better than ours. It’s important to remember that we are observing the external view, and things may look different behind closed doors. So spare yourself the worry and stop comparing, only focus on your own life and attitude to it and you’ll be much happier in the process.

7. Expect the best out of every situation instead of the worst.

How many times do you focus on the bad stuff that might happen in your life, rather than the good? Do you hear yourself saying things like, “Oh, I knew that would happen,” or, “I really hope this doesn’t cost too much,” and, “I don’t want to be late”?

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When life is hectic and you feel that you don’t have time to do what you want because of what other people want from you, it’s no wonder you can get so down and disgruntled about life. We tend to focus on what could go wrong in our lives rather than focusing on what could go right. In some respects we like to have a moan, and it seems complaining has become such second nature to us that we don’t even realize we are doing it.

So how about trying something different? Try not to complain for seven days and instead replace any negative thoughts with a positive one. Expect the very best out of every situation and see the improvement in your attitude, you won’t be disappointed!

8. Wake up early every day.

I am a real advocate of early rising. For me it brings me closer to the feeling of starting afresh, just in case yesterday didn’t go quite as planned. I usually get up at around 4 a.m., although that kind of time is pretty extreme to most people. However, when you plan to wake up early and intend to make each day a good one, you’ll find your attitude will change. It’s like you are taking the day by the horns and making sure you get every last bit out of it and on your own terms. You’ll feel in control of your life rather than just going through life in a blur.

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Just try it, even if you only get up 20 minutes earlier than normal.

9. Live in the present moment.

As you read this you will probably have 101 things on your mind. Errands to run, things you should be doing and things that have happened that are worrying you. All too often we spend our days lost in thoughts about the past or the future and never really living in this very moment. When we live like this, we are never really comfortable with ourselves because our inner peace is constantly at odds, which affects our mood and our attitude.

Instead of rushing about, try to spend time watching your thoughts and becoming more mindful of what you are saying to yourself. If you are worrying about something, you are not in the present moment because you are thinking about something that could happen in the future. Anxiety, stress and worry are all signs you are not living in the now. When you have too much of this going on it can lead to health issues later on in life. To improve your attitude, learn how to take a break, to sit and be quiet even if it’s just for 10 minutes a day. Your body and mind will thank you for it, and so will your friends!

10. Be grateful for everything you have.

This always seems to come up whenever I write because gratefulness is one of the most powerful attitudes to have in life. If you want a better life, give thanks for all that you have each and every day. When you rise early, practice grace before you do anything. This kind of practice will set your day off nicely, your attitude will improve and you’ll find you will receive more things to be grateful about!

So how’s your attitude today, does it need a little fine tuning?

More by this author

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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