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30 Things You Should Never Give Up If You Want To Be Happy

30 Things You Should Never Give Up If You Want To Be Happy

On our quest for happiness, there are many things we must give up. But there are many things that you should never give up if you want to be happy. Here are just a few, in no particular order.

1. Don’t give up taking walks in the woods.

Breathe deeply. Listen to wind. Let the trees embrace you. There is something deep inside us that longs for Mother Nature. Go for a visit.

2. Don’t give up doing things that scare you.

A seed only grows by breaking out of the shell and venturing into the unknown. The unknown scares us, but it is where we must go to grow.

3. Don’t give up being kind.

We only achieve true fulfillment when we grow and contribute to a cause greater than ourselves. There is no greater cause than sharing kindness with others.

4. Don’t give up sleeping under the stars.

Every once in a while, get out to a place where the stars shine and fall asleep under their glory. You’ll remember a wonder that humans have known for thousands of years.

5. Don’t give up speaking the truth.

Your truth is a powerful force. It will serve you when you honor it. Each time you let it speak, it grows stronger. Let it guide you.

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6. Don’t give up forgiving.

Forgiving is the key to healing. Insisting on remaining hurt is choosing vengeance for the past instead of healing in the future. You cannot have both. Forgive so that you can return to peace.

7. Don’t give up asking for help.

We can get confused and think asking for help is weakness. Asking for help can be a major strength. Include other people in your plans and dreams. You are creating opportunities for others to connect and share their kindness with you.

8. Don’t give up talking to strangers.

All of my best friends were once strangers. Great conversations and possibilities await.

9. Don’t give up lip syncing to your favorite songs.

You’re a rock star.  Happiness is a fist pump away. While you’re at it, maybe you could sing a little, too.

10. Don’t give up touching your toes.

According to my 75 year-old yoga teacher, “You are as young as your spine is flexible.”  Stretching releases massive energy stores and fuels happy rushes of life. Take it slow and easy.

11. Don’t give up hoping.

Hoping for what? It really doesn’t matter. If you want to be happy, never give up hope that things can change. You can always learn from your mistakes and improve.

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12. Don’t give up investing in yourself.

If you’re not investing in yourself, what are you investing in? You are still investing your time, energy, and money into something. Make sure you intentionally choose your investments, or your time, energy, and money will be gone, and you may not be happy with the results.

13. Don’t give up smiling.

If you want to be happy, smile. Smile at yourself in the mirror (it certainly beats scowling and putting yourself down). Smile at people in the grocery store.  Smile at the guy who just cut you off. See what happens.

14. Don’t give up connecting with the people you care about.

When you care about someone, care for the relationship like a precious plant. Keep the weeds out and water it consistently. It will grow with your effort and love.

15. Don’t give up meditating or praying.

Whether you are religious, spiritual or atheist, it doesn’t matter. Developing a practice of awareness and connection to that which is greater than you, however you define it, puts things in perspective. Those who want to be happy go within and listen.

16. Don’t give up moving your body.

Move your body with finesse. Let it sweat. Let it run out of breath and find it again. Let it climb trees and skip and play. It was designed to move. It is happy this way.

17. Don’t give up dreaming improbable dreams.

Improbable is not the same as impossible. Improbable requires innovation, imagination, motivation, facing fears, and busting your butt‒all good things.

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18. Don’t give up loving yourself.

Whitney Houston got one thing right. Learning to love and accept yourself is a lifelong pursuit. When you learn to push past shame, judgement, and fear, happiness follows as you see all the wonder that is you.

19. Don’t give up expressing gratitude.

We have a tendency to focus on the things we feel are lacking in our lives, so that is what we see.  If you want to be happy, break this tendency by actively seeking out the blessings in your life.  Then take it a step further: express your gratitude aloud. The more often you express it, the more often you feel it and the happier you will be.

20. Don’t give up making new friends.

It becomes harder to make new friends when you become an adult. That doesn’t mean you should give up. Keep putting yourself out there and stay open to the new people who come along.

21. Don’t give up trying new things.

“Oh, I could never do that!” This is the siren of surrender. Happiness is found on the edge of cliff as frequently as it is found in a hammock. Try to find happiness in things you’ve never done, and it will be there.

22. Don’t give up getting in shape.

How happy do you feel when you give up on your body? Getting back in shape requires one thing: consistency. Happiness comes when you consistently insist that your body is still worth it.

23. Don’t give up looking foolish.

The fear of looking foolish is probably the greatest cause of unhappiness. Most people have no idea how happy they could be because they won’t risk looking foolish. Making peace with looking foolish is a key choice to achieve more and find happiness.

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24. Don’t give up feeling excited by rainbows.

If there comes a point in your life when seeing a rainbow doesn’t give you even a little jolt of giddy wonder, expect three ghosts.

25. Don’t give up having something to look forward to.

Set goals and make plans a few months in advance that will give you something to work for and anticipate with joy.

26. Don’t give up napping.

A little afternoon nap can change your entire outlook. Recharging your batteries with a 20 minute nap can boost your productivity for the rest of the day.

27. Don’t give up holding hands.

The need for love & connection is hard-wired into our brains. The act of holding hands is so simple yet so profound. Never give it up if you want to be happy.

28. Don’t give up arts & crafts.

There’s a reason why many of us avoid the arts. Brene Brown found that of the adults in her research who reported experiencing a significant shaming event in their lives, 50% of those events involved creative expression. Don’t give up your creative voice. It still waits for you‒with a box of crayons and some pipe cleaners.

29. Don’t give up dancing.

At a dance in high school, a friend laughed and yelled over the music, “You dance like a duck!” There is something vulnerable about dancing. And yet, happiness is still found on the dance floor.

30. Don’t give up skinny dipping.

I have never gone skinning dipping with a frown on my face. Ever. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible.

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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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