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When Feeling Down, These 22 Things Will Put A Smile On Your Face

When Feeling Down, These 22 Things Will Put A Smile On Your Face

When you’re feeling down, it can be hard to turn your mood around. Whether you’re stressed, dealing with professional or personal problems, or just plain in a rut, simple pick-me-ups can make all the difference. Just take a deep breath, and let our favourite smile worthy topics ease the negativity from your mind. No matter why you’re feeling down, these 22 rays of sunshine will help you pick yourself back up. 

 

Anjana The Chimpanzee Raises Tiger Cubs

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    At The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (TIGERS) in South Carolina, a two year old chimpanzee is inseparable from her human caretakers. Named Anjana, this adorable chimp has learned how to care for others. Most notably acting as surrogate mother for two white tiger cubs, Anjana’s selfless love will make any day brighter.

     

     This Genius Artist

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       Never underestimate the power of laughter when you’re feeling down.

       

      COMACO Helps People And Animals

      At Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO), conservationists struggled to fight poaching in Zambia. However, in 2001, the group changed tactics. Instead of focusing on how to beat poachers, they tried to understand why people need to poach. What the organization uncovered was villages deeply struggling with poverty. The group changed their approach and started looking at how to employ poachers in other markets. Since 2001, COMACO has helped over 650 poachers train in other industries, mainly farming. This has increased employment and income for the villagers, while drastically decreasing the number of slain endangered animals. A small start, that’s making big waves, towards a brighter future for everyone.

       

      This Guy’s Jig

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        Though it’s short, this little dance gets funnier the longer you watch.

        This Dog’s Jig

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          Don’t forget to do a little dance when you’re feeling down. It’s seems silly, but sometimes silliness is the best antidote for the blues.

           

          This Pig Adopted Tiger Cubs

          At the Chimelong Xiangjiang Safari Park in China, this pig adopted three tiger cubs abandoned by their biological mother. There is nothing like a tiger cub cuddling up to it’s baby pig sibling to make you go “Aww”.

           

          Stylish Matrix Moves

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            This guy’s endless Matrix ollie is one of the better internet edits. Focus on his smug head nod for an instant chuckle.

             

            Neighbors Really Do Care

            In Chesterfield, Virginia, a community rallied together after a local young man delivering pizza was robbed. Stopped at gunpoint, he lost a little over $100 dollars. After hearing about the incident, some neighbors pitched in and ordered a pizza. When he arrived, they gave him a mega tip, more than doubling the amount he lost. More simple proof that humanity shouldn’t always get you feeling down.

             

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            Even When You’re Feeling Down, Little Miracles Happen

            A young girl in San Francisco is a hero after she remembered an important rule during a house fire. When a fire broke out in the kitchen, Galaxy Kong was the only one who woke up. Only 9 years old, Galaxy calmly woke up her dad and led him to safety. The two escaped out of a second story window before the blaze spread upstairs. Most importantly, Galaxy remembered to block the bottom of the door with a towel. This stops smoke from pouring into a room, saving crucial oxygen. In this case, this rule likely allowed Galaxy and her dad enough time to escape.

             

            You’ve Never Been Pranked Like This

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              …Or This

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                …unless you’re the ones in the GIFs, in which case, our condolences.

                 

                Internet On The Moon

                Not only are we now in an age where you can get internet on the moon via a giant laser, this leap in innovation will have important applications. The new means of transmitting data is much faster than our current ways of communicating in space. This means our weather monitoring, storm prediction, and wild fire data will soon reach us much quicker, and be much more advanced. At the very least, giant moon lasers should help you feel better.

                 

                333 People In A Row Pay It Forward

                When you’re feeling down, remember that at a Florida Starbucks, 333 customers in a row paid for a stranger’s coffee. The chain of generosity started when one customer in the Drive-Thru opted to pay their bill, as well as the car’s behind them. The next car received their order for free, so decided to pay for the car behind theirs too. The kindness continued for around nine hours, all between total strangers. No word yet on how the 334th person managed to miss the memo. 

                 

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                The World’s Smoothest Goat

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                  A little proof we can ride out our mistakes.

                   

                  #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies

                  No matter how bad things get, it’s an instant mood boost to see unconditional love. Despite conflicts in the Middle East, Jews and Arabs around the world have taken to Twitter to express their love for everyone. The hashtag #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies became popular in July this year, showcasing beautiful sentiments and understanding. Watching others come together during troubling times can turn even the toughest day around.

                   

                  Sometimes, The Timing Is Perfect

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                    Even though you’re feeling low now, things in the future might align better.

                     

                    Sometimes, Everything Works Out

                    Despite huge odds, this minor league baseball player’s dad caught his first home run. What is the likelihood the ball would be anywhere near his dad’s side of the field? When feeling down, don’t forget that incredible things do happen.

                     

                    Sometimes, The Stars Do Align

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                    Similarly, don’t forget that lucky breaks do happen.

                     

                    Karma Can Come For The Jerks In Life

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                      When other people have you feeling down, try to remember that what goes around, comes around.

                       

                      Hard Work Pays Off For Formerly Homeless Valedictorian

                      If the challenges you’re facing have you feeling down, don’t forget that your potential is infinite. A high school student in Florida recently showcased this when he overcame homelessness and personal tragedy to graduate top of his class. Not only is he valedictorian, the student gained enough money to attend college debt free through online fund raising efforts. Proof we can all overcome the challenges we face, even if it looks impossible.

                       

                      Selfless People Still Exist

                      When you’re feeling down, it’s easy to paint everything the same negative color. Keep in mind that lovely people just like you are still out there, making the world go round.

                       

                      Selfless Cities Still Exist

                      Last year, tens of thousands of people showed up to make a San Francisco cancer patient’s wish come true. With the help of Batman, the little tyke rescued the city several times over as Batkid. The police, local sports teams and everyday citizens all got involved to make this dream come true. When you’re feeling down, remember that society still has plenty of bright spots.

                      Featured photo credit: fauxto_digit via flickr.com

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                      Alicia Prince

                      A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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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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