Advertising
Advertising

Do These 20 Simple Things To Treat Yourself With Love and Kindness

Do These 20 Simple Things To Treat Yourself With Love and Kindness

Even the most highly evolved person can remain their own worst critic. As we strive to become more loving and accepting of others, we must first direct the love and acceptance toward ourselves. This is called self-compassion. According to Kristin Neff , a scientist whose research focuses on self-compassion, we need to begin by quieting our own inner critic. She identifies the three components of self-compassion as self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.

Self-kindness is the desire to alleviate suffering. Treating oneself with care and understanding. Common humanity is our ability to see our personal experience as part of a larger human experience. Mindfulness is the ability stay present and avoid emotional extremes or suppression.

Why Don’t People Show Themselves Compassion?

In our busy lives we often want to rush right into problem solving mode before we have actually spent a moment feeling our feelings. Accepting them. And deciding why we feel that way and if it works for us. Why isn’t this self-compassionate way of thinking more prevalent? Some of the reasons people don’t afford themselves compassion and love include:

  1. Confusing self-compassion with a pity party.
  2. Difficulty interpreting the difference constructive criticism and bullying.
  3. Seeing self-care as over-indulgent
  4. Misinterpreting our compassion as excuses for our short-comings.
  5. Believing that the best way to motivate yourself to change is by being critical of you are today.

The good thing is that once you cultivate an attitude of acceptance for yourself you will find these benefits accompany it. For example, self-compassion offers the same advantages as high self-esteem and people who love themselves have steadier emotions. When people who accept themselves are able to discuss their negatives, they are able to buffer the emotional blow by using “we” instead of me as they share common humanity. Other benefits of self acceptance are compassion for yourself, freeing yourself from comparison to others, and increasing happiness.

20 Ways to Treat Yourself with Kindness

If you are convinced that being loving, kind, and accepting of yourself is something to prioritize, here are 20 ways to start treating yourself the way you deserve to be treated. Pick a few to try each day.

Advertising

1. Take a walk

2. Indulge in a treat like imported cheese, chocolate or some salty fries

3. Buy a new book

4. Have a picnic lunch

5. Skip a chore you really dislike

Advertising

6. Plant a flower

7. Throw yourself a kitchen dance party while you cook

8. Use the good dishes and make your table Martha Stewart worthy

9. Wear your most comfortable clothing

10. Clear your closet clutter and donate the things you don’t need to someone who needs them

Advertising

11. Give yourself a facial

12. Smile at yourself in the mirror

13. Listen to an inspiring podcast

14. Start a gratitude journal- list three things you are thankful for every night before you go to bed

15. Buy a better pillow- sleep well and your day will feel more smooth and relaxed

Advertising

16. Have coffee with a friend you haven’t seen in awhile

17. Invite someone intriguing but outside your normal social circle to lunch or to dinner

18. Plan a party

19. Register for a retreat

20. Pick one thing you have always wanted to do (like flying lessons or hot yoga) and do it!

Deciding to focus on habits that help you to flourish means knowing a bit about what boosts you happiness. For some it’s time alone, for others, a party. Becoming a student of who you are and what you like will help provide clarity as to how you can use simple hacks to increase your self-acceptance. When you love yourself this energy causes you to become more attractive to others. Remember, you are the priority here. Don’t be a martyr. Put yourself first. As the saying goes “You can’t pour from an empty cup”.

More by this author

Why Meditation Makes You Happier, Healthier and More Successful and How To Get Started confident woman 22 Things That Confident Women Don’t Do This Is What Happens To Your Brain When You Walk In The Woods Touching Other People Can Make You Healthier And More Successful, Study Finds 5 Tips from Positive Psychology to Help You Avoid Holiday Stress

Trending in Communication

1 When You Learn A Second Language, These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen To You 2 15 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Truly Happy 3 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 4 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake 5 7 Science-Backed Books About Spirituality That Will Change Your Life

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