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Dear 30-Somethings, I Hope You Won’t Make These Mistakes In Life

Dear 30-Somethings, I Hope You Won’t Make These Mistakes In Life

Dear 30-Somethings,

I am writing this to help you change your life around for the better. I want you to live a long and prosperous life without looking back with regrets. You have many years ahead of you, and I want to make sure that you live them to the fullest. There’s nothing like waking up one morning and having a meltdown because you didn’t do what you wanted to, so I want to make sure that doesn’t happen to you. Read this with an open mind and think about your life at the moment; are you living a happy life? If the answer is no, you won’t be living a happy life when you’re older either. No matter how much you’re saving for retirement.

1. Making Work a Priority

You’re a newbie at your job, and you want to make a good impression on your boss. I get it, it’s a natural feeling. You can’t just put work before everything else in your life though. If you respond to every call you receive from your boss or coworkers, even on your days off, you will never take the time to enjoy the present moment. You will soon become so obsessed with work that your life will only be about that… work. Your friends will start drifting away, and your relationships will be affected. I get that you want to work hard now and have fun later, but work will never cuddle with you when you are sad. Find a balance between work and fun that works for you. Work can come second on weekends and special occasions. Turn off your phone while you’re at the restaurant with your friends and make it clear to your boss that you will not answer calls or texts on specific days.

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2. Forgetting Your Passion for Money

Money controls everything in today’s world. If you want a luxurious life, you need more money; it’s just how it works. Which is why you might consider putting your passion behind in order to make more money. Let me tell you something about this type of thinking: it will make you miserable. If you go to work unhappy about what you do, or not passionate about your everyday tasks, you will be miserable. You will groan when you wake up in the morning, and you will sigh in relief when it’s time to punch out. You will find yourself in a mediocre routine where your feelings will be pretty much inexistent, because there will be no passion or excitement in your life. Of course though, we’re humans, so we need to feel something to not be depressed, which is where shopping splurges will come in. The money you make will pay for your happiness in things like shoes, dresses, suits, or cars. It might seem like you’re happy for a few minutes, but the feeling will fade very quickly. After a while, your boss might even think of letting you go because he can see that you’re miserable on the job. I write from experience. My advice? Follow your passion. When you’re passionate about something, the money will follow. Your excitement and love will allow you to create something amazing, something that sets you apart from others. If you’re passionate about writing, become a writer. It won’t always be easy, but you will wake up in the morning happy about what you’re doing of your day. You will create content that will make your readers want to read more. That’s what passion does and that’s why money always follows it. To find your passion, think back to when you were a little kid. What did you love doing more than anything? If it was playing video games, can you become a video game creator? If it was painting, can you become a museum curator? Think about it, and follow it. There’s a career for every passion.

3. Not Taking Care of Your Body

You might think now that you don’t need too exercise or eat healthy in order to look good, but your future self will think differently. You’re young, take care of your body! The food you eat today will start affecting your body later, by adding more wrinkles to your face or increasing your chances of getting ill. Go to the gym now, even if you don’t think you need it. If you exercise and eat healthy now, your skin will be tighter and your body will be slimmer later. Not only that, but you will also feel better about yourself. You’re already young and beautiful, so why not enhance this beauty of yours through a healthy lifestyle?

4. Neglecting Your Family

Family should always come first. You probably left the nest a few years ago and don’t plan on looking back, which is fine. But, you should never neglect your family. If you live in the same area, make time for all of them and catch up on their stories. You don’t want to be so caught up in work or adulthood that you forget to call your mother for a month or two. If you are living in a different Country, you can Skype to talk to your parents, siblings, or other close relatives. You might think that you’re above it all right now and that your friends are your new family, but it’s false. When you’ll be older, it’s a guarantee that you’ll regret not spending time with your family when you had the chance. You’ll regret forgetting to call your sister on her 30th birthday, or going to that lunch date with your parents. Your family is precious. Hold on to it and let them know regularly that you love them. They’re the ones who will be by your side no matter what happens. If you had a fight with a close family member, let go of that anger. Call your sibling or your parents and set things right, you’ll be happier.

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5. Being Negative

Negativity will kill you. Simple. If you spend your thirties thinking negatively, you will not blossom the way you should. Not only will you become a grumpy old person in the future, but you will also lose your entourage. People around you will slowly stop talking to you, because they know how negative you are. Your negativity will also take a toll on your relationships and career, as no one will want to spend time with you. It may sound harsh, but it’s the truth. Negativity will kill you. Instead of victimizing yourself and thinking negatively all the time, change your thoughts. Say affirmations every morning to start your day on a positive note. If you catch yourself being negative, shake it off and force yourself to think positive again. If your entourage is the one who’s negative, let go of them. It will make you feel better and a whole new life will open up before you.

6. Thinking You’re Too Old

You’re mistaken if you ever think that you’re too old to do something. Not only will you miss out on a lot of fun, but you will also age more quickly than you should. You don’t want to turn 50 one day and look back at your 35th birthday, when you passed up going to DisneyLand with your friends and just had a quiet dinner at home. You don’t have to be serious all the time, and you most definitely don’t have to act like you’re in your thirties, whatever that looks like. Take Richard Branson for example, he’s in his sixties and still lives like he’s in his thirties. Age is just a number, it shouldn’t define what you can or cannot do. You will live a much happier life if you stop thinking that you’re too old for this or for that. You’re never too old to ride the roller coasters or dance on the table! You have one life, make the most of it until the end.

7. Forgetting Yourself

If you are spending too much time pleasing others and forgetting about yourself, you will regret it later. Allow yourself the right to say no to certain invitations or certain requests from your significant other. When you’ll be older, you’ll regret not putting yourself first in certain situations, especially if you put aside your hopes and dreams to let someone else have the spotlight. If you put your needs first every once in a while, you’ll be much happier. It doesn’t matter if your friends and family don’t approve of your change of career, if you love it and know that it’s what you want to do, do it. You know yourself best.

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8. Living Too Safely

There’s no regret like the regret of living your life too safely. If you live too safely right now, you will never accomplish the things you could’ve accomplished, period. If you’re always so afraid of taking risks, you will pass up on job offers, promotions, relationships, friendships, and dozens of other opportunities. The time will never be right for taking a risk, but if you know what you’re getting yourself into, take the risk. Take the risk of failure or rejection and see what happens. Even if that guy at work doesn’t like you romantically, at least now you know. You won’t always go home overthinking every eye contact you’ve had with the guy, because you’ll know that nothing can happen. The best way to embrace risk is by testing new foods. Go to a Mexican restaurant and try hot dishes, see what happens. Go on a spontaneous trip with your best friend, see what happens. Worst case scenario? You’ll have hilarious stories to tell your grandchildren.

9. Not Traveling Enough

This is one of the most common regrets people have when they’re older. You might be extremely busy with work or adulthood right now, but you should always make time to get out of the country and visit new cities. When you get older, you won’t have the energy to travel around the world, so do it now. Traveling will help you find yourself by breaking away from the routine and thinking of only one thing: yourself. Even if it doesn’t seem like it, you now have the time to travel. Take two weeks off and visit Paris or London, see what everyone is talking about! See for yourself if Italians are real charmers or if French macarons are the best dessert on earth. Many people take a gap year before University to travel around the world, why not do it now? Grab a luggage and head out into the world, that’s where the real opportunities lie.

10. Leaving Feelings Unspoken

A lot of you today think that feelings should just be bottled up, mostly because you’re afraid of getting hurt. This fear will create a lot of regret in the future as you look back and wonder if that person at work really liked you. You can’t leave your feelings bottled up for fear of being rejected or of ruining whatever is going on between the two of you. If you think that the other person likes you, make a move. What if your best friend likes you as much as you like him? Imagine the regret you will have if you both like each other, but no one has the courage to speak out. You’ll get married one day and still wonder if your best friend likes you the way you like him. I mean, haven’t you seen Maid of Honor? Talk to your crush about your feelings or ask that cute waiter out. Worst case scenario, they don’t like you romantically but still want to be friends with you. At least you will know for sure that the person doesn’t like you. You can move on to the next person without regrets, because you did what you could to find out if the feelings were reciprocal.

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Good luck, and remember to stay true to yourself!

Featured photo credit: Featured Photo Credit: Oleander via mrg.bz

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Sarah Anton

Editor and founder of The Fitrepreneur, aspires to improve people's living style.

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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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