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20 Truths To Guide You To Happiness

20 Truths To Guide You To Happiness

Old legends and folklore say happiness can be found at the end of the rainbow together with a pot of gold. Unfortunately in today’s society, happiness is wrongfully measured and is directly proportional to material gain, financial wealth, status, sex, power and influence; and it is often seen as something external, something outside of us or something that will come down from the clouds or to become a golden age.

I am in favor of all the above mentioned virtues however; if we place all of them at the core of who we are we still have the main ingredient missing, happiness.

“Happiness does not depend on what you have

Or who you are. It solely relies of what you think” – Buddha

Happiness is a state of mind, an energy or vibration internal; it is very individual to each of us. It is a choice we make on a daily basis.

Here are the 20 Truths To Guide You To Happiness:

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See how beautiful you really are

You are an individual with a divine spark that makes you unique and wonderful. If you are having trouble understanding this, look in the mirror without judgement, without condemnation, without prejudice smile at yourself; tell yourself you are beautiful no matter what you look like. Think of the many times you have been shown kindness, love, compassion, take yourself back when you were a little boy or girl; tell that little boy or girl everything about them is OK and in your mind’s eye hug them, you will be pleasantly surprised. There is no doubt about it; there is no one else like you…..

Live in the present

We live in turbulent times, and the stresses of life cannot be ignored; often there are very few things we can control. Worrying about the future is as useless as regretting the past; we only have control of the now. There is wisdom in: “As you reap, so shall you sow” because every act of love, warmth and kindness will come back to you, often tenfold.

Tap into the power of your mind

We are all directors and script writers of our own lives; what we think about (or fear most) will manifest into our reality. Thoughts, images and emotions are very strong and only if we learn to control them can we use them to bring about what we want. The law of attraction is not just a New Age concept, this has also been covered in many Holy Religious texts such as The Bible.

If you constantly visualize success, abundance, love, peace and kindness you will bring it about.

I never thought I would find a positive use for the term “Thought Police” but this is what we must do in order to have happier and more fulfilling lives.

Allow yourself to feel

One of the things I love most about my wife is her ability to feel. While watching a movie right at the moment when the boy and girl find each other and kiss, tears of joy flow down her beautiful face. We have been conditioned by society to be cold, indifferent and suppress our emotions. Allowing ourselves to feel is what makes us human. There is no right or wrong in feeling the way you do.

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Let your faith be bigger than your fears when chasing dreams

Every great achievement started with an individual having a dream, please do not think for a moment you are a single drop in an infinite sea of humanness; you are powerful, beautiful and divine and all you need is a plan.

Writing down your goals and dreams is not enough, they must be broken down into measurable and easy to achieve steps. If you want to be a writer, start by researching, join a writing group and start small to build your skill set. Poetry is a great way to get your creative juices flowing.

Start acting like a writer, believing it is part of the process. Bring this simple analogy across to anything you want to manifest.

Reward yourself

Every now and then it is nice to treat ourselves to a small reward. Life is not just about working, there has to be time to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Personally, I treat myself when I have done a good deed or when I have achieved an important goal. When rewarding myself It gives me more of an incentive to keep achieving the goals I set for myself and do more acts of kindness. I must admit, I generally forgo my reward and buy my boys a nice toy, video game. trinket, etc. My wife also gets to benefit from this, it makes me happy.

Let go of what and who no longer serve you

Along life’s journey we have accumulated, beliefs, habits and people that at some point become irrelevant. Look back when you were twenty, do some of these beliefs still hold truth to you now?

We make friends along the way, but as life happens we change, do not be afraid to let go of people who do not bring out the best in you or are still in your life due to a sense of obligation; bless them and let them go, that is one way to heal and often the relationship takes on a much positive turn if you decide to stick around.

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Do more of what makes you happy

Doing more of what makes you happy is blissful and fulfilling. Our creativity is increased when we feel happy and purposeful. Hobbies are a great way to tap into that creative energy. Nature is a great place for de-stressing, hiking, surfing, playing sport, video gaming, movies, friends, wine, dancing, arts, etc. are awesome ways to give you a break from the daily grind.

Become your own best friend

Part of becoming our best friend is going easy on ourselves. Some of us have a tendency to be our toughest critics and not forgiving ourselves makes it harder to grow. Be kind to yourself, when a negative thought pops in your mind, ask yourself why you feel this way and then mentally embrace yourself and correct the negative thought. Find positive things you have done recently and focus on them. If you do this on a daily basis you will develop a healthy image of self and it will be impossible not to like the person staring back at you in the mirror.

Always stay close to everything that makes you thrilled to be alive

I am not advocating in favor of extreme sports, thrill seeking or any of that; but if you are into them good for you. My guilty pleasure is modern architecture, I love looking at beautiful homes, gardens and landscaping because it inspires me. I know of  people who are thrilled while helping others, others find delight in producing movies, documentaries or teaching others. What do you love doing that brings that inner child out and makes you thrilled to be alive?

Learn to love your own company

You are going to take yourself everywhere so you might as well start liking yourself. Find time to be completely alone, this can be done sitting under a tree, reading a book, listening to music, blogging, drawing, painting etc. but there must not be any other people around; make it intimate as it is a wonderful feeling being alone. By discovering who you are you begin to see yourself in others.

Don’t lose yourself in your fear

There is a lot of turmoil in the world; war, unemployment, bankruptcy, illness, zombies, end times you name it; guilt and fear are useless emotions because some of the things we fear most are not very likely to happen unless we program them into our subconscious mind. Remember that we bring about what we think of (or fear) most. I learned this from a spiritual teacher: “Some of these evils in the world might not be in your soul contract” meaning your destiny will be different to theirs. Send love and kindness to the victims of these horrible circumstances, do not be cold or indifferent, and help if you can.  Focus on what makes you happy instead and bring it into your life and the lives of the ones you love.

Don’t be afraid to give up what is no longer working

This time we will focus on de-cluttering our homes and lives. Possessions have a tendency to demand our energy and attention. Having too many possessions concentrated in one room is debilitating. Clear out your living space; give away to charity items like clothes, furniture, kids toys, etc. Not only are you freeing space in your home but also in your mind. There is satisfaction knowing some of your old possessions will be going to help others in need.

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Be aware of your position. What are you running away from, or what are you running to?

Have you noticed when you leave a job because of a certain type of boss, co-worker or working environment very often we wind up with the same type of boss, co-worker or working environment in our next job? This can be attributed to what is known as the “victim mentality” and we attract these types  of people/circumstances on a subconscious level. This is also applicable in relationships. So this is when you must have a hard look at yourself and stop the negative thoughts and programming engrained in your psyche by replacing that dated set of beliefs with ones you want to manifest in your life. If you want to work at a great company with a great bunch of people, feel it, taste it and allow it to be a reality.

Don’t allow your wounds to turn you into someone you are not

Bad things happen to good people, that is inevitable and this happens when we least expect it. Do not become bitter and resentful when tragedy strikes. When someone wronged us we must understand that by hating the person we are holding on to hate, resentment and fear which can potentially manifest in illness or even more tragedy. Mourn and allow yourself to feel angry, get it out of your system and move on, do not attract more of this by becoming sour, find ways to rise above it and be happy as we only live once.

Remember to forgive yourself

When we become the perpetrators and we wrong someone else, we can experience a deep sense of guilt even when we make ourselves believe they deserved it. If the person is no longer in your life, write a letter asking the person for your forgiveness. If you send it that is fine, but if you don’t it is also OK. There is an ethereal connection between people, and the other person somehow will begin to heal. Have you ever thought of a friend or loved one and suddenly got a phone call from them? Thought is a bridge between our minds.

Know you may not always get what you want, but you will ALWAYS get what you need

There are some things in life that no matter how much we visualize, feel and yearn for and will never be a part of our reality. We always want something, but it might not be what we need for our personal growth. Trust in the Universe’s wisdom, it knows what you need in order to flourish. There is a cause and effect for every choice we make in life. Also beware of what you wish for as it might come true.

Open up to love

To me this has been one of the hardest truths to accept, this is not just about external love but the love for myself. By opening up to love we choose it as being part of our daily lives, it can manifest in a short conversation with a stranger, being kind to our neighbors, doing something nice for your family. This also means allowing others to show love to you and feeling worthy of love. Love is not a word, it is a verb.

The world needs you as you are

I look at the beautiful people on TV and even though I admire their beauty, grace and talent, I don’t think I want to be them. They cannot do some of the things I can and they do not have my wicked sense of humor. I always had an inner knowing I am here for a reason, and as far as I know it is to love and provide for my family, influence others in a positive way with my design, writing and poetry, the world needs beauty, love and compassion; this is where I come in, how about you?

Empty your mind (meditate)

Meditation is not just sitting in a Lotus position and chanting mantras, meditation can be sitting comfortably on a chair to stare out the window, under a tree watching clouds, being in the dark looking into a flame. It is important to let your mind be passive and free from all the worries you carry with you. Your mind is like a computer; if you keep storing data at some point it is going to fill its hard drive and then will crash; your mind is no different.

By emptying your mind you can also let go of dated ideas, concepts and beliefs giving room for newer and more relevant ones. Meditation is a great way to get the creative juices flowing and we tap into a much greater source of wisdom, try it and you will not regret it.

More by this author

Louis Salguero

UX, HCD, UCD, GUI, graphic and web designer

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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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