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19 Steps To True Happiness That Everyone Is Looking For

19 Steps To True Happiness That Everyone Is Looking For

Happiness is a term that has forever been a vague concept to grasp with countless studies and experiments done in order to decipher what it actually is and how it can be achieved.

In my person experience, happiness simply can’t be defined by using stats or figures and is first and foremost a feeling, which can only be manifested and acquired by you.

It’s an internal feeling that comes from a decision to be happy as well as a series of actions in order to help provoke it from within you.

Here are 20 ways that, when applied, have personally lead to increases in my happiness every time. Perhaps there are a few you can relate to.

1) Stop comparing yourself to others and false ideals.

When you look at the things around you, there are advertisements everywhere telling you what you need in your life in order to be happy. They encourage you to aspire to ideals that don’t actually exist and make you feel insecure about yourself.

The truth is, the things you see in advertisements and movies aren’t real. Most of it is manipulated and edited so that it looks perfect. We’re far from perfect, but we are unique and worthy enough to be special in the world. The truth is, you don’t need anything or to be anything in order to be valued on this planet.

2) Do what you love.

The best way to find out what it is you truly love in this world is to look deep inside yourself and to scope out whether what it is you want is due to what society tells you to like, or because of what you feel you want deep inside yourself.

If you felt ashamed of pursuing the things you truly enjoy due to social and societal pressure, then chances are, you’re being influenced, which is directly affecting your happiness. Pursue things you love without shame and don’t be afraid of standing out.

3) Turn off the television.

Simply put. Television is a distraction to the realities of the life around you and can easily influence you to believe in things that simply aren’t true. The best way to see the world in its entirety and completely uncensored is to turn off your television and to leave your house.

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What do your very eyes see of the world when you aren’t being fed with third party information?
There is no better experience in this world than to see it with your own eyes.

4) Don’t take yourself too seriously.

While life can be complicated at times and give you a hard time, there really is no denying the fact that all of us will depart the world in due course. This reminder should always be present when living out your daily life. It can help you realize that there really is no sense in taking life too seriously.

Learn to take in the world in its entirety and to enjoy it for what it is‒good and bad.

5) Be selfless and avoid being selfish.

Whatever it is you choose to do in this world, always try do it for reasons other than your own personal gain. The art of giving is perhaps one of the key things that has been proven to enrich your satisfaction and happiness, but is rarely ever practiced in society with regularity.

6) Be grateful for what you have.

In reference to #1, if you judge the quality of your life based on the things you own and how you look, you will never be happy, since you’ll always be looking for external references to prove to you that you are.

Whatever it is you may be unsatisfied with, somewhere in the world is a person who dreams of having the things you currently have. Always be grateful because it’s the precursor to moving forward with your personal and spiritual growth.

7) Share your values and kindness with others.

Similar to #6, there is nothing more satisfying than to spread your qualities with those around you and to influence people in a positive way.

Maybe it’s a blog you currently run, which you’re using to share your wisdom with others. Or perhaps it’s a skill you have that you’re happy to give and share in abundance.

Find out what your strengths and qualities are and don’t shy away from exposing it to the world.

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8) Learn to be patient‒things will happen at the right time.

The things we want and hope to achieve in this world are hardly ever acquired at the times we want them to. As hard as you work, it’s simply a law of average that the things you’re looking to achieve will simply happen in due course, but with no date as to when it will happen.

As long as you continue to push forward and keep taking the right steps that get you one step further towards your goals, it is then simply a matter of time and patience; it will happen for you eventually.

9) Become accepting of others as we’re all the same, yet unique.

Everyone may be the same as far as human nature is concerned, but we are all, in fact, different from each other, with unique nuances and characteristics. Learn to appreciate it and to see as a way of learning more about their character and personality.

10) Become forgiving of yourself and of other’s imperfections.

Following up from #10, don’t try to attempt to change people into your ideal. Life simply doesn’t work that way. There will be some people who you will naturally get along with, and others you will not. This is completely normal and a basic fact of life.

But above all, always be appreciative of people whether they’re in line with your values or not. This includes your very own characteristics. There’s nothing worse than to pretend to be someone you’re not in order to please others.

11) Keep a personal diary.

Our thoughts and worries can sometimes overwhelm us and in time, build up to a level that can cause us to feel depressed and frustrated. The best way to overcome this is to write down your thoughts on a notepad or a diary in order to help you unload whatever’s on your mind.

It’s never a good idea to keep things stuck in your mind, as it usually becomes a lot worse than it actually is, in reality.

12) Stop being a consumer.

We are often taught by the media that buying the next ‘shiny object’ would lead us to feeling better about ourselves in some way. Biologically speaking, this is somewhat true, as our body releases a short term chemical called ‘Dopamine’ that makes us feel a surge of satisfaction and excitement. But the sad truth is, it’s short lived, and is often confused for happiness.

Become conscious of the things you buy and start to question whether what you’re buying is something you actually need or whether it’s to fill a void in your life that you feel you currently have.

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If it’s the latter, then start to question why that is and begin to look for healthier solutions.

13) Become fascinated with the world you live in.

The world we live in is a very vast and abundant planet with a lot of things to do and experience It is simply impossible to see all of it in a single lifetime.
If there’s nothing more to get you excited, always remember that there is always something you have yet to experience, which could potentially lead you on a path you never thought possible.

14) Travel the world.

Its not until you leave your home country that you really begin to see just how different and varied our planet is. There are so many people to see, foods to taste and places to visit. It has literally changed my worldview and has helped me develop into a more open-minded and well-rounded person.

15) Learn about and make friends with people from other cultures and backgrounds.

Similarly, you will never quite develop a better understanding and deeper appreciation for people than if you consciously go out of your way and befriend people from other cultures and backgrounds.

You begin to see that while we may have different lifestyles and ways of doing things, in the end, we are all the same living under the same roof, which is the ever-expanding universe.

It will help you come to terms with the fact that, yes, there are people who are different from you and that like you, they too have worries, hopes and dreams.

16) Do your research when given information from other sources.

While wisdom, information and facts are important, you should always keep an open mind and seek to inquire with your own personal experiences.

Is the information you’ve been given really true based on your own personal experiences? Or is it simply a belief based on another person’s interpretation?

An inquiring mind is an open mind that isn’t easily manipulated.

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17) Smile more often.

It’s been proven by science that smiling more often and smiling just for the sake of smiling helps you be happy as well as help others feel better around you. Your physiology can in fact be changed simply by your psychology and vice-versa.

If you’re honestly feeling down or depressed. Consciously smile, stand tall and walk with your chest out. Then watch how you feel about yourself change with your very eyes.

18) Eat healthy foods and sleep well.

Our body is like a car engine and constantly needs refreshing and looking after. If it isn’t well-fed or maintained, it can lead to illnesses and a poor immune system, which over time will cause other problems as we age.

If you’re young, develop the habit of taking care of what you eat and drink and rest regularly. You may have all the energy in the world in your youth, but it will not be as abundant at a later stage in life.

But the enjoyment of your health can be maintained for years to come and will be solely dependent on how you treat your body in the present.

19) Meditate.

With so many things to do and experience, there will be times where you need to switch off from the world and reach a place of relaxation. Spend at least 5-10 minutes in complete solitude, thinking of nothing but your very own breathing and making it a daily habit.

You will find that over time, your mind will be a lot more stable and will begin to feel at peace with yourself as well as not be easily affected by the things around you.

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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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