Advertising
Advertising

10 Ways to Have Happiness Back in Your Depressing World

10 Ways to Have Happiness Back in Your Depressing World

How many times have you heard the phrase: “Happiness is a choice?” Well, I’m here to tell you that it is indeed correct. In a world of horrific events discussed every five minutes on the television, radio and in the newspapers, it’s no wonder so many people are sad when the state of the world is as it is. It’s times like these that we need to view life from a new perspective, to not let outside circumstances, the media and other people’s negative attitudes affect us in our daily lives. With this in mind I’ve come up with 10 ways to bring the happiness back into your life, to help gain a better perspective on what is happening around you, and to help you to live a brighter, more vibrant life.

1. Always surround yourself with people who love you.

Sounds obvious, but it’s true! If you surround yourself with those who love, nurture and care for you, you will know that even through the toughest times you will always be supported. However, if you surround yourself with negative, soul destroying and energy zapping people who are only out for themselves, your world will look completely the opposite. When love is around you, you will feel it, and because of that you will provide the same love to others who may need it from you. Sometimes, it will be necessary to move away from those who drain you and bring you down. That’s OK. Each person we meet is there to teach us a valuable lesson, one way or another.

Advertising

2. Distract yourself by doing something you love.

What do you love to do? When was the last time you did something you really loved to do? If you’ve answered, “I don’t know,” to both of those questions, then I’d suggest taking some time out to remember what it is that inspires you, lifts you and fills you with passion. In a world with so much sadness we need to remember that following your bliss and doing something you love will have a deep and meaningful effect on you and those around you. It’s doing things you love that brings you joy and brings the happiness back in an otherwise cold world.

3. Smile, laugh and play as often as you can.

Try not to take life too seriously. I know that ‘seriousness’ is required in some circumstances, but if you continually treat life as a struggle or as something painful then it will continue to be that way. Let your true self come out by remembering what it was like as a child to be carefree, to laugh, to smile and to play regularly. If you can learn to bring more play into your life and the lives of those you love, you’ll see that life no longer has to be depressing or sad. Just because the rest of the world is like that doesn’t mean you have to follow suit!

Advertising

4. Be grateful for what you already have in life.

This is always so important and no doubt you’ve seen it many times before. Being thankful or grateful for what you already have in life is one of the main things to remember when living in a depressing and sad world. To put the happiness back in your life you have to be thankful daily. Remember, if you are reading this you probably have a roof over your head, or you have food to eat, or water readily available and most of all you are able to wake up every morning with good health. It is easy to take these things for granted, especially here in the Western world. So instead of worrying or wishing for things you do not have, always be grateful for everything you already do have.

5. Write down your thoughts to calm the mind.

Journaling or writing is a powerful way to unburden the mind of all the sadness or depression around us. So often those who get weighed down with depression or mental health issues feel that they have no one to talk to or they are unable to express themselves openly. Writing is a perfect way to help with getting happiness back. It can release any stress, worries or anxiety, and once you have written down your thoughts—however negative or sad they are—you will feel a hundred times better for letting it out. If you can write every day, putting down your thoughts and feelings and sharing them on paper, you will feel a weight lifted from your shoulders. This is one habit I would recommend if you want to be happier and healthier.

Advertising

6. Go back to nature.

Nature is beautiful and if it’s been a while since you stepped out in it and really took in its natural wonder and magnificence, then perhaps you should take some time out and absorb it fully. There is no need to go on a great hike or head miles away to truly embrace nature, just stepping out into your back garden early in the morning or late in the evening will do the same thing. Sitting and listening to the birds, watching as they go about their daily routines, feeding their young, catching worms or singing their wonderful songs will soon have you fully aware of their presence. It’s not until you really sit, listen and observe that you become in awe of how nature just gets on with life in the only way it knows how, one day at a time.

7. Do something for someone else.

A lot of what has happened in the world to make it depressing has happened because we have forgotten to love and forgotten to give. To get the happiness back in your life, it might be time to start looking at how much giving you actually do. When someone asks you to do something for them, how do you react? Are you resentful, offhand or plain rude? If you have answered “yes” to any of those, then perhaps it’s time to re-think how you are to those you love. Giving does not have to be about money, it can just be giving back time, or helping someone move, or lending a loved one a book. It can be anything. I’ve always felt that if you aren’t giving then you aren’t living because that’s what life is all about!

Advertising

8. Always look for the good in the world rather than the bad.

If you look for reasons to be happy and to get back to happiness then you will find them. So rather than focusing on what’s bad in the world, perhaps it’s time to shift your perspective and focus on the good around you. Remember that your perceptions usually determine your reality, so make sure they are good ones!

9. Trust your gut instinct.

You are the only one who knows and understands what is right or wrong for you. To keep the depressing world from hammering on your door, remember to follow your intuition and have faith that you are going in the right direction. It’s when you believe that you can survive anything that you will have happiness back in your life. Don’t forget that there are no mistakes in life, there are only opportunities to grow.

10. Be the change you want to see in the world.

The world may be a depressing state of affairs, especially when you listen to negative people and the media. If you want to see a change in the world and have happiness back in your life, then start changing your own beliefs and attitude. It’s when you change that you can become what you want to see in the world. If you are more loving, then you will experience that more within your daily life. If you want more happiness then be happy, if you want more money then give money—the list is endless!

So, what ways can you have happiness back in your life when the outside world appears to be so depressing?

More by this author

Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips on Lifehack.

15 Simple Ways To Make Self Improvement That Will Change Your Life 15 Habits of Highly Miserable People If You Think Love Is Always Uncontrollable, You Don’t Understand Love 10 Reasons Why Growing Up Isn’t As Bad As You Think Why The Key To Finding True Love Is Self-Love

Trending in Communication

1 5 Real Relationship Goals You Should Actually Strive Toward 2 When You Learn A Second Language, These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen To You 3 15 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Truly Happy 4 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 5 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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

Read Next