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You’ve Been Tolerating These 20 Stressful Things Too Many times, Even Though You Don’t Feel like You Are

You’ve Been Tolerating These 20 Stressful Things Too Many times, Even Though You Don’t Feel like You Are

We all go through our day-to-day lives tolerating things that stress us out. To make things worse, we have been doing this for so long, that we don’t even notice anymore. Stress is man-made, and we can make changes in our lives to live a more stress-free life, and a happier one at that. Here is a list of 20 things you’ve been tolerating for too long, and some helpful solutions to take away the stress they have been causing.

1. Tolerating comparing yourself to others.

It’s in our nature to look at what others have and compare it to what we have. This causes unneeded stress and can even make you feel like you aren’t as good as the other person. This is simply not true, and the sooner you can stop doing this the better. Instead, compare yourself to you. Look at who you were just a few years ago, and then look at where you are now. Use yourself as both motivation and inspiration to achieve the goals you have set for yourself.

2. Tolerating an unhealthy lifestyle.

It looks as though the healthy kick is here to stay, so jump on it! Being unhealthy leads to a shorter lifespan, and can lead to serious health risks. An unhealthy lifestyle can also cause extreme stress and lowered self confidence. Instead of continuing with an unhealthy lifestyle, take the jump and start now. If you keep waiting to get healthy it will only get harder. Making a serious lifestyle change can be intimidating and challenging, but it’s okay to take small steps and ask for help. As long as you are taking steps forward you are heading in the right direction.

3. Tolerating dwelling on the past.

It’s hard not to think about things that happened in the past, and what you could have done differently. Which is why you haven’t noticed that you have been tolerating this stressful act for far too long. Dwelling on the past can end up holding you back from current experiences. Instead, let go of your past, and stop living there. Focus on the now and the future. These are the things that you still have control over. What’s done is done, and you can’t go back and change it. Learn from your past experiences, but don’t dwell on them.

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4. Tolerating keeping people around who aren’t real friends.

Friends are the ones we turn to in times of joy and trouble. That’s why it’s important to have true friends in your life. At some point you will have to end a friendship because it doesn’t contribute anything to your life anymore. Sometimes we keep people around us for longer than we should. Don’t tolerate people who cause more stress than relief in your life. Instead, get rid of the drama in your circle. Focus on spending more time with those who make you a better person, and who contribute to your life in positive ways. You don’t need a million friends, as long as you have two or three true ones. Keeping only those around that make you happy will rid you of unnecessary stress.

5. Tolerating dishonesty.

Life is too short to put up with anything other than the truth. Knowing someone is being dishonest with you is one of the worst feelings in the world. It’s also important to stop tolerating dishonesty from yourself. Why bother lying to yourself anyways? Instead, tell the truth and only accept the truth from others. It might cause more conflict than telling a lie, but in the end your conscience will be clear. Relieving you from stress you put on yourself. Don’t just accept someones dishonesty either, hold others to your standards as well.

6. Tolerating negativity.

Whether it’s personally, or those around you—do not tolerate negative vibes. Negativity can change your overall mood, ruin experiences and opportunities, and hurt relationships. Instead, stay positive. Easier said than done, right? Wrong. When you start to focus on the positive side of things it becomes more of a normal habit. Forming this habit will help you stop being negative, and get rid of the negativity in your life. This will lead to a happier, less stressful lifestyle.

7. Tolerating not appreciating what you have.

Sometimes we forget to cherish what’s in front of us. We get caught up in what’s going to happen, that we forget to live in the moment. It’s easy to think about how things could be, or how we want things to be. We forget to stop and smell the roses. Instead of always rushing for more, take some time each day to focus on what you have now. When you take time to step back and appreciate everything that’s in your life, it’s a good feeling.

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8. Tolerating being focused on your future for happiness.

Life can be stressful when you are constantly telling yourself that everything will be better tomorrow. You miss out on being happy today when you push that happiness off in hopes of tomorrow. Some days are long and stressful, and we just want them to end. But hoping tomorrow will be better takes so much away from today. Instead, think about what you can do today to make things better. It’s not always an easy fix, but putting it off until tomorrow doesn’t help either. We all strive to be happy, so don’t push making yourself happier off until tomorrow.

9. Tolerating procrastination.

Oh how well some of us know procrastination. Myself included. There’s nothing more stressful than having a deadline come up and not being 100% sure you will make it. Instead of putting things off until the last second, as crazy as it sounds, give yourself more time to accomplish a task. When you procrastinate you tend to set aside a certain amount of time to complete a project. It’s usually the exact amount of time you believe you will need—no more—no less. Old habits die hard, but when you start to give yourself more time, you will start to wonder how you ever though procrastination was a good idea.

10. Tolerating letting your previous failures define you.

Everyone has gone through rejection or failure at one point or another in life. It can be difficult to move forward once that happens. Sometimes you can get stuck and focus too much on your failures, that you forget to look at your success. Instead, don’t let your failures define who you are. Take your failures and really learn from them. Use them as a guide to better yourself, or to succeed in something you once failed at.

11. Tolerating not being true to yourself.

Who knows you better than yourself? No one, so don’t stray from who you are and what you believe in. When you tolerate doing things or acting in ways that aren’t true to you it can cause extreme stress. Instead, when situations arise that could put you in a position to change who you are, don’t follow along. Stand up for who you are and respect yourself. Staying true to yourself will take a world of stress off of you. You won’t have to wonder if what you are doing is right or wrong, because you will already know the answer.

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12. Tolerating holding onto grudges.

It takes a lot of negative energy to hold onto a grudge. A grudge will get you worked up and stressed out before anyone else. You might not always be able to forget an incident, but you have full control over how it affects you. Instead of holding onto a grudge, forgive the feelings you have about the grudge. We can’t always forgive and forget, but we can move on. Move forward in your life and leave that negative energy behind you. You will feel a weight lifted from you, and acceptance is easier to handle than grudge.

13. Tolerating excuses.

But I can’t… Yes you can. When we don’t want to do something or want to get out of a situation we make excuses. What you have stopped noticing is how much stress coming up with an excuse can cause. Instead of coming up with an excuse, just be honest. Say what’s real. Own up to your choices, actions, or feelings and cut out the excuses. You will find that life is so much easier without excuses.

14. Tolerating believing in perfect.

Perfect doesn’t exist. Putting too much emphasis on wanting something or someone to be perfect can not only be stressful, but it can take away from your experiences in life. It’s ok for things not to be perfect, that’s what makes life so beautiful. Instead, accept things for what they are, and people for who they are. You might just find that perfect wasn’t what you were looking for after all.

15. Tolerating self-loathing thoughts.

You are the one who has to live with who you are. Sometimes we aren’t always happy with the choices we have made, or the things we have done. However, putting ourself down only hurts us, and prevents us from moving forward. Instead of allowing yourself to have these kinds of thoughts, focus on the vision of who you are. Focus on the good in yourself, and leave out the negative. Build yourself up instead of putting yourself down.

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16. Tolerating keeping a job you hate.

Waking up every morning and dreading going to work puts unnecessary stress on you. Each and every day. We spend more time at work than anywhere else, so you shouldn’t hate what you do. Instead, figure out something that you truly enjoy doing. Keep searching for a job you can see yourself at until you find one. Times are tight, so you might have to stay at your current job longer than you would like. That should be your driver to find a new job in which you would enjoy.

17. Tolerating being financially uneducated.

Money makes the world go round, and it can make your head spin too. Stressing out about money is one of the top problems that keep people up at night. A lot of the headache with your finances can come from not understanding your situation. Instead of continuing down the same path, get yourself educated. Do some of your own research, get your credit score figured out, talk to a financial planner, do whatever you have to do to get financially educated. Put yourself on a new path.

18. Tolerating empty complaints.

There’s a difference between venting and complaining. Empty complains get absolutely nothing accomplished, and bring out negativity. Complaining about something wont make it better. Instead, do something about it. Take action and change whatever it is you are currently complaining about. Being annoyed won’t get you far, but doing something it will.

19. Tolerating feeling guilty for not being able to complete everything.

We all have enough pressure in our lives as it is. Putting more pressure on yourself because you feel guilty won’t help get things done. Sometimes we commit to too much, and end up making things worse on ourselves. Instead, understand that everyone, even you, has their limits. You can’t possibly be in three places at the same time—and that’s okay! Don’t commit to something that you know is a stretch for you to fit in. Either say no, and maybe suggest who else could be counted on, or ask for help. Either way, don’t feel guilty for only being one person.

20. Tolerating other people’s opinion of you.

How many times have you second guessed something you were wearing or doing or saying, all because you were worried about someone else’s opinion of you? If you are like most people, at some point in your life you probably did this more times than you can remember. Instead of caring so much about other people’s opinion of you, just be you! No second guessing, no overthinking, no changing into something you don’t like- just going with what you feel is right. Take control of your own life and make decisions for yourself.

Featured photo credit: Teenage girl depression – lost love via shutterstock.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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