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10 Ways to Get Over Ourselves

10 Ways to Get Over Ourselves

We take ourselves too seriously. We allow ourselves to get tied up in things that are insignificant in the grand scheme of things. A person cuts us off on the way to work, and it ruins our whole day or the stranger in front of us at the coffee shop grabs the last croissant and we curse them on the way out. We get upset with our partners for not taking out the trash, or let our lazy co-worker get under our skin. But remember, we can’t change anyone but ourselves. We can live a life where other people dictate our feelings, or we can be the ones in control. A person starts to live when they can live outside themselves. So here is a piece of humble pie, let’s eat it and get over ourselves.

1. We need to tell ourselves to get over ourselves.

We need to remind ourselves that it’s not about us. So I suggest you tell yourself, out loud and in the mirror, to get over yourself – over and over. Put a post-it note on your computer at work or leave a reminder on your phone. Just remember, it’s not about you. The more we can remember that, the easier life is.

2. We can think about the size of the Universe.

We are but a speck in the grand scale of space and time, but so often we think that we are larger than life. Think about how enormous the Universe is and the Universe of that Universe, and then think about where you are to put it all into perspective. So, so tiny.

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When they discover the centre of the Universe, a lot of people will be disappointed that they are not it. – Anonymous

Don’t be one of those people. Of course, life is challenging and sometimes our problems seem insurmountable, but with a little selfless thinking we can check ourselves at the door and approach those hurdles realistically.

3. We could make a farting noise with our mouth.

When we get so caught up in our own negativity, sometimes all it takes is just a small trigger to break our state. Try making a farting noise with your mouth the next time you get too much in your own head. The fact that you probably don’t want to do it is even more reason why you should, so you can get over yourself and out of your head.

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4. We really should just dance.

Dancing is good for the soul. The next time your mind starts to run wild, just stop, and dance. Just like number three, it’s about breaking your state of mind.

You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
love like you’ll never be hurt,
sing like there’s nobody listening,
and live like it’s heaven on earth. – William W. Purkey

5. We need to allow ourselves to make mistakes.

We are only humans, and we will always make mistakes. By allowing ourselves to make mistakes and by knowing it’s inevitable, we’ll make it a lot easier on ourselves to do so. There is no failure, only succeeding and learning.

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6. What we focus on is what we get.

We are in control of what we focus on. When we all of a sudden see countless Volkswagons on the road, it’s not because there are so many, it’s because we just purchased one. When we focus on the good stuff, that’s what we’ll see. Perception is projection.

7. We should all just laugh, out loud.

It’s almost impossible to be in a bad mood when laughing. Fake it until you make it. Just turn that frown upside down and make it a happy face. Laughter and play is so important to our emotional well-being. Dr Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute of Play compares play to oxygen and says,

It’s all around us, yet goes mostly unnoticed or unappreciated until it is missing.

8. We need to take deep breaths.

We often forget how grounding and calming our breath can be. When you feel flustered or upset, stop and take three long breaths, inhaling through your mouth and exhaling through the nose. On the last breath, let out a loud sigh to really seal the deal. Remember number four, and sigh like no one is listening.

To learn more about breathing and mindfulness, download this amazing free app that some awesome Australians created – Smiling Mind

9. We can tell someone we love them.

The Beatles said it best – Love is all you need. When we stop making it about us and tell someone we love them, it helps calm us down and get back in touch with what matters most. This crazy thing we call love. The faster we get over ourselves, the faster we can spread love with the world around us.

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10. We should remember that the way we perceive the world is not actually what is.

Our map is not the territory. How we perceive the world is not actually what is. Reminding ourselves that everyone has their own perception of reality gets us thinking more about where we’re coming from, as well as others.

Featured photo credit: Smile even if you don’t want to/Nan Palmero via flickr.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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