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Here are the 7 Things You are Not Doing that Make You Feel Miserable and Unfulfilled

Here are the 7 Things You are Not Doing that Make You Feel Miserable and Unfulfilled

We do a lot of things to be happier and more fulfilled. We try climbing the corporate ladder or building businesses here and there. We go to new places and have more adventures. But, no matter what we do or how much we accomplish, we still feel miserable and unfulfilled. Being happier and more fulfilled is not just about doing more. It’s about doing more of the right things. Here are the 7 things you probably are not doing that are making you feel miserable and unfulfilled:

1. You Are Not Discovering Your Purpose

The happiest and most fulfilled people are those who wake up knowing what they will do each day. They don’t feel stuck in the wrong job and don’t think about what ifs because they already found what they love to do. They know the one thing that they’re good at, that excites them, and that gives them purpose each day, regardless of the pay check. They know the one thing that only they can give to the world.

If you’re still feeling miserable and stuck in your job or in what you do, you probably haven’t tried enough, explored enough, and failed enough to find your one thing. The good news is it’s never too late to try new things, to meet new people, to take more chances, and to do more things that excite you until you find it. But, try new things with a purpose of finding your one thing. Finally, don’t be afraid to start all over again, make mistakes, and look silly just to find it.

2. You Are Not Realizing Your Potential

Knowing your purpose is one thing. Acting on it is another. No matter how grand finding your purpose seems, actually pursuing it is not always a bed of roses. There will still be days when you don’t feel like working, get discouraged by your results or the lack thereof, and doubt or regret pursuing your passion. That’s why many people give up on their purposes. Sadly, their potential remains just that – potential.

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In order to become the great person you know you are meant to be, have the courage to follow your dreams, the discipline to stay the course, and the persistence to weather the storms that come your way. Don’t go to the grave with your greatness still in you and without ever realizing your potential. Unfulfilled potential is one of the most miserable things in this world.

3. You Are Not Receiving Love

Many people feel miserable because they seek love and approval from other people. They wait for Mr. or Ms. Right to come into their lives. They struggle to move on from a lover who left them. They seek affirmation from bosses, colleagues, and other people. They even wait for Facebook friends to “like” their posts. They search constantly for love in the wrong places that they do not receive the love already around them.

If you feel miserable because the person you love doesn’t love you back no matter what you do, remember that there are people who already love you like your family and friends. Open yourself and receive the love that’s already available to you and you’ll realize how blessed you truly are. There are people who love you more than you know and they love you unconditionally. You just have to look in the right places.

4. You Are Not Giving Love

Unlike most of us, athletes and celebrities have no problem receiving love from other people. But, many of them fall into depression and addiction. Even at the height of their careers, many athletes and celebrities become miserable. Why? Because like balloons receiving air, they receive so much love that they just burst. People are not designed to just receive love but also to give love. People have a deep need to matter and to make a difference.

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If you are receiving so much love from your family, your friends, or even your significant other but still feel miserable, maybe it’s time to share that love with other people. Volunteer. Join a meaningful cause. Join a community near you. Love your bosses or colleagues without expecting anything in return. Love is not meant to be kept to yourself. It’s meant to be shared with the world.

5. You Are Not Taking Responsibility

We used to depend on our parents for major decisions in our lives like what school to enroll in or what course to take. Then, we depended on the education system to tell us what what we should learn. Now, we depend on social media to define what success is. Heck, we even depend on our bosses to give us direction for our lives. Then, we ask why we feel miserable and blame it on other people, including the president! But the reality is, they did not take control of our lives. We gave them the control.

Happy and fulfilled people take back that control from other people.They take back responsibility for their lives. They make their own choices and their own decisions. They take action and they live the lives they want, not what others want them to live. If you want to be happier and more fulfilled, know where you want to be. Don’t allow anyone or anything to stop you from pursuing your purpose. Set your own path and define your own success. Do not pattern your life after other people’s lives. Only you can live your life for yourself.

6. You Are Not Letting Go Of Limiting Beliefs And Self-Imposed Responsibilities

Most of the time, it’s not other people who are preventing you from achieving the greatness inside of you. Most of the time, it is you who prevents yourself with your self-doubt, discouraging self-talk, and self-imposed responsibilities.

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Let go of your limiting beliefs. Things may not be as easy as they seem to be. But, they are not as hard as you think are. You will most likely succeed at what you try. Only if you try.

Also, let go of your self-imposed responsibilities. The world does have so many problems. But, it’s not up to you to solve each and every one of them. Just do what you can to make a difference today. Take life less seriously and you’ll be surprised at how happy you can become. Life’s more fun than you think it is.

7. You Are Not Staying In The Present Moment

Many people are miserable because they are too caught up in the past or are living too far ahead in the future. They are stuck in their past hurts or past glory, worry too much about things that will probably not happen, or are too focused on future success that they cannot enjoy what they already have.

You may not yet be where you want to be, but the present moment is really all you have to enjoy now. Yesterday already had its moment and you have tomorrow to enjoy, well, tomorrow. The only way you can live a happy and fulfilled life is to live it to the fullest one day at a time. Do what you can for today, love the people already around you, appreciate who you have become, and just experience every minute of today. If you feel great today, there’s no reason you can’t feel the same again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and the next day. Before you know it, you already lived a great life.

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Make A Plan And Put It On Paper

Knowing is half the battle. Actually doing it is the other half. If you’re serious about living a happier and more fulfilled life, make a plan and put it on paper. Make a plan to discover your purpose, to work on it, to receive the love available to you, to give love, to take responsibility, to let go of limiting beliefs, and to stay in the present moment. Put it on paper and then execute your plan.

Featured photo credit: Todd Quackenbush via unsplash.imgix.net

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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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