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25 Things To Let Go Of Before Your Next Birthday

25 Things To Let Go Of Before Your Next Birthday

Imagine what we’d all look like if we wore our worries on the outside. If there were some physical manifestation of our emotional baggage and hang-ups, we’d all be unrecognizable. If you find yourself thinking sometimes that you’re not who you should be, it’s time to explore ways to kick that feeling to the curb and look at how to change things in a healthy way. Here are 25 things to let go of that we could all stand to ditch by our next birthdays.

1. Let go of anything that doesn’t make you a better or happier person

We were built to pursue greatness and to perform to the best of our abilities. Anything that doesn’t serve our search for self-improvement needs to be swept aside – though not at the expense of our happiness.

2. Let go of other peoples’ burdens

We’re all our brother’s keepers in one way or another, but letting the burdens of others consume and rule over your own life isn’t healthy. Help others within reason, but also know when to let them help themselves.

3. Let go of what other people think about you

Most of us tend to think that other people judge us much more harshly than they actually do.

4. Let go of your pursuit of an unrealistic body image

body image

    It’s almost a cliché by now to point out how badly our body images have been warped by the media. We constantly see barely clothed models in advertisements, telling us on an unconscious level that we’ll never measure up. The only person your body needs to please is yourself.

    5. Let go of avoiding your problems

    You might think that your attempt to sweep your problems under the rug could be healthy, but nothing could be further from the truth. Nothing will improve if we don’t actively pursue practical solutions to our problems.

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    6. Let go of regret

    Regret is like a poison; left untreated, it can kill you. There are things in each of our lives that could have gone differently, but losing sleep over them isn’t healthy.

    7. Let go of lazy attitudes and unproductive days

    cat couch

      There’s something to be said for slowing down and enjoying a lazy day here and there, but when these days become the rule rather than the exception, you’ll fall into a pattern that’s tough to escape.

      8. Let go of your insecurities

      All you need to remember is this: we’re our own harshest critics.

      9. Let go of crying about life’s inherent unfairness

      Some of us learn as children that there will always be somebody better off than we are. If you’ve lost sight of that fact, it’s time to relearn it.

      10. Let go of setting your sights too high

      It’s good to have dreams and ambitions, but it’s important to keep them grounded as well. Expecting too much of ourselves is never healthy.

      11. Let go of the belief that everything arrives in its own time

      Maybe you believe in fate, destiny, or providence. That’s well and good, but it’s no substitute for taking charge of your life and making a positive change. If there’s something you want, it’s up to you to seek it out. Don’t wait for it to come to you.

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      12. Let go of your penchant for procrastination

      We all have responsibilities. Trying to shirk them or put them off until another day will do nothing for you except to pile the stress ever higher.

      13. Let go of dwelling on your mistakes

      Maybe you took a wrong turn somewhere. Maybe you chose not to pursue that career in the military, turning your back on the military scholarships that could have saved you tons of money. Instead of dwelling on your mistakes, resolve instead to make things right.

      14. Let go of stress

      man stressed out

        We all give in to stress from time to time, and the truth is that it can be a great motivator. The problem is this: there’s nothing worse than hanging on to the same sources of stress for months or years at a time.

        15. Let go of trying to change the people around you

        Maybe people can change, and maybe they can’t. If they can, they’re the only ones who can make that change happen. You can be a source of inspiration for the people you care about, but don’t try to become a direct instrument of change; they’ll only learn to resent you.

        16. Let go of your worries about money

        Most of us have worried about money at one time or another. Keeping our eyes open for new opportunities or better careers is one thing, but if you’ve got a roof over your head and food to eat, don’t let money rule over you.

        17. Let go of trying to become a different type of person

        To be clear: we all have room in our lives for improvement. We can become better people, but seeking to conform to somebody’s prescribed notion of who you ought to be isn’t a healthy pursuit.

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        18. Let go of obsessing over your schedule

        Planner

          Planning is great, but flexibility is even better. Don’t worry so much about adhering to a strict schedule. As long as you’re being productive, your to-do list will take care of itself.

          19. Let go of your obsession with “stuff”

          If you’ve ever stood outside in a line to get your hands on a new electronic gadget before everybody else, you probably need to reexamine your priorities. Don’t let the pursuit of “stuff” control your life.

          20. Let go of your fear of speaking your mind

          Life is too short for us to keep our feelings walled off from the world. Tell that person you have feelings for them, or talk to your significant other about what’s bothering you. You’ll feel so much better after you do.

          21. Let go of your anger

          The evolutionary purpose of anger, and its place in psychology, will probably always be under examination. In terms of our everyday lives, however, anger is a pointless distraction that’s not worth hanging on to for any length of time.

          22. Let go of excuses

          If you have trouble taking responsibility for your actions, it’s time to own up.

          23. Let go of your jealousy toward the people in your life

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          not jealous (2)

             

            Is there anything more pointless than jealousy? Don’t hate your ex for finding love elsewhere, and don’t begrudge your neighbors their new yacht. Instead, make the most of what you do have.

            24. Let go of your worries about the future

            The future will get here. All we can do is make sure we’re prepared for when it does. Worrying about what’s to come will only serve to distract you from the present.

            25. Let go of the belief that it’s too late to start over

            never too late

               

              Whether you’re leaving an unhealthy relationship or setting out to explore new opportunities, never let the passage of time interfere with the pursuit of your dreams.

              More by this author

              Courtney Gordner

              Courtney is a passionate writer who shares about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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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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