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5 Ways Couples Find The Meaning Of True Love By Traveling The World Together

5 Ways Couples Find The Meaning Of True Love By Traveling The World Together

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” – Confucius

There are many couples across the globe that find the meaning of true love by traveling this world. Part of my job is to scan the internet and various sources in order to compile enough information to complete an article. The other day, I came across an article that struck a nerve. It was a compiled list of things you should not do while you are young. One of the points was: do not fall in love and stay in it. These are the years you are supposed to grow as a person, the years you are supposed to explore the Earth. The gist of the article was falling in love will only hold you back. Why turn down that opportunity to experience love with the hopes that you will explore the ends of this Earth? Why can’t you do both?

I (and a lot of other people on this planet) can say from experience that falling in love is a great idea… as long as it is with the right person. You can travel the world and grow as a person, as long as the person that you are with is just as enthusiastic about it as you are. This is what I mean by the right person.

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I have traveled more of this world in the past two years than I could ever fathom seeing in a lifetime. I am not the only one either. Ryan Fontana and Molly Joseph are a couple that sold all their things, packed up their necessities and started their journey together (here’s the proof if you don’t believe me).

You can grow as a couple, in addition to growing as a person, as well as experiencing what this world has to offer with someone to share the memories with you later down the road. When you travel as a couple, you see each other when you are at your most vulnerable. You are seeing them when they are living in the moment, when they are the most exhausted, and the two of you find the meaning of true love along the way.

1.You’ll both be lost before you are found.

When you two start your journey, your starting point is more than likely home. This is a place where you are comfortable and a place where you know your way around. When you travel, you are constantly lost (even with a GPS) and you are both out of your comfort zone. This is when you will see each other in the rawest form, exposed with the true emotion of frustration across your faces. This is a point that you will get to faster if you two are driving in an unfamiliar place. Fighting when lost is completely different from fighting over leaving the toilet seat up or staying out too late. You both need to cooperate and work together in order to get to your destination.

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Once you do though, you both lay in bed and relax. You cool off a bit from whatever mean words you said while wandering around and both agree that some food would be best. Over dinner, the aggravation of the wrong turns shifts into giggles and then laughter. Then it will hit you two. You are in a completely different country. You are far away from home and are actually here. Later down the road, the tales of being lost will become anecdotes that you tell your friends and family. With more and more trips, the two of you will learn how to deal with each other’s actions caused by frustration and it will go smoother. Notice I didn’t say smoothly because you both will still be lost with each country you visit. Trust me.

2.You’ll both be alive and present.

Being in a different country usually makes one present. By that I mean that there are usually no distractions electronics wise, with the exception of a camera and the occasional Wifi hot spots you can pick up. During our travels, we typically just purchase a paper map at the local gas station, relying on that and street signs. Sadly, the world now revolves around what is happening online. We are constantly checking our messages, newsfeeds, and making sure everyone knows what we are doing. Let’s be honest, you are probably reading this on some sort of mobile device. This is just how life at home is now. Being around the world, we usually don’t have enough for hotels, flights, cars, sights, and cell phone plans. Guess which one is mostly likely to be cut off the most important to fund list?

Without that distraction, you are forcing your brains to actually focus on the here and now. Most importantly, you focus on the person you are right next to. You notice the small things they do, the smiles they crack at the random tourists around, the smug look they get when they are pushed in a crowd, and the foreign words that make them giggle. You see them scream when they fly down a rope on a zip line, their face light up when you both walk in an unfamiliar city, and their hand squeeze your hand when you are late for a train. Equally as important, they see you and all of your actions. You both are living and experiencing life together without an electronic extension to your body.

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3.You’ll make memories that will last a lifetime.

With that all being said, you keep these memories close to your heart and soul because you have fully lived them. You both vividly remember the places you were, the people you met, and the things you saw. It will be great when you are both sitting on your porch decades later, reminiscing on what a life you both have lived.

4.You’ll both learn to love.

You both learn how to love, and not just each other on a deeper level, but you also learn which places you love over the places that you liked. You learn which dishes you absolutely fell in love with and want to make when you get home. You both have had countless discussions over meals about which countries (of the ones you’ve visited so far) you two would live in if you won the lottery. Furthermore, you both have a list of which country was the best so far. You both fall in love with the beauty of the world and all it has to offer, in addition to falling deeper in love with each other.

5.You’ll find each other as a source of comfort.

Their familiar face gives you comfort when you are out of your comfort zone, when you don’t understand anything on the menu, when the street signs are on the building instead of on street poles, and you don’t even see letters on the shop signs. Their embrace calms your nerves when you are homesick. The very thought that they will stay at your side with each border you cross, each sea you sail, and everywhere else is a comfort. You learn that this is the kind of love you won’t ever want to give up because it is the truest form.

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Featured photo credit: Follow me to Rome Murad Osmann via flickr.com

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Margielyn Musser

Event And Volunteer Coordinator / World Traveler

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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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