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30 Things You Need to Experience to Understand How Amazing Life is

30 Things You Need to Experience to Understand How Amazing Life is

Yeah, we all get it, life sucks! But do you really need to wallow in all things negative? If you really want people to picture you as this crazy hermit afraid of even breathing, then this article is not for you.

Let’s face it: Life is amazing, life is messy, and you wouldn’t want it any other way. How else would magical things happen, or—dare anyone say—even miracles?

That being said, all of us only have so much time on earth, so how do we do it all?

You don’t. So pick only the essentials. Here are 30 things you need to experience to understand how amazing life is.

1. Travel

Yeah, yeah, this is something everyone recommends. Getting to eat that dish you’ll remember for life. Meeting hot babes. Laughing along with locals who remind you friendly people still exist. This are just a few of many reasons why people recommend it.

2. Waking Up next to a Loved One

Who wouldn’t want to experience something awesome right from the minute they wake up?

3. Fail Epically

Sounds cheesy, but it is through our failures that miracles occur. Opportunities will come knocking on your door, I promise.

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4. Succeed at Something

It doesn’t have to be something grand like making a million dollars, but celebrate any type of success you have.

5. Work at Your Dream Job

What would you pursue if you could have 100% chance of success? Working at your dream job will ignite your passion and you’ll wonder why you’re getting paid to do something you’d easily do for free.

6. Do an Extreme Sport

Come on, I dare you.

7. Be a Mentor

You’ll feel a rush of excitement and be so proud when the person you mentor achieves success because of what you did.

8. Get a Mentor

You need a mentor, too, to show you that life can be more than you dreamed of.

9. Exercise the Heck out of Your Body

Remember how awesome you feel after each workout?

10. Try Your Hand at Becoming a Minimalist

Like they say, less is more. You’ll soon notice at how much happier you are when you have fewer things to worry about.

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11. Outsource Menial Tasks

You’d be surprised at how much leisure time you have, or even how you can get more done, when you outsource tasks that suck up more time than you initially realized.

12. Take a Week Off to Unplug

It’s amazing how getting away from an electronic device (especially our phones!) can really recharge our batteries. (Ha, ha, get it?)

13. Go for a Spa Day

Come on, even men could benefit from a relaxing massage. You’ll emerge a new man (or woman).

14. Ask for Help

You’ll cry knowing how much you’re loved when people step up and help you when you’re in need.

15. Be an Extra in a Movie

Who wouldn’t want to meet celebrities in person?

16. Take an Online Course

Many of them are free, and you’ll remember at once the joy you felt when you learned something new. Especially something you’ve always been curious about.

17. Blog

Express yourself! You also get to be in awe of the power of the internet, and how many people connect over this nifty little thing.

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18. Learn a New Language

It just opens so many doors, such as meeting and being friends with people you normally wouldn’t be able to communicate with.

19. Laugh. A Lot.

Nothing is better in life than laughing until you cry or can’t breathe anymore.

20. Fall in Love

You know that high everyone talks about? Yeah.

21. Have at Least One Sexy Outfit.

That doesn’t mean it has to be revealing. Just something that makes you feel good inside and out.

22. Read More

Is there anything better than getting lost in a book?

23. Spend More Time with Family

Do I really need to elaborate on this?

24. Spend More Time with Friends

Why wouldn’t you?

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25. Meditate

Getting into a calm state of mind really helps you change your perspective on how good life actually is.

26. Cry. A Lot.

Sometimes, all we need is to simply cry in order to feel better. It makes us realize that life goes on, no matter what.

27. Writing in a Gratitude Journal for at Least a Month

Having a grumpy day? Think about the good things in life and you’ll be sure to realize how amazing life is

28. Hang Out with People Who Laugh until They Make You Cry

Laughter is such great medicine. Really.

29. Smile

It’s scientifically proven that smiling (even when you don’t feel happy) boosts your mood. So why not do more of it?

30. Mix up Your Routine

Sometimes we forget how awesome life is simply because we’re bored with what we’re doing.

Featured photo credit: katiew via flickr.com

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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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