Advertising
Advertising

Why You Should Make Happiness a Daily Habit

Why You Should Make Happiness a Daily Habit

How important is happiness? The quest for happiness is plot for novels, poems, music, movies and other works of fiction. Happiness also shows up in the German and U.K. National Anthems. It forms part of the American Declaration of Independence, is a popular Chinese Symbol, and appears in speeches at weddings and birthdays worldwide. Happiness is important. Is happiness important to you? Your happiness is something you should be thinking of right now.  Here are 10 compelling reasons why.

1. Because life’s too short to waste on things that don’t matter. 

Life coach Cheryl Richardson, in her book Take Time for your Life, described the fire that gutted her office early in her career. “In an instant, life as you know it can disappear forever.” She relates how fire, like a natural disaster, “puts you in touch with how valuable every moment really is.”  Don’t wait for loss or disaster before you begin doing the things that bring meaning to your life.

2. Because if you don’t, you will regret it.

Young adults dream of high adventure but have no means to pursue it. Those in early middle age have the means but no time.  Retirees have all the time and the means but health issues limit mobility. Now is the right time to begin living your dreams. Pick more daisies now if you’re moved to do so, and keep regret out of your life.

Advertising

3. Because you are 50% percent less likely to get ill when you’re happy.

In a study of more than 3,000 older adults by the University College London, findings showed unhappy people are twice as likely to have health problems than those who enjoy life and choose to be physically active. A Harvard School of Public Health study of 6,000 individuals, aged 25 to 74, similarly showed that a sense of enthusiasm and hopefulness appears to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

4. Because when you’re happy, life transitions become a walk in the park.

Your life coping mechanisms matter a lot during transitions like starting college, getting married or working in a foreign country. Transitions become difficult for people who cling to what’s familiar and therefore view anything that’s different – the weather, the food, the culture, their relationships – as unsatisfactory. Happiness makes you open to new things and to different ways of getting things done.

5. Because happiness helps you recover sooner from life’s disappointments.

Happy individuals accept disappointments as part of life but always expect more good things to come their way. Why? Because they do not dwell on their failure. They look for the lessons and the silver lining, and then move on and apply those lessons.

Advertising

6. Because happiness creates a harmonious home life.

An upbeat mood reflects your positive outlook. Your spouse/partner and children are more relaxed and cheerful around you.  Simply by being pleasant to them, you acknowledge their contributions to your life. They feel appreciated.

7. Because a happy person gets work done faster and smoother.

Your optimism rubs off on your work team. Your colleagues communicate easily with you. They are glad to be on your team and are motivated to perform well. Your relations with superiors and other stakeholders are pleasant and work decisions come easier.  Happiness is the oil that smoothes human relations.

8. Because no one else can do it for you.

At the height of being in love, couples promise to make each other happy.  The feeling is real and the intent is honest and genuine, but holding another person responsible for your happiness is setting you both up for failure.  The good news is YOU map your own happiness. When you take charge of your happiness, no one can rain your parade.

Advertising

9. Because your quest will take you to incredible experiences of personal growth. 

Finding your happiness is learning about yourself and discovering what life’s about. Beyond the limits of your comfort zone is where meaningful growth happens. When you expose yourself to a range of experiences, you gain  knowledge, cultivate interests, develop skills, and make new friends. If a crisis happens in one area of your life, growth in other areas of your life works as a buffer.

10. Because being a zombie is no fun.

Some people live their lives by default. They go through their days in auto mode, not noticing much and contributing even less.  Almost numb, they’ve become like zombies jerking involuntarily and grunting incoherently in a black-and-white world. Where’s the fun in that?

To be fully alive is a gift to be grabbed. Happiness makes life a vividly colorful journey and YOU hold the steering wheel. Start  the engine.

Advertising

Featured photo credit: Fedori Nataliia via flckr

More by this author

Improve Life Quality Now by Enjoying Your Sundays 10 Signs Your Traveling Experiences Have Made You a Better Person 8 Simple Gentlemen Gestures to impress a Lovely Lady Is What You’re Wearing Too Revealing? You Won’t Die if You Don’t Buy. Here’s Why.

Trending in Communication

1 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 2 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake 3 7 Science-Backed Books About Spirituality That Will Change Your Life 4 20 Things Life Is Too Short to Worry About 5 How to Find Inner Peace and Lasting Happiness

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