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How to Endure and Overcome the Worst of Life’s Hardships

How to Endure and Overcome the Worst of Life’s Hardships

I’m sure at some point in your life, you’ve had to endure some form of hardship. We all have.

It could be personal 

Maybe you’re having trouble with a your spouse or partner, and you just can’t seem to get it together. Maybe it’s from being complacent for too long and a need for change begins to build inside you. After all, that’s what we do right?

We’re human. We change. We can get comfortable in our environment, but sometimes we get too comfortable and the desire for change kicks in. It’s a good thing, but it can also be your enemy, if you allow it.

It could be financial

Maybe your job doesn’t bring in the kind of money you need to do anything more than survive, so when you suffer a setback, you really struggle. You not only struggle with the financial issues, but you also struggle with your emotions. Not having the amount of money you need to live without the fear that comes along with being broke, sucks.

You can be feeling great mentally and physically and able to perform at your best, but if you are struggling financially, there’s a good chance you’re causing more harm to your body with the stress, worry, and anger that comes along with it. This also plays a role in your personal life as well, doesn’t it?

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We let our financial frustrations affect ourselves and the personal relationships around us. This brings with it more problems and and suffering, and pretty soon, we’re left with only two options.

1. Change

You can change your circumstances to get out of your unwanted situation. It can be difficult to do this, especially when nothing but negativity surrounds you, but if you decide willingly to change your circumstances, you can. It’s just a matter of knowing how.

2. Be forced into change

It’s human nature to need to be constantly growing, evolving, and changing. If you are stagnant and stick in a routine for too long, what happens? Well, most of the time, you get a feeling of boredom, a desire for change, or despair that comes from being in a stalled state of progression. That’s just you telling yourself that you need to change something.

If you were to learn the process a little better, you could really help yourself when it comes to understanding how to endure and overcome the very worst of your life’s hardships. Knowing that there is a specific reason you are in a hardship will help you to learn how to get through it in a positive way vs. a negative one.

So what’s the process for being able to endure and overcome, you might ask? Well, as you probably already know, no one process will work for everyone, just as there is (usually) no quick-fix solution for the various hardships that come into your life. There are, however, certain ways you can choose to perceive the realities you’re hit with.

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Perception

Perception is in the eye of the beholder, so if I’m perceiving my life in a negative way, I’m more than likely going to be dealing with all of the emotions and thoughts that come from that perception. In other words, thinking negative thoughts—in any situation—is going to bring out negative emotions. This can get you stuck in a tailspin, and you’ll find it very difficult to get past emotions such as anger, sadness, and low self-esteem, which go along with negative perceptions.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t want to feel those negative emotions—they are a valuable part of progressing and moving forward in your life. The negative emotions are there so you can overcome them. Let’s look at just how you can change your feelings of suffering when hardships hit into a new perspective on your life, which will allow you to endure when there is suffering, and overcome when it’s time.

Enduring

When hit with any kind of hardship, it’s difficult to know which types of emotions will surface. Of course you will be experiencing suffering, so the bad emotions that follow are going to be entering your world. One of the worst things you can do, (other than hurting yourself or another, of course) is try to hide or not acknowledge your feelings.

  • Accept

It is very important to accept what is, both in terms of the external reality and your internal reality, with thoughts, emotions, etc.

  • Feel

Allow yourself to feel, and also allow yourself to listen to what comes through while you are allowing your emotions to go through their natural process.

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  • Listen

When was the last time you truly sat down with no distractions, (technologies, cell phone, Facebook, e-mail, television, etc.) and listened? Take a moment each day to look inside yourself and hear what your higher consciousness has to say. Don’t think, don’t wonder—just listen.

Overcoming

After you’ve taken the time to sit back, reflect, and gain clarity on your current circumstances, it’s time to start moving forward. After all, how can you expect to overcome a challenging situation in your life if you don’t move? It does require a little inspirational push, but if you want to get over a hardship, you need to let it in. Here are some ways to overcome any difficult situation when you just can’t escape your own thoughts and feelings.

Find inspiration in your life – Inspiration brings hope and desire, which also bring positivity. These are all good things and can offer you the tools you need to move forward, away from the depths of despair that haunt you when experiencing hardship.

Strategy – Once you have a positive attitude and desire inside you, it’s the perfect time to come up with an escape plan from your current situation. When you see the vision of where you want to be, you can start to fill in the details with a direction to start moving in. The key here is to make the decision to consciously move forward, and have a solid action plan to follow.

Take Action – This is one of the most obvious pieces of advice people can give. You know it, I know it, we all do, but it’s easier said than done though, isn’t it? It’s easy to say “take action”, but it’s not as easy to follow that advice. Why is that?

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Many factors can come into play here, but beyond the obvious, (that you may be stressed, tired, moody, and depressed) there is another reason, a deeper reason that holds most people back. Almost everyone should be able to picture some form of positive outcome in their minds, but when it comes to taking action and making an actual change, very few of us follow through. We just end up enduring until our emotions settle down and we continue on the same path, which led to our current circumstances in the first place.

If you really want to overcome it, not just endure, you need to start changing your status quo. Discover and pursue a life that brings progress and positive changes to your world. Surround yourself with people who care about you, want the best for you, and believe in you. The most important factor is to remember that you’re not alone. Sometimes, it may seem easier to just cope and put on a happy face, but it’s not.

The true change happens, when you fully embrace the relationships and connections around you. 

 

More by this author

Justin Harmon

Justin helps people break free from the status quo and start living a life of personal freedom, fulfillment, and purpose.

6 Reasons Why Your Comfort Zone Is Holding You Back In Life How to Stop the Cycle of Anger, Sadness, and Guilt During Hardships How to Be Awesome at Life How to Endure and Overcome the Worst of Life’s Hardships 3 Highly Effective Ways to Become Happy, Awake, Fulfilled and Free

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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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