Advertising
Advertising

How To Live Life With No Regrets

How To Live Life With No Regrets

Regret is like a ghost. It arrives when we feel low or down in our lives and sticks around for a while – sometimes months, years, and even decades. Since misery does like company, it’s not a surprise that our uninvited “ghost” shows up in perfect timing, and it’s usually when we are reminded of the things we wish we had done differently in our lives.

The thing is, regret will only stay if we let it. In order to let go of his heavy burden and lingering ghost, we must first understand what we are regretting in our lives and why.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to live life with no regrets.

1. Reflect on Past Regrets

Everyone has had their fair share of things that they have regretted in their life, but the question to ask yourself is how long you have been carrying these burdens?

Guilt and regret weighs heavily on your mental health, which as a result can disrupt your physical productivity.

The first step is to acknowledge the things that you regret doing or not doing. The following step would be giving yourself space to explore in those things.

Remember, be kind to yourself when you are doing this. It takes a lot of courage to face the things that continue to cause us pain, guilt and suffering.

2. Have a Healthy Conversation with Yourself

Now, as you explore this space and begin addressing the things you regret, keep in mind that you are having a conversation with yourself. This isn’t a blame game and this space isn’t meant for you to slip down a rabbit hole of self-sabotage.

One way to avoid self-sabotage is identifying the things that are working against you. Holding onto regret is one form of self-sabotage, and moving forward means having healthier conversations with yourself to get to the root of “the thing.” There is a hidden root to the things we regret in life and finding it can help bring more clarity.

3. Find the Root

Let’s get to finding that root. We experience guilt and regret in different situations and circumstances in our lives whether it be our career, relationships, or even putting our needs in the back burner.

Here are several examples and getting to the root of these regrets:

Regret 1: I regret not accepting that job offer. I would have moved up to a senior position by now and be making x amount a year.

Advertising

The regret here is about a missed opportunity. There’s a reason why you may not have taken that opportunity when it was presented and it can timing, personal reasons, or specific priorities that needed your attention at the time.

First and foremost, see if you are that same person you were at that specific moment of your life.

Are your values the same?

Do you still want the same things you did then?

What experienced have you gained from not taking the job?

Chances are, you may be a completely different person then as you are now. As humans, we are meant to grow and outgrow older versions of ourselves. The root here of the guilt is not about mourning a missed opportunity, but accepting that things may have changed – including you.

Here’s another one, but this time it’s about something that’s been done.

Regret 2: I regret moving to a new city. It’s not what I thought it would be and I’m not happy.

The regret here is moving to the unknown and there was a reason why you decided to take that jump.

Was it to try something new or was it because you’ve always wanted to live in this particular city?

Was it for someone or something?

Ask yourself these questions and then look at what your current needs are.

Advertising

It’s also about living in the present, and by doing so your energy is not fixated on the regret itself but about finding the positives of what you thought was a negative situation.

Remember, every situation needs time to breathe.

4. Accept That You Are a Work in Progress

Everyday we are figuring out more and more about who we are or what we want in this one life that we live.

The greatest gift you can give yourself is acknowledging that you are a human being, and perfection does not exist. Forgive yourself for things you did not know when you made “regretful” decisions, and don’t let anything hinder your growth from here on forward.

Acknowledge that certain decisions were made because of what you wanted at that specific moment; it’s a way of honoring yourself. Holding onto regrets mean you are living in the past and honoring yourself means living in the present.

5. Value Your Time and Energy

Our energy is one of the most precious things we have control of even though most of the time it may not seem so.

Using time-management tools such as keeping a to-do list and delegating household tasks are helpful, but energy goes beyond just physical activities. We have emotional energies, too.

Be mindful of the energy you put into your physical work, in your relationships with partners, friends and colleagues, on hobbies, and other daily activities.

If you feel like your energy is being drained in certain aspects of your life, it’s your intuition telling you to check-in.

Choose one day out of the week and tune into how you feel during your daily routine:

  • How do you really feel after checking your email the moment your alarm goes off?
  • How present do you feel when you are eating your lunch hovered over your computer?
  • How would it make you feel if you called versus sending a text message to your loved ones?

Also, set your non-negotiables. Value the things that are important to you and stick by them especially if it’s a set date and time. This is one way of honoring and putting yourself first.

Many times, regret happens when we don’t honor the things that nourish us mentally, physically and emotionally.

Advertising

6. Don’t Wait for the Weekend to Rest

If you’re working Monday thru Friday, the moment Friday comes around a sense of relief may be washing over you.

“It’s the weekend!” you shout.

Every day should spark that emotion. Condensing all your me-time for the weekend may increase burnouts and bring instead feelings of unproductively. The weekend should not be a 48-hour countdown until Monday or a time to crank out your personal to-do list.

Carve out time everyday to unplug and fuel your soul with the things that you want to do. This could be anything from not checking emails after 6 p.m., putting your phone to airplane mode at a specific time, or simply playing the guitar every single day.

The more you fuel yourself with the things that make you happy, it’ll limit those excuses of “I regret not keeping up with learning the guitar” or “I regret not spending more time with my family because I was focused on work outside of work.”

Me-time is important.

7. Set Goals

It’s essential to set goals – long-term, short-term, big and small goals. When you set your goals and have a clear vision in mind, you have a focus.

Often, regret happens when we’re “not where we want to be” in life or when we don’t achieve certain things. One way to live a life without any regrets is to simply hone in on the things you want to achieve, and it’s even better when you can see it everyday.

How?

Get out that pen and paper – it’s time to create a list.

This is the 101 things to do in 1001 days exercise. 1001 days is a little short of three years and will fly by before you know it. Having small fun goals is just as important as having big life goals. Although this list may seem like a bucket list (which it could be), it gives you a timeframe of 1001 days to complete the items on your list.

Don’t sell yourself short and be creative. You can section your list into categories such as career and travel, or write them down as they come to find. Every day is a new day. It’s another 24-hour reset, and the question to ask yourself is what you will do about it today.

Advertising

Check out this ultimate guide to goal-setting to help you achieve your goals.

8. Learn from Others

“Frodo: ‘I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.’ Gandalf: ‘So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.’” -The Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring

When death arrives, our perception of the world changes. This moving article, “These 20 Regrets From People On Their Deathbeds Will Change Your Life” explains just that. We all think we’re immortal until we’re not. We all believe we are invincible until the world around us shows that we are equally fragile and delicate as our bodies. Here are some of the things that were listed:

  • I wish I wouldn’t have compared myself to others
  • I wish I’d told others how much I love them.
  • I wish I didn’t wait to “start it tomorrow.”

Some of the most profound lessons are learned from not doing or not saying enough.

Do two things today:

The first thing is to tell someone you love them and are thinking about them.

The second thing would be to choose something you’ve always wanted to do and start today. No excuses.

Final Thoughts

Regret is a powerful emotion, and if not careful, it can consume your thoughts, energy, and time.

Several years ago, I made the conscious decision to laugh every single day including on the days I felt miserable. I knew that when my time came, I can look back and say that my life was filled with laughter and it’s the one thing that helps me feel alive.

Always remember that no matter what your situation is, you can kindly ask this “ghost” to leave, but it will only leave when you begin doing things for you.

Whatever it is, do it with passion and love.

More Articles About Living a Fulfilling Life

Featured photo credit: Jeremy Bishop via unsplash.com

More by this author

Akina Chargualaf

Akina Chargualaf is an entrepreneur, writer, and the content creator of travel and personal development blog Finding Fifth.

How to Not Be Sad When It Feels Like Everything Is Going Wrong 15 Tips to Manage Shift Work and Your Quality of Life 7 Practical Ways to Change Your Thinking and Change Your Life How to Talk to Your Future Self to Change Your Life What Is Your Destiny in Life? How to Mindfully Achieve Your Purpose

Trending in Communication

1 5 Real Relationship Goals You Should Actually Strive Toward 2 When You Learn A Second Language, These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen To You 3 15 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Truly Happy 4 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 5 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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

Read Next