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8 Reasons Why Asking Yourself ‘Why’ Is Important To Life

8 Reasons Why Asking Yourself ‘Why’ Is Important To Life

As a child you are encouraged to ask questions, to be curious about life, and to find out what you love and do that. However, as you grow into an adult your curiosity diminishes, you stop asking questions, stop challenging, and become more concerned with fitting in than questioning certain things in life. As you grow and develop, your fears, doubts and worries grow too, the questions stop, and your childhood individuality and uniqueness disappears.

Life is a journey—an experience like no other—and with that change and growth will happen, but only if you embrace it. Asking yourself ‘why’ is part of that journey, as it helps you to understand yourself, those around you, and society’s expectations. It’s time to step forward, challenge and question. Here are a few reasons why asking why is so important to your life.

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1. It is essential to your happiness

Have you asked yourself recently if you are doing the things you love in your life? Have you stopped for a moment and checked that where you are is where you want to be? If not, then you are probably going through the same routine every day. You’ve been doing stuff on automatic pilot, not even stopping to wonder whether it even makes you happy. It’s so important to check in with yourself regularly, to check if you are on the same page with your loved ones and ensure you are going in the right direction. It might be a good time to make some changes, take a new direction, or talk to someone who matters to you just to see if they are happy too. What’s most important is that you are following your own bliss. So ask yourself regularly, “Am I happy with this?” and then see where it takes you.

2. It is important for your growth

Growth is important, it’s that part of you that is ever-changing, it’s mindful of your actions and it teaches you about yourself, your motivations and purpose in life. When you question things, asking why regularly, it can move you in a new direction and get you thinking about your core values and beliefs. It can make you reassess what you’ve been taught since childhood, get you to think for yourself and help you work out what is important to you. Asking questions of others can also spark interesting conversations and help others to grow too. It’s perfect for opening new doors to opportunities and provides a new and conscious existence to your life, making it even more beautiful than before.

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3. It’s required for a healthy mind

If you’re not asking yourself why on a regular basis, then you’re merely existing instead of living. Imagine if you habitually drank a lot of alcohol or overate and you asked yourself why you did those things, what do you think the answer would be? Sometimes, the question why is avoided at all costs because you already know the answer. Perhaps you have some damaging habits because of your past, or some kind of fear or pain that you hold deep within. When you ask why, you are looking at your life, your habits and learning about yourself. To question yourself will provide you with a better outlook because you will know why you do these things and it’s down to you to carry on or change. Your mind is essential for your well-being, so learn to ask why more and challenge yourself daily; your mental health will thank you later on in life.

4. It inspires others to ask why

Fear stops a lot of people from asking why, mainly because they don’t want to know the answer, are too afraid of the answer, or feel guilty if they know the answer and they don’t do anything about it. If you ask why more and openly challenge things, it will inspire others to do the same. If they see that you are growing and progressing through life because of your curiosity and fearlessness, they will want to have the same kind of life. Remember, you are a teacher, as I am a teacher to you, so be the inspiration for others to get what they want out of life too.

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5. It encourages good, honest relationships

Communication is important to any relationship, especially personal ones; however, fear can stop you asking vital questions, which can hinder rather than develop relationships. Asking why of your partner will open up conversation and steer you to the truth of any problem or situation that occurs. It’s good to be honest, and asking why will bring up any doubts or worries. It is then up to you to decide what can be done once the information has been shared. If you want an honest relationship, learn to ask questions rather than jumping to conclusions.

6. It will keep you young

Asking questions, especially why, will keep the mind active as you grow older. Being aware of what’s going on around you, around the world and so on, will keep you in tune with younger members of society, which can keep you feeling just as young as them. It shows that you are interested and interesting to be around, plus as you grow older you tend to think you know it all, so to keep that childlike quality ask why more and you’ll learn something new every day.

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7. It will make other people happy

When you show genuine interest in another human being you make them feel important and worth something. Asking why will encourage good intellectual conversation and will lift the other person. Knowing that someone else is interested in what you have to say is a wonderful feeling; it breeds enthusiasm and motivation. Plus if you are the one asking why, you’ll get to find out a lot more about someone else and feel good about it in the process.

8. It could make a difference to the world

If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got. When something changes, in this instance by asking the question why, it can make all the difference to someone else and in turn a difference in the world. When you ask why, you are asking because it matters and the answer will shape what you do next. Asking why about important topics such as famine, war, poverty, animal cruelty, human suffering and environmental issues will highlight them more, bringing awareness and change.

The question why so important because life can change in an instant. Are you willing to step up, be courageous and ask why?

Featured photo credit: Flickr/ Paul McRae (Delta Niner) via flickr.com

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Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips on Lifehack.

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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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