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19 Simple Things Everyone Can Do To Make Life Easier For Each Other

19 Simple Things Everyone Can Do To Make Life Easier For Each Other

You don’t have to create big, grand gestures to make a positive impact on someone else’s day. A few simple courtesies can spell the difference between an awful day and an awesome one. Unfortunately, there are days where it seems that common courtesies are not so common anymore.

Make an effort to go out there and prove that chivalry is not dead. Being gallant & respectful are traits that will never go out of style.

Be that person who will make life easier for the people around you.

1. Put a big smile on your face, even if you don’t feel like it.

Trite as it may sound, the simple act of letting sides of your facial muscles turn north can give a boost to someone else’s day. Like a yawn, it is highly contagious. Even if the smile isn’t genuine, a fake one can lift your own mood. Fake it til you make it.

2. Give a genuine compliment.

Make the compliment very specific and sincere. Instead of simply saying, “you look great!” say something like, “I love how your blue scarf brings out the flecks of gold in your green eyes. They look stunning!”

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3. On the tollway, pay the toll of the person behind you.

Perform an unexpected act of kindness for a stranger. Pay the toll of the person behind you the next time you drive through the tollgate.

On the subway, go ahead and pay someone else’s fare. It’s fast, easy, and it won’t make you poorer. Nobody was ever rendered you bankrupt from parting with some lose change.

4. Tell the person you’re meeting exactly where you are when you’re running late.

Have you ever tried telling someone you’ll be there in 10 minutes when you very well know it will take you another 30 minutes to actually meet them? Spare their feelings. Let them know exactly where you are, so they can plan what to do with their time. You might invite their ire, but at least they’ll know exactly what to expect, and act accordingly.

5. Offer to help a tourist who obviously seems lost.

See someone holding up their well worn map, making sense out of the subway whatever? Offer your help. Give them specific instructions on where and how to get to their destination.

6. Treat the waitress nicely. 

You don’t know if they’ve had a long day and they are on their way to their second job just to keep the bills paid. Everyone has a story. Practice a bit of empathy.

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7. Open the door for an elderly woman, or that person with a bag full of groceries. 

Or hold the door for the person behind you. Practice common courtesies.

8. Share your talent at a public place.

Talents are meant to be seen, heard and appreciated.  A piece of music, a beautiful painting, a heartfelt rendition of a classical piece are reminders to slow down and appreciate our journey in life, and not be too focused on the destination.

Your talent is a gift that is meant to be showcased. Go ahead and show it off.

10. Ignore the wailing children at the grocery store.

Or better yet, give the mother a sympathetic look that says, “I’ve been there, hang in there.”

Mothers of toddlers do not mean to make life harder for you. So stop the judgmental looks and be kind. Same thing goes for moms stuck in a long haul flight with their toddlers. Make a special effort to more tolerant of moms who are alone with toddlers.

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11. Be more patient while waiting in line.

Try not to show your irritation. Don’t tap your foot, or make loud, rude comments. Try being fully present in that precise juncture of your life, those “in-between” moments which make up most of our days. It’s a good time for reflection and cherishing the little things that we take for granted.

12. Give your spouse/dad/mom some “me” time.

Moms are notorious for always being “on” and not having a break, catering to the family’s welfare and every child’s whim. Give whoever takes care of you a day off to recharge their batteries.

13. Listen without interrupting.

The next time someone’s talking to you and unburdening themselves, try really listening to them, without thinking of what to say next. Look people in the eye when you talk to them. Give them your undivided attention.

14. Withhold judgement.

Nobody is perfect. People make mistakes all the time. Some learn from them, others might need to commit more errors to learn the lesson. You don’t know the full extent of their situation, or the unique circumstances and unusual context they’ve had to deal with. Practice compassion.

15. Offer to take care of a toddler/look after the toddler.

Mothers of little children have a lot on their plates. A little help will go a long way.

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16. Clean as you go, without being asked.

A tidier, more organized space will work wonders on your productivity.

17. Say please and thank you. Express gratitude. 

When was the last time you used these simple words to express appreciation? Use them more often.

18. Have a good night’s rest.

Being cranky has a spiraling effect that will affect everyone around you. So for everyone else’s sake, take good care of yourself.

19. If you have nothing nice to say, hold your tongue. 

These aren’t rocket science suggestions. It takes so little effort to spread joy and good cheer. And these simple gestures just might be the lift you need to make your own day a little brighter as well.

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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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