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8 Things That Happen When I Put Down My Phone

8 Things That Happen When I Put Down My Phone

Look around you. If you’re in any type of social setting whatsoever, the chances are that a majority of the people you see are using their phones.

Everywhere you look these days, everyone is on their phones. Whether you’re at work, at a restaurant, at a baseball game, or even sitting in traffic!

We’ve become immune to the social customs of our lives pre-cell-phone era. These were the glory days, where we weren’t glued to our “smart” phones. It seems like a lifetime past. Now, we’re enslaved to our little pocket-sized devices, and it’s taking away a lot of joy in our lives.

I know firsthand how tough it can be to set down your phone, but I urge you to try. Sometimes, when I get over the addiction to texting, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Googling all sorts of random things on my phone, I actually realize a lot of good things happening.

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Here are 8 things that typically occur whenever I do put my phone down.

1. I Become More Productive

When I’m not wasting time away looking at random pictures, videos, statuses, updates, and blurbs about nothing, I actually get a lot of work done. As an entrepreneur, I spin a lot of plates at the same time and try my best to do as much as possible. Whether writing a blog like this, networking online, running my podcast, or working on my next project, there’s always something productive that I could be doing. However, I always seem to get caught up in fiddling around on my phone, and I find that less work gets done. When I put the phone down though (far away from me), my output skyrockets!

2. I Become More Social

I often have a little rule about phones when it comes to being with a friend: “Don’t use them!” When you’re with someone, especially say on a date, or in another situation where you are trying to get to know someone better, using your phone is perhaps the biggest insult to the interaction you could make. It totally takes the social aspect and connection out of the attempt at connecting!

I don’t usually do this, but every once in a while I’ll forget my own rule and I’ll look through an email or a text for a minute or two. However, when I realize what I’m doing, I’ll apologize to whoever I’m with and put my phone down. When I do so, I become much more social and much more engaging.

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3. I Am Less Stressed

When I put my phone down, it seems to release a bit of stress and anxiety built up within me. I no longer worry about emailing back someone who’s just emailed me, I don’t worry about texting someone, and I don’t worry about being rude if I’m with a friend. As great as cell phones are, they also are the root cause of a lot of stress. When you put them down you’ll realize this too.

4. I Live In The Moment

Along the same lines of being less stressed, comes living in the moment. When you put your phone away, you take in the world and see more clearly. You don’t think about the future, like what your response is going to be, what you should say in your email, how to word a text, what you should be posting, etc. Instead, you live in the now, in the present and beautiful moment!

5. I Live In Reality, Not In A Virtual World

As great as technology is, and it is pretty awesome, it does have its downsides. One of those downsides is living your life through a screen. This is a virtual simulation, and not truly the world you’re supposed to live in. We are not computers, we are humans! Technology is great, but technology can only mimic certain things. It can’t give you the real thing!

When I put my phone down, I get the real thing. I get all of life, with all of its awesome idiosyncrasies, imperfections, beauties, wonders, tastes, smells, textures, and everything else! I’d choose real sex over porn any day of the week. I’d choose traveling somewhere over looking at a picture. I’d choose a real friendship over a Facebook friendship! All of these things actually happen when I put my phone down and step back into reality!

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6. My Relationships Are Better With Others

My relationships with others are always better when the phone is away. As I mentioned earlier, I try to stick with my rule of not being on the phone when I’m with a friend. It just takes away from the interaction, and can be disrespectful if someone feels slighted or ignored.

When the phone goes down, the level of communication goes up. Friends, family, girlfriend — all love interacting with me when my phone is away. Surprisingly, our relationships are more the better because of this.

7. I Feel More Empowered

When I break the chains of phone enslavement, I feel more empowered. I feel like I am taking control of my life and actively deciding the way I choose to live. If I allow every distraction from my Android to get the better of my attention, I feel less in control. When I take hold of my focus; however, and actively decide to put away the disruptions, I feel great!

8. I Am Happier

I am infinitely happier with the way I handle my phone proclivities these days. I feel like I know when to use my phone and when to let it rest. My social, mental, and occupational lives have all benefitted from my ability to put down my phone. I am definitely happier and content each and every time my phone shuts off.

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I know it’s tough. I know it’s hard. But try putting down your phone today, and just see what happens. You’ll probably realize that life is so much more enjoyable when you actually truly experience it!

Featured photo credit: Johan Larsson via flickr.com

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Justin Stenstrom

Nationally-Acclaimed Life Coach

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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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