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21 Regrets You Don’t Want to Have in Life

21 Regrets You Don’t Want to Have in Life

No one wants to admit that they are going to die someday. In fact, we all sort of live our lives fooling ourselves that our days are numbered. Even though it sounds morbid, having that at the forefront of your mind will help you live a life of no regrets. Here are 21 regrets you do NOT want to have in your life:

1. Not taking action on your dreams.

Most of us had dreams when we were kids. But as we got older, reality hits and tends to drown out the vision of what we really wanted in the first place. Think about this: there are many, many people in the world who are making their dreams come true. So why not you? You should be one of them.

2. Letting excuses or people derail you from your dreams.

Don’t let yourself come up with “excuses.” Excuses are not reasons. There is a difference. Reasons are valid, excuses are not. And don’t listen to anyone else’s negativity either. Make up your own mind and go for it!

3. Waiting for the “perfect” time.

“The perfect time” is nothing but a myth! That’s not to say that there are times when you should not act immediately – like waiting to travel the world if you are drowning in debt. But generally speaking, now is all we have. So take a step toward your goal now. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for any of us.

4. Not appreciating your health.

Here’s something I bet you can relate to: you never think about your health until you get a bad case of the flu. Am I right? It’s usually at those points where we think, “Why didn’t I appreciate feeling good?” Well, remind yourself to appreciate it every day, not just when you feel under the weather.

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5. Not helping others enough.

It’s easy to be selfish. Heck, our world practically encourages it! (unfortunately). But think how your actions affect other people. Take a look at the people around you and go out of your way to help them. I’m sure you would appreciate it if they did that for you, so live by the Golden Rule and go out of your way to help others.

6. Shying away from taking risks.

This is a tough one for a lot of people, myself included. But there is a difference between taking a calculated risk and an uncalculated risk. Take calculated risks. Think about the benefits and costs and then make an informed decision. Remember great risk can lead to great reward.

7. Not making your loved ones smile and laugh enough.

This one is self-explanatory. Our loved ones are the most important thing in the world… or at least they should be. So have fun with them. Smile and laugh… a lot!

8. Giving up before you reach success.

In our culture we all expect to become an overnight sensation like Justin Beiber. But guess what? In the real world it doesn’t work like that. Be patient in waiting for success. It will come.

9. Not spending enough time with positive people.

Dump the “Energy Vampires” in your life! You know who I’m talking about. The people who drain you, suck you dry, and give nothing back. Instead, surround yourself with positive people.

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10. Hurrying through life so that you don’t appreciate the little things.

Busy, busy, busy. This is the theme of the world today. Not that staying busy isn’t fun. But don’t stay so busy that you lose focus on the important things in life. As the saying goes, “stop to smell the roses.”

11. Not seeing the world and all its glory when you’re young and healthy.

If you have the money to travel (and you like doing it), get out there and see the world now! There are so many other fascinating cultures to explore, so just go do it!

12. Worrying too much and appreciating too little.

“Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want to happen,” (Robert Downey Jr.) It puts negative energy out to the universe. Instead, focus on what you do have, not what you don’t have.

13. Not planning for your future.

Some people wander aimlessly in life and go where the wind blows them. Hey, this might be fun for some people, but it doesn’t get you toward a goal of your choosing. So figure out what you want and then set your ship on a course toward achieving it.

14. Not learning from your mistakes.

No one wants to admit that they make mistakes. But honestly, I don’t believe in mistakes. To me, they’re all learning opportunities. So make sure that you actually learn from them. If you don’t, you will end up repeating them over and over and not improving your life.

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15. Working too much.

Going along with #14, if you are spending too much time at the office and not enough time with your loved ones, you may regret it someday. Even if you love your work and become engrossed in it, don’t forget to come up for air and spend quality time with people.

16. Not taking responsibility for your own life.

Your life today is a result of all the choices you made in the past. So don’t blame others, and put yourself in the driver’s seat for your future. Own your life and your choices.

17. Listening to other people’s opinions before your own.

It’s easy to listen to other peoples’ loud opinions. Sometimes that’s easier than listening to our own inner voice and intuition. But if you ignore your gut feeling, I almost guarantee you’ll eventually end up regretting it.

18. Not enjoying your children’s childhood.

Any parent will tell you that it’s not easy to raise kids. Children can be annoying and difficult. But time flies, and before you know it they will be adults and out of the house. So don’t miss them while they’re there.

19. Not learning who you can trust.

This is a difficult one for a lot of people – myself included. I was way too trusting in my younger years and learned the hard way who I could trust and who I couldn’t. The sooner you learn that lesson, the happier the rest of your life will be.

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20. Not saying what you should have said.

Did you not tell someone that you loved him/her? Did you not tell someone how much you appreciated them? Well, what are you waiting for? There’s no time like the present. Do it now.

21. Not doing what you should have done.

Ditto from #20. Don’t wait. Just do it. Get off your tushie and just do it. You won’t regret it!

I hope these 21 reminders put life into perspective a little more for you. You don’t want to be on your death-bed someday having any regrets. So make this your motto: No Excuses, No Regrets!

More by this author

Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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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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