Advertising
Advertising

Little Things Likeable People Do To Hold Back Their Temper

Little Things Likeable People Do To Hold Back Their Temper
“STOP IT!” 
“How many times have I told you ..?”
“Stop doing..”
“Why can’t you…”
“Why do I have…”
“Don’t do ..”
This used to be my limited vocabulary at home a few years ago! In those days, I would yell at the drop of a hat (literally!) at my kids. My temper would flare every few minutes when things were not done my way. I had expectations in my head that I would voice to my family. Invariably someone would not live up to the expectations and I would be screaming my top off! I hated myself right after the words slipped out of my mouth, but I would not stop. I would cry all the way to work in the car. I would tell myself this would not happen again and 3 minutes after entering home in the evening, it did!
I almost considered anger management classes until one day I chanced upon a technique quite by accident. Below I share this and a few other easy techniques I have learnt from other likable people. These techniques are now part and parcel of my life.They have improved the quality of my life and made me more likable with my family and others!

1. Count To 5

I was at a playground with my son a few years ago. At one point, a little boy came crying to his mom and pointed to my son and started bawling. My temper immediately began to flare up and I was going to take my son to the side and berate him. I called to my son. As my son came running towards me with a happy face, I was torn. I did not want to wipe that happiness from his face which was due to happen the minute I opened my mouth. I decided to give him and me, 5 seconds to enjoy the happiness. As I began to count to 5, he started talking. I learnt that the little boy was almost about to fall from the rock climbing wall and my son had helped him gain balance. I was stunned! The little boy was crying in the anticipation of the fall and that his mom had not been there to catch him! The 5 seconds that I had given myself had turned the story around. That’s when I decided to make the 5 seconds count a part of my life. You never know what the 5 seconds will produce or how it could change the course of the events. Next time, you feel the temper coming on, count to 5. Combine it with technique 2 below for best results!

2. Focus On Your Breath

Once I started being completely aware of my temper, I began to notice the feeling of constriction in my chest every time I was angry. I was forgetting to breathe at times or taking quick short shallow breathes. I decided to work on that. The minute I felt the constriction, I reminded myself to just breathe deeply. Take 3 deep breathes. Fill you lungs with oxygen and focus only on your breathe. This can be tied to the first technique. In the 5 seconds you pause, you are counting the seconds literally! You could instead focus on breathing deeply during the 5 second pause. Sometimes people forget to breathe deeply when they are so emotionally vested in the matter. They can’t stop their focus on the issue. The trick is to tie it to a physical action or sensation and use that as a trigger. In my case, I used the chest constriction as a trigger to focus on deep breathing.

3. Go For A Run Or Exercise

The heat in your body and the frustration and anger need an outlet. What better way to channel that high level of energy (although it is negative energy) than to exercise. Going for a walk or exercising gives you a chance to direct that energy towards a physical activity and lets you blow off some steam. It also gives you a chance to take a prolonged pause and maybe think about the thing that is bothering you.

4. Splash Your Face

Some people like to throw things or slam doors when they are angry. I always wondered how it provided them relief. I later learnt that a physical sensation such as an object breaking or hearing the door slam snaps some people out of their temper zone. I have instead adopted a simpler technique to snap out. I simply splash my face with cold water at the sink. Just the sudden feeling of cold water on my face snaps me out and cools me down.

5. Avoid Known Trigger Points

If you know stepping into your son’s room and seeing clothes on the floor is going to irk you, avoid that situation. Obviously, you can’t avoid it always and  you may need to step in and clean up at some point. Try to avoid doing it at a time when your emotions are running high. You may be in a better state to handle that trigger point at a different time in the day , maybe when you are more relaxed with a cup of coffee.

6. Meditate Daily

The health benefits of meditation are numerous. It has been proven to improve our mental well-being and lower our overall stress levels. Stress is a huge temper booster and we need to keep our stress levels at bay to reduce the temper tantrums. If you think that your monkey mind cannot be quietened during meditation, try a different form of meditation such as transcendental meditation.

7. Write It Out

Writing it out in a journal or a log helps you get it out of your system which is exactly what the temper devil is dying to do! Writing helps you vent out all your feelings and gives you a sense of relief. You could revisit it a later point and either tear it up or see if you could strategize ideas to sort out the thing that caused your temper to flare up. Writing gives you a way to know that you have control over your problem vs the problem controlling you! This gives you the courage to stop throwing temper tantrums.
Which of these techniques will you use ? What other little things do you do to hold back your temper? 

Featured photo credit: Yelling/Probably Okay via flickr.com

More by this author

Career Strategies I Wish I Knew Earlier In My 20s 8 Ways To Think Different And Develop Your Own Opinion 7 Things You Should Stop Saying To Millennials Why Grateful People Live Longer And Lead A Happier Life youtube This Is How Successful YouTubers Run Their Channels

Trending in Communication

1 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 2 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake 3 7 Science-Backed Books About Spirituality That Will Change Your Life 4 20 Things Life Is Too Short to Worry About 5 How to Find Inner Peace and Lasting Happiness

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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

Read Next