Advertising
Advertising

5 Reasons Why It’s Okay to Say No

5 Reasons Why It’s Okay to Say No

In today’s fast-paced and caffeine-driven world, it seems like the need to say no is absent in most people. You can’t say no because people will look at you with judging eyes. You can’t say no because you will most likely upset your colleagues. And you can’t say no because you feel guilty and scared that no one will like you anymore.

I understand your situation completely. Confession time? I used to say yes all the time too because the thought of saying no cripples me.

Now, though, I regret the times when I failed to say no just because of peer pressure. Let’s learn to face the music here: saying yes to everyone is stressful. It’s selfish. And it’s definitely not good for your mental, physical and spiritual health!

My friend, it’s time you start saying no. No to people you don’t like, no to parties you don’t even fancy and certainly no to activities that don’t make you a better person.

Advertising

Go ahead and say no, because:

1. You don’t owe anybody anything.

Contrary to popular opinion, you are not really obligated to do something to someone.

Sure, your boss pays you to be productive at work and to produce effective and efficient returns, but you’re not obligated to be at his call every single second of every work day.

Yes, you’re married to your life partner and you love him very much, but you’re not obligated to be the subject of his whim every time.

And of course, your parents raised you and still love you, but you are not supposed to bend your convictions just to suit their own stereotypical beliefs.

Advertising

Life isn’t a day in the office where you have all these obligations to distract you and make you feel busy. It’s an enriching and satisfying adventure that you have to tackle in order to be productive and fulfilled.

2. You can never control everybody’s opinion of you.

Whatever you do, whatever you say, people will judge you either fairly or harshly. Don’t sweat this small thing. Don’t let it ruin your day.

If you’re basing your decision whether to say yes or to say no on the fact that you care about what other people will say, stop. It’s not worth all the trouble.

3. You’re the only one who can really identify your priorities in life.

Your happiness will be made up of the choices that you make in life. If you’re not sure about something, say no to it. If you’re hesitant because you know deep inside your heart that you’re not too thrilled about the idea, say no.

Advertising

If it’s not really what you want, say no. No one can tell you which specific activities you should be doing to feel happy and fulfilled in life. You are the only one who can do this for yourself.

4. You’re your number one citizen.

A lot of people ignore this fact but it still is true: you are the person who is going to be mostly affected by the decisions you make in your life.

If you decide to do something and fail to follow through, you’re the one who’s going to be most stressed. If you say yes to a drunken party at 11 in the evening, you’re the one who’s going to have a massive hangover and a horde of angry clients the next day. If you say yes to a lifetime commitment that you’re not really happy about, you’re the one who’s going to suffer terribly in the long run.

5. Life moves on.

Life flows, it moves and it progresses whether you say no or not. You can spend the rest of your life hurrying, fast-tracking and running around because you say yes all the time…

Advertising

Or you can spend your life relaxing, moving at a gentle pace and savoring every minute because you say no to the things that don’t really matter.

It’s your call. Live the life you want! Make your own destiny. It can all start if you realize that it’s okay to say no.

More by this author

Lianne Martha Maiquez Laroya

Lianne is a licensed financial advisor, Registered Financial Planner, entrepreneur and book author.

10 Key Elements of Effective Meetings to Avoid Wasting Time The Ultimate Morning Routine for Success of Highly Successful People 9 Surprising Benefits Of Kimchi That Will Make You Want To Try It Now 11 Signs That Tell You It’s Time to Let Go This Old Woman Has Lived On A Cruise Ship For 7 Years

Trending in Communication

1 5 Real Relationship Goals You Should Actually Strive Toward 2 When You Learn A Second Language, These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen To You 3 15 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Truly Happy 4 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 5 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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

Read Next