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10 Signs You’re Neurotic (And Why It’s Not A Problem)

10 Signs You’re Neurotic (And Why It’s Not A Problem)

1. They’re hyper aware

Being neurotic means you’re constantly aware of everything around you. You pick up on people’s body language and voice inflections, and analyze every word that comes out of their mouth. Because of this, you’re not surprised by ulterior motives or when a person’s true colors show. Ironically, being hyper-aware of everything and everyone around you helps you keep your cool when things go sour.

2. They’re overly self-conscious

Because you’re constantly worried about yourself, you’re more likely to take care of yourself. The student who is scared of failing will spend extra time in the library, leading them to be even more prepared for an exam than they need to be. The person who’s scared of dying of a heart attack in his forties will certainly eat healthier and exercise more often than someone who doesn’t worry about his demise.

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3. They’re self-aware

Neurotic people know they’re neurotic. In fact, they flaunt it at times, saying things like “I know I’m being crazy, but…” While it may be hard to break a neurotic thought or habit, many people go throughout their day with paranoid thoughts running through their head without even realizing it. At least neurotic people are able to recognize it and rationalize it. They might not be able to get past knowing “It’s all in my head,” but at least they can acknowledge it.

4. They’re pessimistically realistic

Neurotic people tend to err on the side of pessimism when it comes to anything in the real world. But this is because they know that good things don’t just “happen,” and that Murphy’s Law exists because there is a better chance of something going wrong along the way than everything going exactly according to plan. The good part about this pessimism is that when things do go right, it’s like Christmas Day for a neurotic individual. Even something as simple as the guy at Dunkin’ Donuts getting your order right and then hitting every green light on the way home from work will be enough to cheer you up. It really is the little things in life that make a difference.

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5. They have a high IQ

A study at SUNY Downstate Medical Centre of 42 individuals showed that those who suffered from anxiety also had a higher IQ on average. The report showed that “high intelligence and worry are linked with brain activity measured by the depletion of the nutrient choline in the white matter of the brain.” High levels of anxiety lead to a mind that is constantly working in some way, which, naturally, leads to higher levels of intelligence. Those that worry too much are actually exercising their brain!

6. They care for others

Neurotic people don’t just worry about themselves, either. They worry and look after their friends, family, and loved ones constantly. They’re always trying to help people through difficult situations and solve other people’s problems. This parental aspect of neurotic people gives them comfort, as it does to those around them as well.

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7. They have high energy levels

Not only are neurotic people always thinking, but they’re always ready for action. They have trouble sitting still, because their mind is always racing. But they also never seem to run out of steam, because they know they could be doing something to better their lives at any given moment.

8. They’re highly productive

Since they can’t sit still, neurotic people might as well be productive. They have many hobbies, and are never content with resting on their laurels. They see every moment as another chance to succeed and do better in life. Because of this attitude, neurotic people often find themselves leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else around them as far as productivity and talent is concerned.

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9. They’re idealistic

Even though most neurotic people are pessimistic, they also work hard to improve their surroundings as well. They understand how good things could be, and will do anything to get there. It’s ironic, but their pessimism drives them to optimize their situation. And while others are thinking things are fine, the neurotic person will constantly be working to make them even better.

10. They avoid bad situations

Obviously, being a worrywart isn’t always a bad thing. Neurotic people avoid dangerous situations. While other people might be tempted to claim “YOLO” as if that’s an excuse to do something stupid, anxious people will be the ones saying “Yeah, you only live once, so don’t mess it up.” Sure, they might never experience the thrill of skydiving, but they’ll almost certainly live a long, healthy life.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm8.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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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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