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8 Beliefs That Are Keeping You From Happiness

8 Beliefs That Are Keeping You From Happiness

Why do some people seem so happy and healthy, while others are so miserable? There are many reasons why people are happier than others, but one fundamental truth about happiness is that the power to change your life and create happiness resides within you. Happy people consciously decide to have a positive mentality. They see opportunities when others see closed doors and flow with (not against) the natural groove of life.

If you meet your basic physical needs of food, shelter, clothing and comfort, but still find you are not happy, chances are that some of your core beliefs and habits are limiting you from living a full life. Change the following core beliefs that are keeping you from happiness today to lead a more fulfilling, happy life.

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1. Belief that life is fair

Life is not always fair, nor is it a joyride every single day. There will be days when you feel like the whole weight of the world is on your shoulders. Your heart will be broken and weighed down by injustices in the world. These days will suck, but that is life. Stop wasting too much time and energy wishing that everything was fair in the world. Instead, seek out things you can do to make life better. There will always be something you can do to make life that much fair. The joy you get from improving the quality of your own life and that of others is worth every effort.

2. Belief that playing it safe keeps you from getting hurt

Life is about taking risks and learning from the positive and negative outcomes of risks. Many people are quick to quantify the risks involved in trying something new or venturing out in a different direction. These same people, however, are far less adept at analyzing the risks of staying the course. While staying the course and playing it safe can keep you from hurt in the short term, the cost of complacency is comparably greater in the long run. Happy people adopt a little more blind faith in life, which boosts their long term personal development and happiness.

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3. Belief that you are in control of everything

Life is full of surprises. No matter how obsessively we plan and prepare, things sometimes play out differently than we want or expect them to. Random events occur all the time for all sorts of reasons and meticulous plans can get disrupted at the last minute. While proper planning and risk management is important for your success and happiness, being in control of everything is just an illusion that puts you on edge and drains energy and happiness out of you. The sooner you realize this truth, the more prepared you will be to deal with all that life deals you, and the happier you will become.

4. Belief that the future is bleak

The glass can either be half full or half empty, depending on how you look at it. The belief that the future is bleak is usually a matter of perspective driven by such factors as fear, worry, lack of faith and childhood programming. People who focus more on the negative see only a bleak future for themselves and others and are less happy than people who look on the brighter side of things. Of course, blind optimism can be contrived and irresponsible, but blatant pessimism is worse. Think more positively and see the good things around you to lead a more balanced, happy life.

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5. Belief that others are better off than you

The belief that others are better off than you is a fallacy. As human beings, we all have equal capacity to experience joy, pain, need and comfort. We all grow and advance in life at our own pace, depending on various factors like hard work, opportunity and resources. While some people might be stronger, more gifted and more beautiful than you, they are not necessarily better off than you. If you can figure out what you really want in life and then go for it, you too can lead a rewarding and happy life that others envy. Just see through the need for other people’s approval and you will be fine.

6. Belief that people are obligated to love you a specific way

Not everybody will love or support you the way you want them to, but that’s okay. People are not obligated to love you in a specific way just as you are not obligated to love others in a certain way. We all have the ability to love, but our capacity to express this love is unique. Just be grateful that someone actually loves you and wishes the best for you, even though you might feel like they are not compassionate or supportive enough. Stop demanding that people love you how you think they should and you will truly be a much happier person.

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7. Belief that suffering is bad

Suffering gets a bad rap all the time. But, if you scrap the surface you will realize that suffering has a silver lining that never gets the credit it deserves. Suffering stirs change and builds resilience and wisdom. It is almost always a stepping stone to something better. For example, a failed relationship is the gateway to a successful one and an illness the right motivation to re-examine your life and adopt a healthier lifestyle. If you face suffering with the right mindset and take appropriate steps to address its cause, you can only get stronger, wiser and happier in life.

8. Belief that others are the reason for your unhappiness

One of the most overlooked truths of life is that you are responsible for your own happiness. Nothing defines who you are and how you feel unless you let it. People can hate on you as much as their little cold hearts desire, but that only highlights deep-seated insecurities within them‒which have nothing to do with you. People don’t decide who you are. You are only whomever you decide you are. Other’s actions or inaction will only hurt your ego and affect your happiness if you let it. Happiness is a choice. Choose to be happy from today regardless of what everybody else says or does!

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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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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