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These 10 Songs Will Get You Pumped to Follow Your Dreams

These 10 Songs Will Get You Pumped to Follow Your Dreams

Like most of you, I’m sure, I love music. It plays a huge role in my life: whether I’m at the gym, at home or at the office (oops!), nothing gives me more joy or energy than to listen to my favourite tunes. They perk me up when I’m feeling down or sluggish, give me food for thought when inspiration fails me and egg me on when my motivation flags. In other words, music has had my back in times both high and low and I firmly believe that there is a song or melody out there for pretty much any occasion!

On that note, today I’d like to share my go-to playlist for when I need a little mojo to chase my dreams. You know the score: some days, the will to boldly go after what we want is lacking and we find ourselves uninspired, unmotivated and bored. Ugh! In times like these, there is nothing better than plugging your earphones in, shutting out the world and letting brilliant, uplifting music wash over you. After just a couple of songs (or more, if the doldrums have really hit me), I feel refreshed and raring to go!

The following songs are a mix between good, old-fashioned (and probably more than a little cheesy) pop, rough and ready rap and soulful R&B. What they all have in common, though, is that they will get you pumped to follow your dreams! Ready? Let’s go!

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1. Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’

Don’t stop believing / Hold on to that feeling

Don’t Stop Believing by Journey is a bona fide classic and has its place in any motivational playlist. The melody is rousing and the lyrics, uplifting, so press “play” when you’re in need of a boost!

2. Alicia Keys – Empire State Of Mind (Part II) Broken Down

I’mma make it by any means / Got a pocket full of dreams

Alicia Keys’ beautiful rendition of Empire State of Mind (Part II) captures all of the Big Apple’s promise. The soaring vocals coupled with the inspiring words make this song the perfect companion for chasing dreams!

3. Irina Menzel – Let It Go

It’s time to see what I can do / To test the limits and break through

Let It Go is one of my favourite songs of all times, so it isn’t surprising to see it on this list. It’s the perfect song to belt out when you need to muster your strength and face those epic challenges!

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4. Iggy Azalea – Impossible Is Nothing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgT5WLqWfF0

I shall never let them see me sweat / Promise to want for more until my very last breath

Iggy Azalea might not be for everyone, but this song never fails to get me pumped up. Hearing her talk about her struggles and her steely will to succeed will definitely motivate you to reach for the stars!

5. Darin Zanyar – Be What You Wanna Be

I know you could reach the top / Make sure that you won’t stop

This song is definitely an acquired taste, but the lyrics contain a rare optimism that’ll have you tapping your feet and raring to go!

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6. Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole – Somewhere Over The Rainbow / What A Wonderful World

Someday I’ll wish upon a star / Wake up where the clouds are far behind me

Another classic beautifully rendered by the legendary Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole, this song will open your eyes to the beauty of the world.

7. Eddie Vedder – Rise

Gonna rise up / Turning mistakes into gold

Rise is a glorious ode to adventure penned by none other than Pearl Jam’s own Eddie Vedder for the epic movie Into the Wild. Its rousing, hopeful melody will ignite your wanderlust!

8. R. Kelly – The World’s Greatest

And I’m that little bit of hope / When my back’s against the rope

This touching ode to Mohammed Ali serves as a reminder that even in the darkest hour, there is still hope. Listen to this song when the going gets tough.

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9. Eminem – Lose Yourself

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmXumtgwtak

You only get one shot / Do not miss your chance to blow

Eminem’s Lose Yourself is on a great deal of motivational playlists, and with good reason: it’s a veritable anthem to hard work and a reminder to always seize opportunities as soon as they present themselves to us. Carpe that diem!

10. Katy Perry – Firework

Baby, you’re a firework / Come on, let your colours burst

No motivational playlist is complete without Firework by Katy Perry! This song has been my ally on many a difficult run. Its inspirational lyrics and good, old-fashioned poppy fun never fails to put a smile on my face!

Sometimes, all it takes to put you back on the path to success is the right attitude… and the right song! What is your go-to song to put you in a dream-chasing mood? 

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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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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