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10 Creative Ways To Comfort Without Speaking

10 Creative Ways To Comfort Without Speaking

There are many ways people go through a tough time, whether it is depression, anxiety, grieving.

There are many reasons people just feel off. So what do you do to comfort them?

Here are 10 creative ways to comfort without speaking.

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1. Comfort Food

This could be anything you know that person loves to eat. I hate to say this but I LOVE sweets! When I’m feeling down and someone brings be a bag of crispy M&M’s, or they have a tub of Ben & Jerry’s American Dream… I cannot help but give them a smile. Now if it was reversed and I was trying to comfort my daughter? She loves homemade food! It can be buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy, tacos, cookies. Comfort foods were made for just that, comforting.

2. Hush the Mouth

I know that sounds harsh, because it probably is. If you are there to comfort your friend or loved one, then it’s not about you. Sometimes the best thing that you can do is be quiet and just sit there with them. This shows them that you have respect for them and that you really want to hear what they have to say; when they’re ready.

3. Patience

I know this one is hard to understand, let me explain it. Everyone goes through what is happening to them in their own time. If you were to show up huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf and it were me? I wouldn’t open up to you either. I get it, after a year and they are still moping around? Tough love might be good for them. If you show up two weeks after the incident and they are still laying on the couch and you want to be supportive? Suck it up buttercup you’re there for them remember?

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4. Hugs

Hugs are a great way to show comfort. I LOVE HUGS! This article from The Huffington Post by: Lindsay Homes, 7 Reasons Why We Should Be Giving More Hugs is a great example of why we should give out hugs as a silent comfort!

5. Warm Drinks

Sometimes it’s nice to be around people in a coffee shop. No one is talking to you but everyone is enjoying a warm drink (unless it’s summer). Examples of this are coffee, teas and cocoas. Does someone you know have the winter blues? How about mixing these tips and bringing them a basket with cookies AND their favorite type of coffee or cocoa? During the winter, one of the most comforting things for me is when it’s snowing outside to have a cup of coffee or tea in my hands. For my kids I make them cocoa, boil the water fill it up 1/4 to 1/2 the way, stir in the cocoa, then fill the rest of the way with milk. This makes it just warm enough to warm them up from playing in the snow, but not hot enough to scald their mouth.

6. Surprise Gifts

There is no need to say anything when you walk up to someone and leave them a basket of their favorite things. One example; your girlfriend just had a horrible break-up. What do you give someone for that? If it’s one of my buddies, I would throw together a basket with their favorite coffee, some creamer, different sweets, and a snuggly blanket, and a comedy (or a chick flick if they’re into that). No words needed.

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7. Charlie Chapman Style

Have you ever tried to be a mime? I’m not very good at it because I look like a frustrated ostrich. If my loved one is laughing and not crying? Mission accomplished! For my daughter, sometimes when she has had a bad day at school and she has a temper tantrum and isn’t intentionally trying to take it out on someone, I will show her what she looks like while doing it. Usually I get a laugh and a then she is okay, no it doesn’t always work. When I throw some humor on it and she starts laughing I know I’ve done something right.

8. Music

Music has always had a way to sooth the soul or the person for that matter. If you know the person that needs comfort and what they like for music, then it is almost as good as giving them a hug!

9. Get them out of the house

You don’t have to say anything when you get them out of the house. Go hop in the car throw their favorite tunes on and just drive. Sometimes this is what really does the trick for me.

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10. Just be there

I know that this sounds crazy, but sometimes if you just sit there and let someone know that you’re there it makes all of the difference in the world. I’m not someone who opens up easily. I can sit there and listen to your stories all day. It takes a really good friend to just sit there with me, not lecturing me, not saying anything, to get me to open up and let them comfort me.

There are so many other ways to comfort people through whatever type of time they are going through, these are just some of the basics and I hope that they bring you and your loved ones some comfort.

Featured photo credit: Pexels.com via pexels.com

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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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