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7 Things I Do That Have Been Wasting My Time

7 Things I Do That Have Been Wasting My Time

If you add up the amount of time you have wasted not doing the things you wanted to in life, or how much time you have wasted because you haven’t managed your time as effectively as you could, I’m positive the results would be shocking!

Have you ever considered though, that you could be wasting precious time in important other ways? Here are some ways I’ve wasted my time in the past.

1. I don’t always challenge my negative thoughts.

This one definitely takes the cake and makes the top of the list! We are just now learning how our thoughts directly influence our lives and that our thoughts aren’t fact. Although, we certainly act as if they are!

We have, on average, 60,000 thoughts a day and unfortunately for most people, more than half are negative. It’s not your fault though; you didn’t choose to have them. Your thoughts come from your beliefs and experiences in life. You have developed beliefs that aren’t real; however, the biggest waste of time is not challenging your thoughts.

You need to question all your negative thoughts. Ask yourself, “Is this really true? Is it a fact?” If not, “Why do I believe this? What experiences have I had that gave me this opinion?” The best thing you can do is challenge your thoughts and refuse to let them hijack you. Your thoughts lead to your feelings and you take action on how you feel. Imagine the difference in your life between having a negative thought and acting on it, and having a negative thought and taking a minute to challenge it and change it for one that supports you instead. HUGE!

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2. I often believe people who have insulted me.

Can you remember the last time somebody insulted you? Of course you didn’t feel good about it and unfortunately, what most people tend to do is replay the insult over and over, feeling worse and worse and eventually believing it. Does this sound familiar?

There are a million types of people out there who feel they have the right to throw insults as they please; I have certainly had my fair share. The ironic part is that even though the insult may be directed at you and you might even believe it, it is really coming from the others person’s insecurities, misconception, perspective or lack of education.

Don’t waste your time letting others make you feel worse; someone can only make you feel bad with your permission. Instead of wasting time believing them, respond in a better way by ignoring them.

3. I have tried convincing someone to love me.

Do you ever find yourself obsessing over someone? “What can I do to make them like me? How can I convince them that they need to be with me?” Have you ever experienced this almost obsessive craving that drives your emotions and behavior to convince someone to love you?

The hard truth is, if somebody doesn’t want to be with you, there is nothing you can do to change that, and why would you really want to anyway? Why would you want to be with someone who doesn’t see you for who you are and love you as such?

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If you have been wasting time and energy convincing someone to love you, go and speak with somebody who has tried to do the same. They will tell you that it is a complete waste of time—I guarantee it! There are hundreds of other people who will love you without needing to convince them to. Remember, while you are wasting your time trying to convince someone to love you, you are missing out on an opportunity to meet the one who does!

4. I have beaten myself up about the past.

Why did I do that? Why did I say that? If only I did it differently. Every single person on the planet has regrets about the past. Why? Because we are human and perfection doesn’t exist.

The past will always be in the past, so why bring it into the future? The only thing way that the past serves us is by allowing us to learn from it to make better and different decisions in the future. This is the natural learning process in life. Your past does not need to dictate your future. We all have the right to start again and do things differently. Let go of the blame and bad experiences. You can only be wiser and more experienced from them, and that is nothing to beat yourself up about.

5. I have judged people on the decisions they’ve made.

How can he do that? I can’t believe she said that! We do it without even realizing it, but what a waste of time! Are you that person? Is it really your right to judge? When you judge some else, firstly, you cut off the possibility of understanding that person, which is actually what is needed.

Secondly, who the hell do you think you are to judge? Are you better than that person? Have you lived their life and been through everything to understand how one comes to a decision? Let go and let others live. Accept that you can’t control other people or make them act like you, even when you love them. Respect others enough to allow them to decide and learn. Stop wasting time on something you should never judge to begin with.

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6. I make up excuses for selfish behavior.

“It is okay. You can do that, even though it really puts me out!” Have you ever found yourself making excuses for other peoples selfish behavior?

You might do this because you love them and their happiness is more important than your own. While this might seem really sweet, it actually shows a low self esteem by putting other peoples’ happiness before your own. It is never, ever going to be healthy.

And consider this, why should you constantly excuse others because you care so much? How is the other person showing you that they also care like you do? By being selfish? I don’t think so. Learn to be more assertive and let other people take responsibility for their actions. At the end of the day, that is what really needs to happen.

7. I always put others before myself

We waste so much time, trying to please others but to our own detriment. Hello, what about you? Are you always going to let other people walk over you? Because that is what this is basically.

How much time do you spend going out of your way for others when you really didn’t want to? How many times have you said yes when you really want to say no? You are putting their needs before your own. If this is you, you will find that one day you will have the realization of “oh my gosh, this is my life and I’ve wasted time not doing the things I really wanted, but what others actually wanted.” Let’s hope you’re not too old when that happens, because it will happen, and let’s hope that you haven’t already wasted too much time putting yourself second!

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You may find that you do one or more of the above; now is your chance to change that. You only have one life. Time is precious and it cannot be bought. While you are wasting your time on the above, you are missing out on experiencing other more positive things in this world.

You deserve to have the best in life. If you don’t believe it, you need to challenge that negative belief now!

To your success!

More by this author

Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

4 Reasons Why You Can’t Achieve Your Goals How to Be More Productive: 4 Tiny Tweaks to Make 10 Negative Thoughts We All Have and What to Think Instead 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated) 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

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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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