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9 Things You Do Better Than Anyone Else If You Are Highly Emotional

9 Things You Do Better Than Anyone Else If You Are Highly Emotional

Emotion is a personality strength, touted as the “go to” soft skill and is professionally and socially desired. It is not a weakness. Are you emotional? If so, stand tall, thrust your shoulders back, and be proud because your emotional predisposition gives you an advantage at important life skills. You’ll easily relate to these facets of highly emotional people as they describe nine things that you do better than anyone else.

1. You Empathize

Emotion allows us to navigate the unpredictable and often hostile social environment. It facilitates the rational judgement of a certain situation by causing a physical reaction and creating lasting memories. Empathy is at the core of interpreting social encounters. An emotional person finds it easier to place themselves in the shoes of others, to empathize with that person. Truly understanding an opposing point of view requires empathy and conflict resolution is lost without it.

2. You Teach

Effective teachers are emotional. Teaching can be viewed in the traditional classroom sense, or in the informal situational sense. Regardless, communicating concepts effectively are easier done with emotion. Research shows that even mild emotional arousal facilitates learning. An individual who is naturally emotional injects that feeling into their conversation and effortlessly distributes their point of view.

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3. You Connect And Develop Deep Relationships

Emotional people are passionate and understand that a life laced with significance requires deep, healthy relationships. Emotional people prioritize relationships because not only do they give meaning to their own life, but also the lives of others. Shared emotion provides strong roots for a relationship to grow upon.

4. You Form Lasting Memories

Close your eyes, think back to the last funeral you attended. Now attempt to recall yesterday’s breakfast. It comes as no surprise that the funeral was easily pictured. Everything from the smell of the parlor to the clothes of the deceased was brought to light. Why? Emotion has a fundamental evolutionary adaptation.

Emotion causes memories to “stick” because it served us best to remember and learn from emotional experiences in the past. Life, death, food, and love were the only things on the mind of our ancestors. It is no coincidence that they are also the cue to spark an emotional episode. You form lasting memories because you are innately predisposed to be emotional. Emotions serve to highlight experiences and learning often depends on it.

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5. You Are Resilient

The ability to bounce back after a fall is an under-appreciated personality characteristic. Emotional people are more resilient because they are more connected with their “why.” Following a set-back, emotion drives an individual to reflect and respond. Emotion turns an obstacle into a lesson.

6. You Are A Great Storyteller

If you haven’t had the pleasure of listening to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History Series, you are truly missing out. Carlin is a storyteller, and a fantastic one. His narratives describe pivotal events in history. Carlin’s stories are effective at conveying meaning because Carlin injects genuine emotion into the tales he tells. Emotion captivates the listener transporting them from a passive bystander to an active participator. Emotional people are better storytellers because emotion ignites their words with meaning and purpose.

7. You Achieve By Creating

Art that makes you feel is an expression of emotion and is created by an endless intrinsic drive. Creating resides deep within the identity, sharing that same space that your emotional self is found and therefore creativity and emotion are innately linked.

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Devin Westland is a young artist diagnosed with several mental disabilities which require emotion to be self regulated. Art is Devin’s outlet:

“I would have nights where it was so bad I would have to keep my eyes open just to not go insane, because the thoughts I’d seen were so powerful it was almost as if I was inside them… I have learned to deal with these problems a little better, and art truly is a therapy for my brain. It helps release these thoughts onto the canvas, and clears my mind of all the insanity.”

Art, therapy, and emotion are linked for Devin, resulting in art laden with his creativity.

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8. You Prioritize Meaning…

… over materials. Things don’t make a person emotional, memories attached to those things induce emotion. Being emotional means that you cherish and value experience over possessions. Materialistic wealth is shallow and an emotional person considers a meaningful memory priceless.

9. You Lead

Emotion is contagious. Calling others to action requires persuasion. Emotion is the vector to transmit a leader’s enthusiasm to their people on the front line. Emotion also shows decisive conviction. A confident, emotional leader will find that compliance is seamless and unquestioned. Do you think Steve Jobs was emotionally stagnant?

Viewing your emotion as a positive personality trait results in strengthening the characteristics discussed above. Remember, at its  core, emotion causes you to distill more from life making it meaningful and pleasurable.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory 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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