Advertising
Advertising

5 Reasons Why You Should Let Go Of Things That Won’t Make You Happy

5 Reasons Why You Should Let Go Of Things That Won’t Make You Happy

With every cliché that has been said about happiness, as well as the handful of films and literary pieces that it inspired into creation, it is clearly one of the things people yearn for and go great lengths to achieve. Some take one day at a time, while others take on full-blown transformations synonymous to their definition of happiness.

However, there are many who view happiness as some form of finish line that not everyone is lucky enough to reach. What they don’t realize is that happiness isn’t always about the destination. More often than not, it is in the trip itself where you find what you’re looking for and that anyone can make it there.

But here’s the thing. Sometimes, before we get to the first step of our quest for bliss, we are confronted with major building blocks that we can mistake for happiness. For instance, having a job may make you feel content, but if it’s a job that you don’t exactly like doing, is it really worth calling a source of happiness? The harder part is that it’s difficult to call futile things as they are, much less let go of them completely especially if they have become an integral part of your comfort zone. But hey, don’t they also say that life begins right outside it?

Advertising

So to get you started on your road trip to happiness, here are five reasons you should let go of the things that don’t make you happy now, because guess what? They probably won’t make you happy in the future either.

 1. A healthier you.

If you think that your unhappiness doesn’t have an impact on your well-being, think again. In a study conducted by Harvard University’s School of Public Health, it is stated that constant exposure to stress, especially as early as childhood, can inflict harmful effects on a person’s brain and other systems of the body. This can cause a person’s stress hormones to jump faster than normal. Even worse, he or she might develop heart-related ailments. Stress caused by negative emotions can affect bodily functions and aggravate diseases that a person already has, even a common cold.

On the other hand, stress is almost always inevitable, but it pays to channel it to constructive ways. You can start by simply being enthusiastic and positive about a stressful situation. You should also seek support from family and friends so that you don’t carry the whole weight of your burden. However, if you’d rather spend time alone, you can channel your stress through relaxing activities like meditation, yoga, or even painting.

Advertising

2. Better relationships.

More often than not, it is those who are close to us that can sense if we are upset or if we are in a good mood. However, there are some who would rather deal with their issues alone that they tend to push people away. While isolating yourself for a while can be helpful, deliberately refusing comfort or help from, say, your partner or a close sibling can cause strain on your relationships.

Instead of figuring out the solution by yourself, consider reaching out to a loved one or a trusted family member. You don’t necessarily have to ask for advice; if it’s only a sympathetic ear you need, the people who truly know you and care about you will respect your choice. However, if you find your relationship going through the adverse effects of negative emotions, you can always seek professional help such as marriage counselling.

3. A thriving career.

One of the most common but downplayed symptoms of unhappiness at work is mentally holding on to the weekend for dear life and wishing you could delay Monday’s arrival.  Such a scenario might be easy for some to shrug off and just get along with work, but if you have a serious case of procrastination, it’s time you do something about it.

Advertising

Being stressed at work is all right as long as you still get the satisfaction of doing your job the way you did when you started. Whether it’s the corporate ladder you chose to climb, or started your own enterprise, or pursued your calling in the arts, it’s important that you are genuinely happy about your work. Otherwise, you risk doing half-baked tasks and recording a poor performance–all of which can severely affect your career.

Find ways to rearrange your work routine that will help you accomplish more tasks faster and smarter. If all else fails, you might want to consider quitting, because there is no point in staying in a job that you don’t look forward to doing.

4. A strong bond with your kids.

If your partner is on the front line of your domestic stress absorption committee, your kids come in as close second. For instance, you had a long day at work and you’re welcomed by your son badgering you to play with him. While it’s possible that you’ll give in the first few times, it’s also possible that you won’t when you become more and more tired in the office. On the other hand, if you have any inkling that your unhappiness affects your relationship with your children, take some time to look into the situation and see what you can do to avert a potential crisis.

Advertising

Exposing kids to stress can influence them to develop anxieties at an early age and have a conflicted relationship with you. What’s worse is if they develop an unhealthy point of view with having kids of their own in the future. So before you put your kids at risk of such behavior, take it upon yourself to foster between you and them the kind of bond that overlooks stress—a loving one.

5. Life is short.

Not everyone gets a chance, let alone a second one, at things, such as literally and figuratively having a life. If you take into account the reasons listed above and your future, you have more than enough reasons to let go of the things that make you unhappy and pursue what your heart is telling you to. Besides, sticking up for something that doesn’t make you happy only prolongs your agony.

But here’s a fact–you never know how much time you’ve got on your hands. The question is, are you really going to let whatever you have slip by just because you’re too busy griping over things that don’t even make living worthwhile?

Letting go of things that you’ve become used to can be really tough. However,  if you want to be truly happy, you need to let go of the good things to make room for the better ones. Just think—if you don’t see yourself doing something in the next five years, why do it at all? But if you’re searching for happiness and you have your loved ones in tow, don’t settle for things you know are holding you back.

Featured photo credit: surfer via megahdwall.com

More by this author

20 High-Paying Jobs That Don’t Require A College Degree The Challenges of being an Online Entrepreneur 10 Full-proof Ways to Improve Your Productivity and Balance Website Security And Why It’s Needed For Small Businesses 10 Must-Do Things to Prepare for an Awesome Road Trip

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