Advertising
Advertising

11 Things You Don’t Need To Worry About

11 Things You Don’t Need To Worry About

Worrying is the worst. Here are 11 things not to worry about, so you can spend your time doing better things.

1. What People Think Of You

The other morning I woke up and thought about whether my best friend’s girlfriend likes me after what I said the night before about Irish goodbyes. I’m for them and she’s totally against them. I wondered if what I’d said made her think less of me. But then I realized that I was wasting my time. I like her, and that’s all that matters—if she doesn’t like me, that’s her problem. Because my best friend isn’t going to stop liking me, even if his girlfriend does.

Advertising

2. Dying

All forms of life die. There’s no way around it. The best thing to do is figure out how to live exactly the way you want. Try to imagine that today is your last day alive. What would you do differently?

3. The future and the past

This one is hard for me. There’s so much unknown out there, and anything can happen, right? Well, here’s another way of thinking about it: everything that happens happens exactly the way it was supposed to happen. So whatever happened in the past was meant to happen that way, and same goes for whatever happens in the future.

Advertising

4. Other people’s drama

I have a friend who’s always breaking up with her boyfriend. I used to be there for her, but after the third of fourth time, I realized that she was only bringing me down with her whenever she worried about what to do next. Now, if she and her boo are “breaking up,” I wish her luck and get back to work.

5. Keeping up with trends

Between planned obsolescence, high fashion, and the Internet, I’m pretty much never totally up on the trends. That’s cool with me—by buying quality, fine things, and cultivating my taste based on classic styles from the past, I feel good knowing that what always looks good is better than the flavor of the week.

Advertising

6. Your to-do list

Attack it one at a time, try not to procrastinate, and see that list shrink. Whenever you start to worry about it, act on it and see your worry disappear.

7. Your mistakes

Worse things have happened. And after they do you can only learn from them. I believe it was Samuel Beckett who said: “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” And look at him—he won the Nobel Prize.

Advertising

8. Your appearance

You can’t change your appearance unless you have a lot of money, and then you still may not look better. Everyone always wants to be sexier and more beautiful. But we can’t all be runway models. Instead, get used to feeling comfortable with who you are. Admitting your deficiencies or the truth to yourself will help. And if saying them aloud doesn’t work, you can always try writing it down on paper.

9. Work

You should be working in a job that doesn’t make you miserable. Sure, there may be people who annoy you, but unless you actively hate yourself for working there, you shouldn’t worry. Try to deal with those people one-on-one by telling them what you want to see resolved. Then work hard, and if you really hate it so much, don’t worry about it; just quit and find something new. You’d be surprised how necessity and desperation can work in your favor to help you get a new job fast.

10. Money

Yes you need it. But while it’s nice to have, most of us can make do with less. Live your life so that you can reflect on the great times you had, and don’t worry about spending that extra few dollars on the meal you really want when you go out to dinner—just enjoy it. That said, you can’t party all the time, so make sure you have some money stashed away for a rainy day.

11. Your Decisions

You try to make the right decisions and most of the time you do. But sometimes the worry creeps into your head that maybe you’re making the wrong ones. Don’t despair. See number 7 and remember that you’re only young once.

More by this author

If You Don’t Know How To Be Yourself, Read This. meditate anywhere 9 Ways To Meditate Anywhere And Anytime You Want 13 Things Every First-Time Traveler Should Know coworkers misbehavior When to Tell Your Boss About Coworkers’ Misbehaviors how to be happy Starting Today You Can Be the Happiest Person If You Pick Up These Habits

Trending in Communication

1 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 2 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake 3 7 Science-Backed Books About Spirituality That Will Change Your Life 4 20 Things Life Is Too Short to Worry About 5 How to Find Inner Peace and Lasting Happiness

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