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10 Amazing Resilience-Building Hacks

10 Amazing Resilience-Building Hacks

Adversity, tragedy, loss, rejection, trauma, stress … living a life free of negatives such as these is entirely impossible. Yet, despite it all, we hear sayings such as ‘life goes on.’ While it may be true that life, itself does indeed go on, most people may not find going through life all that easy. Psychologists have coined the word RESILIENCE to describe the characteristic that creates the fiber, we, as humans have to be able to deal with the curve balls life throws our way and come through to the other side. Resilience-building is growing the elasticity that keeps us bouncing back in the face of adversity and negativity. We can find resilience in disadvantaged young children who survive abusive or neglectful upbringings and still manage to become productive, contributing members of society. We can find it in people who deal with chronic illness or experience severe setbacks. And we see it with elderly people who choose to push beyond the physical components of aging, and work tirelessly to share their life’s knowledge and experience with others and to contribute to society selflessly.

Now that we’ve clearly identified resilience, it is something that many of us would like to develop more of in our lives. Below are ten tried and true ways to do just that.

1. Self Care 101

Nothing can stand strong on a weak foundation. In order to even consider building resilience, we need to first learn and maintain a sound routine of self-care. Exercise and proper nutrition for our physical self-care, find and do things you enjoy for your emotional well-being, and learn to relax, refresh and reinvigorate regularly.

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2. Connect – connect – connect

Build your supports and you build your resilience. We all are faced with times in our lives when being able to bounce things off people who have our best interest at heart and truly want to see us succeed is a sure way to keep us handling the rough spots in our lives and help us get through to the other side.

3. Face adversity squarely

Disappointments, setbacks and other types of adversity are unavoidable. Learning to face it squarely and readjust our outlook toward a brighter tomorrow, helps us break through, stand tall and maybe even look forward to tomorrow being a better day.

4. Live the Serenity Prayer

We can’t move past something we don’t accept. By learning how to determine what we have the ability to change and what is out of our control, we can keep our focus on the things we can positively impact and off spinning our wheels and increasing frustration.

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5. Think Small

We build resilience through developing small successes in our every day lives. Just one tiny step in the right direction routinely, builds momentum. It may not seem like much, but even Mount Everest can only be scaled one step at a time. Small, achievable goals build life times of success and keep us moving forward, even when we hit a bump in the road.

6. Reality Show

Some of the most recent data on stress indicates that what makes it so unhealthy to people is our attempted avoidance of it. When things are not going well, resilient people face it squarely and determine their next move quickly and efficiently, rather than stress and fret over how badly things are going. By getting past it quicker, they have more energy left to actually correct the problem and build resilience.

7. Think Happy Thoughts

Focusing on the things we want helps us achieve them and also distracts us from focusing on things that don’t go the way we want. There is loads of documented proof that positive affirmations and visualization builds success and resilience. If we haven’t yet achieved our goals, by picturing them and focusing our energies on them, we bring them to us that much sooner.

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8. Perspective Means A Lot

By keeping things in their proper perspective, we avoid turning setbacks into insurmountable catastrophes . Keeping a ‘this too shall pass’ perspective in times of trouble, can be just the spoonful of sugar Mary Poppins was talking about that we need to get our medicine down, keep us going and help us to bounce back.

9. Self-Conviction and Confidence

There are very few things that build resilience as well as self-confidence and conviction of purpose. We hit on the perfect combination when we are able to believe in what we are seeking to accomplish and our own ability to get the job done. These two factors work together almost magically, helping to make us pretty much unstoppable. By combining these two factors, we can develop a surplus of resilience that can last for days.

10. Look at the Flip Side

Just like the old 45 RPM records, all life’s adversities have a flip side. For every weakening blow we are dealt, we also are shown a strength we didn’t realize we possessed. Learn to look for the strength that life’s adversities leave in their wake. Was that struggle one that helped strengthen or renew a relationship? Did that hardship help heighten your level of spirituality or appreciation for life? Find the positives that exist in the flipside of the hurdle and you’ll grow your levels of resilience beyond your wildest dreams.

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Resilience is not something we get and use up. Resilience is our emotional elasticity that we need in order to handle whatever life throws at us. And working to build it up is a life-long project. Start building your resilience today for more success, a stronger you, and someone who can keep standing even in the face of adversity.

Featured photo credit: Girl Standing in field of flowers at sunset via stokpic.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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