How to Quiet Your Monkey Mind

Do you constantly feel like you have a voice in your head (feeding you negative thoughts!)? Well the good news is that this doesn’t make you crazy, it’s actually built into our DNA to have this pesky sidekick living alongside us. This mostly unwanted friend is often referred to as our “Monkey Mind” and like any monkey – it needs to be properly tamed. If the monkey mind is not properly tamed and we attach ourselves to it, that’s when serious problems begin to arise in our lives.

Here are 6 ways that you can quiet your monkey mind and start living more in the moment…

1. Recognize that it’s there

The minute you begin to notice the thoughts arising from the monkey mind and detach yourself from them, that’s when it will begin to disappear. The monkey needs to know that you are paying attention and believing its thoughts. Starve the monkey by not paying attention to them – even laugh at them (this shouldn’t be hard because many are outrageous if you really stop to think about them).


2. Start journaling

Take notes on what the monkey mind is trying to tell you. Whether it’s a physical notebook or on your phone, begin to document what the monkey mind is saying and when it’s saying it. You should start to notice two patterns in – 1. What it’s saying 2. When it’s saying it (i.e. When you’re all alone). Both of these are equally important and will help you silence it over time. Additionally, take the time to write down what you are grateful for in your life (see #5) – I recommend starting each day with a 10 minute gratitude practice. 


3. Accept your past

The monkey mind loves bringing up the past over and over again. It likes to tell you that because something went wrong that ONE TIME, that it’s going to always happen. This is a lie that the monkey mind feeds off of and is something that will bring you down to its level. Take the time to accept that your past happened (the good and the bad) and know that it has little to no bearing on the present (and future).


4. Focus on your breathing

When you start to notice negative thoughts from the monkey mind intruding on your brain, divert those thoughts by instead focusing on your breathing. Take deep belly breathes in from your nose and out your mouth until those thoughts run away. If you want to take this to the next level or have never been “taught” breathing techniques, I recommend exploring yoga – you’ll begin to understand and control your breathe (along with many other benefits). 


5. Practice gratitude

By taking the time to think through what you are grateful for in life your monkey mind’s negative thoughts are not able to creep in. Gratitude focuses on the positive aspects of your life, which begins to rewire your brain to think more positively over time. Take 10 minutes at the start of every morning (wake up early if you say you don’t have the time) and write down 3 things that you are grateful for. That’s all. You’ll start to see the benefits on your attitude for the day almost immediately. 


6. Meditate 

Probably the #1 way to calm the chatter of the monkey mind is to start meditating daily. By practicing meditation, you’re telling your mind to be still – only accepting thoughts when you ask for them to come in and join. You can use this skill to counteract a negative monkey mind thought as it comes in. 

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Do These Things Instead of Playing Devil’s Advocate

We’re all likely guilty of playing the counter-side to other people’s big ideas, most often referred to as “playing devil’s advocate”. We think we are helping our friends by telling them all of the reasons why their idea / plan is wrong and how it won’t work. But we are actually becoming a barrier to them reaching their dreams.

Instead of playing devil’s advocate, here are 6 things you can do to actually help them:

1. Encourage them

It sounds so simple, but just being there to encourage them can have lasting benefits. Trust me, their mind is there to think through the negatives, they likely don’t need any help with that (as I’m sure we can relate to with our own mind).

2. Offer help

Whether it’s providing an introduction to a contact of yours, or maybe there is a way to physically help them with their big idea – just offer to help. Knowing that they have you in their support system is a invaluable as they look to achieve their goals.

3. Be a sounding board

Just listen. More likely than not they haven’t fully thought through there ideas when they bring them up to discuss with you. Instead of telling them all of the ways that their idea won’t work, just let them talk it through. They’ll bring up the negatives along the way, help them think through those – here is where it’s ok to talk through the negatives (only if they bring them up). 


4. Dream with them

Help them think through what success could look like. As you both paint the picture of the future, they will start to see all angles of what an outcome may look like. This is far more encouraging than hampering on all of the negatives.


5. Share YOUR big ideas

Having them know that you also have some far reaching goals is a great way to bond and help each other achieve success. Creating this “safe space” where you can both dream and talk through ideas together will prove to be invaluable throughout both of your journeys.

6. Follow up

Check in from time to time on their goals. This will create accountability as well as foster a relationship of encouragement between you both. Hopefully they’ll return the favor and follow up with you as you’ve also gone ahead and shared your goals (#5 above).



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6 Ways To Stay Positive When Life Gets Hard

Sometimes life is hard. Whether it’s dealing with family issues, a tough work situation, or any other of life’s little challenges – we all face difficulties. Just because you are going through a difficult moment in your life, that doesn’t mean you still can’t maintain your positive outlook – it just means you need to try a little harder and have it top of mind. Here are 6 ways to stay positive when life gets tough.


1. Talk it out

Find someone you trust and talk through your worries. We tend to bottle things up and only see things from our own perspective. By talking it through with a friend or family member you can gain a new perspective and hopefully put you back in a positive direction.


2. Listen to music

Putting on music that you know you’ll enjoy is a simple hack to get yourself out of your own head and into a positive mindset. Instead of focusing on the potential negative outcomes, you’ll have endorphins flowing through your body and settling you into positivity.


3. Show gratitude

Write down 3 things that you are grateful for every morning before you start your day. After a few days (maybe sooner) you’ll realize all of the positive aspects of your life. Once in a positive mindset, you’ll be better primed to tackle your current life challenges. 


4. Fear set

Fear-setting, a technique often attributed to Stoic philosophy, has you think through all of the possible “bad scenarios” that could come as a result of your challenges. By doing this, you’ll realize that the worst case really isn’t that bad at all. This will also help you face the challenges head on and be more prepared for different scenarios as they arise. 


5. Accept what you can’t change

Radical acceptance is a practice of accepting the things that you can’t change, even if you don’t agree with them. By doing so, you’ll hack your mind to stop thinking about those things in a negative light – thus not feeding your brain with an infinite negative feedback loop!


6. Control what you can

Don’t waste your time worrying about the things that you can’t control, instead take that energy and put it into the areas that you can control. Being proactive as you face life’s challenges will put you into a positive mindset and guide you away from the feeling of helplessness – something we feel when life’s difficulties overwhelm us.

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7 Ways to Better Deal With Change

Change, well it’s inevitable in life. In fact, it’s one of the most constant things that we can count on happening in our day to day lives. Most people fear change and not only that, worry about it before it even happens. Instead of worrying about change, here are 7 ways to better deal with it and come out on the positive side:


1. Acknowledge the change

Simply acknowledging that a change is happening in your life is much better than constantly fighting it. Denial may make you feel good for a short period of time, but the change is inevitable and will make for a much larger problem when you are forced to address it.


2. Eat healthy

Change often leads to stress – which then can lead to stress eating. Normally when we stress eat it’s not healthy foods, but instead heavy carbs and sugars, which only make us feel good for a short period of time. Try and eat healthy in order to keep your mind and body feeling good throughout the change.


3. Find the positive

Our instinct is to find all of the problems with an ensuing change, but there are likely positive attributes if we go looking for them. The old adage “when one door closes, another opens” has held true for centuries!


4. Be proactive

We feel helpless when we are in a “reactive” state, it almost feels like things are out of our control. But if we can take a “proactive” approach to change, we’ll feel in charge and ready to deal!


5. Get out of your head

Our brains love running through scenarios about all of the bad that could happen with change. Take time to get out of your head and take a step back from the situation. A great way to do this is through daily meditation (try MeditateBot – free).


6. Remember your past successes

This isn’t the first time that you’ve dealt with change in your life – so think back to those big changes that you’ve already gone through and how much stronger you are on the other end of them.


7. Find the humor

Laughter has been shown to help many of life’s little ailments, and change is no different. You know what makes you laugh (a funny video, book, movie, etc.) so take the time to have a good laugh. Once you are back in that happy mood, then you can take that positive energy and inject it into dealing with the change at hand.

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5 Reasons to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others


We almost all suffer from the trap of comparing ourselves to those who appear to “have it better” than us – whether it’s a good friend, family member, or some random person you follow on Instagram – the temptation to compare is always there. To make matters worse, sometimes we even reach their level of success (or whatever it is we are comparing ourselves to) and quickly “level up” to the next person that has it better.

One of the biggest problems with comparing ourselves to others is that we are looking at their life “highlights” on social media to our own entire life details – truthfully, that’s not a fair comparison. Here are 5 reasons why you shouldn’t compare yourself to others…but only compare to your previous self (that’s where the true value is!).



1. It won’t stop

You keep telling yourself that once you reach where your friend is at then you’ll be happy. But once you get there, you soon realize there are people above them that have it even better – and you naturally want that. This vicious cycle will continue for the rest of your life. Yes, it sounds crazy reading it, but you will easily fall into the comparison trap over and over again. Best to stop it now.


2. It distracts you

Instead of putting all of your focus into improving your own life, you are indulging yourself in looking at what someone else is doing (with out all of the details). Take all of the time you normally spend envying others and put it directly into your own life goals. You’ll surprise yourself with what you are able to accomplish.


3. It’s a buzz kill

By comparing yourself to someone else you are inherently going to find what is wrong with you, but right with them. What a terrible way to live life. If there is a quality of a friend or family that you admire and would like to see in yourself, that’s fine, but only if you are going to put in the effort to get there.


4. You don’t know the details

So you are comparing yourself to a friend from college who seems to have climbed the corporate ladder to the top – and you can’t help but feel inadequate because they have achieved more “success” than you in the same amount of time. You just see the end result though – what you don’t see is the 100+ hour work weeks, relationship failures, and the physical toll that his body has taken from eating poorly and not working out to get there. It’s not fair to yourself to compare one aspect of someone else’s life to yours – who knows, they may be envious of the wonderful family you have built or that you are in great physical shape.


5. It puts YOU against THEM

Comparison has an uncanny way of leading to jealousy – one of the worst traits in my opinion. When you are jealous of someone else it’s difficult to be happy for them when they reach their own goals. If you can’t be happy for a friend when they are happy…well, what kind of friend are you!?


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7 Reasons Why You Should Practice Gratitude Daily

It’s easy to always think about the things that we DON’T have in our lives (just scrolling your Instagram feed may bring up those thoughts), but taking the time to be grateful for the amazing things we DO have presents a world of benefits to our well-being. Expressing gratitude helps you see things that you may take for granted in a new light. Try making a gratitude list in your phone’s notes section (or anywhere else that works) and write 3 things that you are grateful for daily – it’s a simple, yet extremely effective practice.

Here are 7 reasons why you should practice gratitude in your daily life:


1. It makes you happier

Studies have shown that writing down what you are grateful for daily presents a boost in your overall happiness. Who doesn’t want to be happier?


2. It reduces your inner fears

It’s extremely hard to be both grateful AND fearful at the same time. Often fear presents itself when we are thinking about things that are entirely out of our control (“the scary unknown”). When instead you are seeking gratitude, you’ll be comforted in the abundance of love and comfort that you have in your life.


3. It’s reciprocal

Expressing gratitude to a friend or family member has been shown as a way to “pay it forward”. Whether they are returning the grateful act to you, or someone else, either way they are putting positivity back into the universe.


4. It strengthens your positive emotions

Gratitude reduces the feeling of “I’m not enough” and instead lets us experience positive and warming emotions. Over time, the brain’s wiring for positivity can strengthen and reduce those negative emotions.


5. It makes you more optimistic

By being grateful, you are looking at the positive aspects of your life (i.e. optimism). Positive and optimistic people are the ones that reach their goals and make a life worth living. Be grateful -> Feel optimistic -> Reach your goals! Simple.


6. It increases your self-esteem

Studies have shown that grateful people are more welcoming and kind – this often leads to their friends being more willing to help them and more appreciative of them in general. Knowing that you have a strong circle of friends and family is one of the quickest ways to boost your self-esteem.


7. It improves your sleep

Having your mind running through your fears when it’s time to fall asleep is one of the most frustrating things out there! By spending time before you go to bed to think through all of the things that you are grateful for, you can inflict your relaxation response and help guide you to sleep.

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7 Ways to Control Your Ego


You want to know the most common thing that gets in the way of reaching your personal success!? The answer is your ego. Your ego is responsible for seeking approval of others and what they may think if you fail. Your ego is there to constantly tell you what is lacking. Simply, the ego is not your friend.

Here are my 7 ways to control your ego and stop it from stopping you from reaching your goals!


1. Embrace “beginner’s mind”

When you start anything with a beginner’s mind in place you have no real expectations of what might happen. Starting something fresh, each day you’ll learn more and more and it will be impossible for the ego to rear its ugly head and tell you that you don’t know what you are doing (because you know you are just a beginner and learning a little each day).



2. Control only what you can

Most things in life we can’t control –  you can’t control what other people will think about what you are doing or how much someone else has (jealousy). In fact, the ego loves to “try” to control these uncontrollable things – don’t waste your time. But the good news is that you can control things like your effort, how much time you commit to a goal – focus your power on those!



3. Get started

The quickest way to stop the ego from telling you that you can’t do something, is to get started and prove it wrong. Just sitting around and thinking is the perfect environment for the ego to rear its head. On the flip side, getting started and taking action makes it incredibly difficult for the ego to chime in.



4. Focus on the now

Our ego is all about the past and the future. It thrives on bringing up the past and telling you how you couldn’t do something before (so how can you do it now) and the future reactions of your friends and family talking about you negatively. Where it can’t live is the present moment. The present moment is the only thing that is real in our lives, focus your efforts there and you’ll be amazed at the successes you can achieve.



5. Stop storytelling

We love to get caught up in our story and how it may pan out. The problem is, it never turns out that way we imagine – which causes frustration. It’s ok to have end goals in mind, but the journey on getting there may look very different than how you imagine it. By focusing on the present moment, and not your story, you’ll be more primed to reach your goals.


6. Don’t compare yourself

This is one of the hardest things to do, I know. But the ego thrives on looking at what other people have and telling you what you don’t have, making you feel inferior. One of the biggest issues with comparing to other people is that we tend to compare only one aspect of someone’s life to our entire life. We look at our rich friend and are jealous of what he has, but don’t spend the time thinking about his problems – trust me, he has them. So instead of spending your time and energy focused on others, put the effort into yourself. If you want to compare yourself to anyone, make that person your previous self – so you can learn and grow.



7. Define your purpose

Once you are able to identify your true purpose in life, the ego starts to fade away into the background. That’s because you have a north star you are focusing on and you know that hurdles will always pop up on your way there. You don’t let them get to you down and you certainly don’t care what other people think about your path to fulfill your purpose. Live your purpose, eliminate your ego.



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Common Traits of Elite Performers

It’s always great to see the elite performers of the world reach their goals. Whether it’s an athlete finally winning the championship or an entrepreneur building their dreams – it’s fascinating to see the end result of hard work. If we look closely at these successful people, we can find the bread crumbs that they left behind and replicate their success. After studying elite performers across various disciplines, below are the 5 traits that all seem to have in common.


They find failure to be tolerable

Elite performers know that the only way to accomplish anything in life, you need to first try. In doing so, you are bound to fail at some of your endeavors. But after each failure, you get closer and closer to what success looks like. Think about a tennis player here, say Rafael Nadal…at the time of this article he’s LOST 195 matches. BUT he’s won 81 titles. He knows that after each loss he can learn from his mistakes and work to improve them in his next match.


They are obsessed with attention to detail

Have you ever gone to an amazing restaurant and thought to yourself just WOW. Everything hit the spot – from the food to the service to the decor to the vibe. That’s because the restauranteur had an obsession with the details. What goes on behind the scenes is the hard work and caring about every aspect of the restaurant. I’ve even found myself commenting on how clean the bathrooms were after a great night out to dinner. Details matter!

They constantly deliver value

Steve Jobs comes to mind here and his unique ability to always be delivering value to his millions of customers time and time again. He knew that his customers were the most important critiques of his work and made sure that what he launched was always the best. He wasn’t always the first to launch something, but he made sure it was always the best.

They are relentless in their goals

Staying with a singular mission and not stopping until they reach it is something all elite performers possess. This is particularly obvious with high performing athletes. Most have been playing their sports since they were little kids and continue to pursue perfection to this day. I can just picture Lebron James as a 10 year old shooting free throw after free throw into the late hours of the night.


They are passionate

Passion is what inspires others to support you and your mission. Elite performers know that it takes a team of people around them to do big things. Whether it’s the support of their loved ones, or their employees, passion for a mission is something that sets elite performers apart from the crowd.

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Simple Tricks to Boost Your Mood

It happens to everyone every once and a while – you wake up just feeling off or not yourself. This doesn’t mean the rest of your day has to be doomed because you woke up on a bad note and there are certainly simple things you can do to boost your mood quickly.

Below lists simple tricks to boost your mood:

Get some sun

Not getting enough sunlight on a day-to-day basis is a huge risk factor for depression. Sun is also what helps to keep us alert and awake which is why a mid-day stroll outside can be beneficial for preventing an afternoon slump.


Have you heard of SAD or seasonal affective disorder? It literally means depression due to lack of sunlight. I saw SAD all of the time when I was practicing in New York City, most notably during the long winter months. 


Meditating or just deep breathing helps to focus your brain on the present, and prevents your mind from wandering into the future or the past. Being fully present and being aware of the here and now is a great way to calm stress hormones and make you feel more relaxed.

Get some exercise

Exercise boosts feel good hormones and decreases stress hormones, making you feel happier almost instantly. You don’t even have to exercise that long to get the effects, just 10 minutes is beneficial.

Exercising by yourself is great, but studies have found that exercising with friends or a group may lead to an even greater mood boost. This is a good reason to try a new fitness class at your gym.

Write down things you are grateful for

Sometimes when you are feeling down it is easy to think about all the negatives that are going on in your life, no matter how small they are. So be proactive and instead write down or think about all of the good things you have going on in your life.

Call a friend or family member

The positive human interaction is a guaranteed way to boost your mood. So give your best friend or your mom a call and chat for a few minutes. Actually speaking to someone is much more beneficial then chatting via text.

Listen to music

First of all, what is mood boosting music? Mood boosting music is any music that makes you want to sing along to or move your body. Listening to your favorite tunes can put you in a good mood instantly.

Eat healthy

Be sure to eat healthy and consistently throughout the day when you aren’t feeling your best. Make your favorite healthy meal or even order healthy take-out. Eating healthy foods makes you feel like you are doing something good for yourself, and keeps your energy levels constant.

Main take aways…

Use one or more of the tips above to boost your mood quickly!

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How to Build Your Creative Mind

Do you ever look at the world’s creative minds and think to yourself – “I wish I was like that!”? While innate talent is important, fostering an environment to allow for creativity to flow through you is almost equally important. 

Here are the top ways to help you become more creative in your daily life:


1. Enable your “beginner’s mind”

Oddly enough, you actually have an advantage over the experts – you see, experts are often set in their ways and can only see a narrow view of what’s in front of them. A beginner on the other hand is able to see the challenge with a fresh set of eyes.


2. Give yourself free time

It’s impossible to be creative when you are caught up running from task to task. Whether it’s letting your mind run free when you are in the shower, or setting aside time of the day to just “have a think”, you must give yourself the environment to let the creative juices flow!


3. Write down your ideas

We all come up with ideas then almost instantly forget them. To keep fostering our creativity, we should have a designated space (notes section, journal, etc.) where we log our ideas. Side note: I like to put a date next to my ideas so I can have some context when I revisit them years later. 


4. Be eclectic

Some of the best creative ideas come from cross-pollinating ideas between two (or more) disciplines. Being eclectic in your life and exploring many different areas is one of the quickest ways to creativity!

5. Solve your own problems

Try finding solutions to your own problems, then share them with the world. If you’ve conquered your own problems, odds are that someone else could use your solution to help them. This can come in the form of a blog post, book, etc. Share with the world!

6. Take the next step

Ideas are great, but execution is everything! If you are only constantly coming up with ideas, but never doing anything about them, then your brain may get burned out and feel that they are being wasted. Pick your best idea and start putting it into action!

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Top Factors Causing Stress To Buildup In Your Body

Too much stress flowing your body can be damaging for both your mental health, as well as your body itself. Chronic stress can lead too many negative consequences, including:

  • Muscle breakdown
  • Fat gain
  • Hormonal abnormalities
  • Anxiety and depression

There are many different things that can cause stress without you even realizing it. Below lists some of the top factors that can cause excessive stress to buildup in your body:

1. Endurance training

Endurance training can lead to elevated stress within the body because it is stressful on the muscles, joints, ligaments, and other tissues. The prime example of endurance training is long distance running. Individuals who are long distance runners tend to have a hard time keeping muscle because endurance training breaks down muscle, it does not build muscle.

Fix it:

Instead of long workouts such as jogging or using the elliptical, add short high intensity intervals to your workout and cut your workout time in half.

2. Worrying

Worrying is one of the worst things you can do to yourself. What good does worrying do?? It literally has no value. Worrying about the past is consistent with depression, while worrying about the future is consistent with anxiety, and neither of these are things you can control. Constant worrying leads to greater mental stress as well as greater stress hormone to buildup within the body.

Fix it:

It is ok to be aware that you are concerned about something, acknowledge the awareness, write it down, and move on. Live in the present, consider trying meditation to help decrease mental stress.

3. Undernutrition

Under nutrition means not consuming enough vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients from your diet. If your body is not getting the vitamins and essential nutrients it needs, this can put the body into a stressful state. This type of situation can happen both if you are not eating enough and if you are eating enough but not enough of the right foods. 

Fix it:

Plan to space out your meals 3-5 hours and eat plenty of healthy fat, protein, and vegetables. Keeps healthy snacks with you at all times in case you get hungry – this will prevent you from snacking on food from the vending machine or eating the donuts that were left in your office.

4. Too much high intensity training

This means high intensity interval training every single day. High intensity interval training is the most effective workout, but it should not be done every day because this is intense exercise and too much intensity can cause elevated stress.

Fix it:

Aim to get 1-3 really good high intensity interval training sessions in per week. You don’t have to fully stop exercising, just cut back on the intensity. You can even still do intervals, just make sure that you aren’t sprinting everyday 🙂

5. Poor sleep

We write about the importance of sleep all the time because it is so important! Sleep is when all of your hormones are able to reset so that they are able to function properly the following day. If you are not sleeping, this makes your hormones go haywire and increases stress hormones in particular. 

Fix it:

Make sleep a priority and aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Determine what time you need to wake-up in the morning, and count back 7-9 hours to determine what time you need to go to sleep.

6. Too much sugar

Consuming too much sugar causes highs and lows in blood sugar, which is stressful on the mind and body. If you are constantly putting your body through this blood sugar roller coaster, this leads to chronic stress buildup in your body – and you can feel it! Think about when you get so hungry you feel irritable and anxious, also known as “hangry.” This is a clear sign your body is telling you that you have done something to upset its natural cadence.

Fix it:

Aim to get less than 25 grams of sugar per day. Instead, eat more high quality fats and protein, and add vegetables to every meal.

Main takeaways…

Too much stress in the body is highly inflammatory and is a risk factor for mental and physical disease. Keep your stress in check and make sure you are limiting the above.

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Tips To Make The Best First Impression Every Time

First impressions are very important because they can be very hard to shake – especially a negative first impression. First impressions are also often based solely on non-verbal cues rather than what is actually said.

Be sure to make the best first impression every time you meet someone new by reading the following tips:

Make eye contact, but don’t stare!

Eye contact is super important because if you are looking down or looking away this sends the message that you are not particularly interested in what the other person is saying.

Avoid crossing limbs

Crossing your arms, hands, or legs comes off as being guarded and stand-offish because you are literally blocking your body from others. Be sure to keep arms at your sides and avoid crossing your legs.

Stand up straight

Standing up straight shows confidence, while slouching is associated with insecurity. Be sure to keep your shoulders back and your back straight.

Smile with your eyes

Did you know that smiling with your eyes is just as important as smiling with your lips? A fake smile is easily detected when the eyes are not engaged so don’t forget to use them!

Work on your handshake

I’m not sure which is worse, a flat handshake or a painful handshake – try to avoid both! A firm but not too hard handshake shows confidence and that you are engaged in meeting the new person.

Lean in

Leaning slightly forward while someone is speaking to you is your body’s way of showing you are interested and engaged. The opposite is true when you lean back.

Be positive

When you first meet someone, try not to complain. Even just complaining about the weather comes off as negative and can make others associated negativity with you. It’s a good idea to be positive whenever possible, but especially important when you are first meeting someone.

Main takeaways…

Use the above tips to make the best first impression every time, whether it be at a job interview or at a party.

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