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15 Easily Forgotten Life Lessons

15 Easily Forgotten Life Lessons

There are a collection of life lessons that guide us toward happiness and fullness. But the busier we get, the more we forget those lessons. Remembering these life lessons can help us engage in behavior that will bring forth positive feelings and improve our relationships with other people, so always keep them in mind. Let us remind you:

1. Small gestures can mean the most

Sometimes going out of the your way at the store, giving a small gift, or sharing a smile while walking by can make another person’s day. Spread positivity with small gestures and watch the world be positive in return.

2. Our self-worth determines how we perceive other’s actions

If you think negatively about yourself, you’re going to assume people are always being negative towards you. Having a self-worth that reflects well on yourself will stop that perception and help you view others’ actions as positive towards yourself.

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3. Separating yourself from the situation makes the solution easier to see

When you’re head first in a situation and feeling backed up against a wall, finding a solution can be impossible. Moving yourself into a neutral corner of the arena can help you find a compromise that will make both parties happy in much better timing.

4. Don’t take anything for granted

When things are going good, and staying good, we forget that not everything is permanent. Never take anything for granted and appreciate what you have because it could be gone tomorrow.

5. Not everyone is going to like you

You could be the most likable person on the planet, but that doesn’t change that there is going to be someone who doesn’t like you. Once you accept that, it’s easy to move forward with life.

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6. We accept the love we think we deserve

If you believe no one should love you, you won’t notice the love that comes towards you. If you believe you are worthy of lots of love, you will notice and accept that love that comes towards you.

7. Everything happens for a reason

Sometimes it can seem that the whole world is against you, but everything happens for a reason. There is a plan for each of us, and sometimes that plan has a few bumps.

8. Approach life with a smile

If you smile at the world, the world will smile back at you.

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9. Mean people aren’t mean, they’re hurt

No one is born naturally mean. Those that act rudely towards others are trying to cope with their own hurt, so be kind to those who treat you horribly. They need it.

10. A step back is healthy in a relationship

When you’re in the early stages of a relationship (romantic or not) it’s all too easy to jump in and lose yourself. Take some time to clear your head and reflect on where the relationship is going. It will help your relationship in the long run.

11. Every success deserves celebration

It doesn’t matter whether you won the Nobel Peace Prize or just finished filing your taxes, take the time to celebrate all your successes.

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12. Take negative people out of your life

In order to live a fulfilling life that makes you feel good you have to weed out the bad. Remove the people who bring you down and see how it improves your daily life.

13. Always do the thing that gives you the most out of life

If the option is to stay inside and watch Netflix or to go to a gallery opening, choose the option you believe will help you grow emotionally and in your knowledge. Always choose the option that gives you the most.

14. Be well rounded, but focus on what you love

It’s important to know a little bit of everything in order to be a well-rounded person. However, choose things that mean the most to you and focus on them (sailing, criminal law, etc.) — it’s important to have true interests, not just general knowledge.

15. Remind people how much they mean to you

Promote good relations with those in your life by reminding them how much they mean to you. Send them a note or even an email. Keeping those relations is important in having a well-rounded life.

Featured photo credit: morgueFile via mrg.bz

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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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