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16 Questions Every 20-Something Should Ask Themselves From Time To Time

16 Questions Every 20-Something Should Ask Themselves From Time To Time

As a 20-something you are faced with many challenges and struggles. Whether those challenges are focusing on your career path, your relationships, your body image, or even your life’s purpose; no one can give you the answers to the questions you should be asking yourself. Asking yourself questions when faced with life’s complications can inspire you to re-think, re-analyze and re-configure the way you have been living life.

1. Am I Living Up To My Full Potential?

As a 20-something it’s easy to reach certain milestones in life, and slowly begin to plateau. The personal growth incurred by challenging your capabilities, can help you reach the best version of yourself that you have ever experienced.

2. Do I Compare Myself To Others Too Often?

It’s easy to get caught up in what your peers are accomplishing while living in their twenties. Comparing yourself to someone that isn’t you, may only bring discouragement. You may feel as if you are falling behind, when in fact you are the leader of your own life journey.

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3. Do I Live In The Present?

As a 20-something you begin to explore who you really are. In order to define your present, you need to keep the past behind you and the future in the horizon. Try living in the moments before they pass. Your past is the foundation to the present, and the present will shape the future.

4. What Are My Life Goals?

Building life goals strengthens the purpose to life. While living in the present is essential to happiness, having a bucket list can give you something to look forward. Achieving goals does not happen over night, so taking small steps that can be applied to your everyday life, can help build towards your future accomplishments.

5. What Triggers My Stress?

It’s important to understand your stress triggers, so you can recognize them when they are present in your life. Once you can recognize your triggers, managing how you react to stress becomes a lot easier, and you can deal with stress on a mature and manageable level.

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6. Do I Recognize My Weaknesses?

It can be easy at times to point out the faults and weakness of others, but have you ever analyzed your own weaknesses? Recognizing your weaknesses may open many doors for self-improvement and personal growth.

7. Do I Recognize My Growth Throughout The Years?

Life sure feels like a scramble as a 20-something, but stopping to absorb all of the incredible things that you have accomplished so far can really encourage and motivate you to aim higher with everything else that you do.

8. Do My Friends Reflect Who I Really Am?

As a 20-something you might hang on to friends from high school, from college, from university, from past work facilities, and so on. Not to say you should say good-bye to all past friendships and only focus on the new, but you should make sure that you are surrounding yourself with people who also reflect who you are and who you want to be.

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9. Do I Make My Decisions Based On The Needs Of Others?

Whether it’s the need for acceptance or recognition, sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in what others want from you, for you. Making decisions based on the needs of others is a short-term fix to keep the people around you content so you can bypass endless questions. However, it’s you who ultimately has to live with your decisions.

10. Am I Spending Money On The Wrong Things?

Saving money can feel impossible once all monthly living expenses are covered. Making a practical budget and breaking down what you actually need and use can really help you see what you have been disposing your money on. Try looking at your wants verses your needs. You may want 2GB of data for your fancy new smart phone, but why not cut the cost of your data plan if you’re actually only using 500MB each month? Do this practice for your cable bill, your grocery list, or even your personal products.

11. Am I Ready To Begin Investing In My Future?

Knowing the lifestyle you want to live can determine how you should invest in your future. A part of investing in your future is deciding a career path. The rest of it is buying property and planning for retirement, which in your twenties may seem obscure.

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12. Do I Feel Like An Equal Contributor In My Workplace?

As a 20-something it’s easy to get looked at as the “rookie” in any job position. If you are putting in hard, honest work ethic and not receiving credit for the work you are doing, it can feel daunting. If you find yourself in a workplace where you are not seen as an equal maybe it’s time to find your voice and speak up.

13. What Do I Need From A Romantic Relationship?

You might have experienced a romantic relationship at some point during your twenties, and it may not have worked out, that’s okay. With each relationship had, you are constantly learning about yourself, as well as others, and what you need out of a life partner. Try taking all of your past relationships and picking out the qualities that you appreciated most, and all of the qualities that held no room for compromise. This will show you the characteristics that are most attractive and important to you.

14. Am I Too Dependent On My Parents?

Sometimes being a 20-something is doing things on your own without parental guidance. As a child, parents were usually there to help you as best as they could in all aspects. As an adult, your parents may be there to mentally support you, but they are no longer held responsible to pay your bills, drive you around, or book your appointments.

15. Do I Love Myself?

Self-love can be hard to wrap your head around when you’re a 20-something, but when you find it, you have a whole new appreciation for yourself. Self-love is about being understanding towards your own needs, as well as having the courage to stand up for yourself even when you’re standing alone. Self-love is knowing how to forgive yourself, and having the ability to live life worry-free from the thoughts others may have of you.

16. Am I Happy?

A question that trumps all; knowing your weaknesses, knowing your strengths, and ultimately understanding yourself as best as possible, will help you find your happiness.

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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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