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6 Ways To Help Someone Recover After Rehab

6 Ways To Help Someone Recover After Rehab

Rehab may be a critical time of transition for a recovering addict, but aftercare is equally important in helping an individual shift back into a normal life, free from addictive substances.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Mental Health in 2012 found that 8.5 percent of the US population had personally dealt with a substance struggle. However, only about 2.5 million people actually received professional help. Not only does that mean many people are trying to cope with an addiction on their own, but those who have chosen to enter rehab are taking a big step to put their lives back together again.

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Recovery isn’t a process someone can go through alone, though. It takes dedicated support and discipline to learn to live sober. Consider these ways to show your support and help the ones you care about survive after rehab.

1. Create a drug- and alcohol-free environment.

Recovering addicts are vulnerable to relapse, especially in the first three months home. Having a temptation-free environment is essential to helping them on their road to recovery. If alcohol is kept in the house, you must make a lifestyle change to remove this while they recover. Set up some sort of environmental structure. One of the hardest transitions will be going from a place of complete structure and separation to one that is oftentimes unstructured and open to outside influences.

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2. Develop community support.

Encourage them to join a support group. It’s important that they can meet with people who understand what they are struggling with and who can encourage them to stay strong. Make sure time is set aside to reconnect with your family and close family friends. Not only do they need to be reminded that their mistakes can be overcome, but they need a level of accountability only those close by can provide.

3. Learn to talk openly with them.

This is a very emotional time for them and for yourself. If they talk about temptations, don’t come down hard on them. Allow them to share their struggle with you, and be open to sharing your concerns. They can handle it. Remember, some sort of conflict led them to take drugs or alcohol in the first place. If they haven’t learned to process their emotions and work through conflict and stress, they will be tempted to return to their addiction. Don’t bring up past hurts. You are all starting new chapters in your relationship, and reminding them of how they have hurt you only hinders their ability to recover.

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4. Build other healthy habits.

While they need space to adjust and settle back into a normal routine of life, it is important that they keep busy so they don’t dwell on the bad choices they made or end up falling back into the crowd they hung with before. Encourage them to take up old hobbies like sports or arts or encourage them to find new interests like cooking or blogging. This requires patience, but it’s important they have something to focus their attention on.

5. Take things one day at a time.

Recovering addicts will have good days and bad days. They may even lapse back into taking an addictive substance. It’s important not to see them as hopeless. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40 to 60 percent of recovering drug addicts experience at least one relapse. If you find your loved ones have relapsed, reconnect them with a counselor or sponsor right away. Be an encouragement to them by not reminding them of their failures. Recovery isn’t easy, but it is possible.

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6. Set up your own support system with friends, other family members, or external support groups.

Supporting a recovering addict can be emotionally and mentally draining at times. Set aside time to support yourself, to share your own frustrations and stresses with others who understand what you are going through. If you don’t support yourself, it will only make you less able to support recovering addicts as they start over.

The road out of addiction may feel like a long one sometimes, but it gets easier as you travel it together. Learning to be free from drugs and alcohol requires a complete lifestyle change, but it is a change that people cannot make on their own. It means taking the hard steps along with them. They need you to support them in this critical season in their lives as they begin to rebuild and live a life of sobriety.

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6 Ways To Help Someone Recover After Rehab

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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

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