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How To Forget Bad Childhood Memories And Reclaim Your Life

How To Forget Bad Childhood Memories And Reclaim Your Life

Many of us have suffered from certain childhood incidents that are haunting us, even today. Traumas come in various shapes and forms. They can be physical and psychological abuses, bullies back in school days, unhealthy family affairs, and parental divorce. These traumas have geared up the negativity in us and implicitly affected our life, lifestyle, relationships. But this is not the end of our lives. We must not let our past rule over our present as well as our future. The best way to overcome our traumas, and to get on with life is to leave all the bad childhood memories behind and start afresh. You are thinking it is easier said than done, right? Well, this article will help you (I sincerely hope it will help you) to deal with how to forget bad childhood memories and to lead a normal life.

Impacts brought by bad memories

There are many memories that cannot be shared with anyone, not even with the closest and the dearest ones. These memories are so etched into your heart that it is impossible not to think about them all the time. Some of the memories have left you feel insecure about yourself, lack of self confidence, make you distrust people easily, some may even confuse you about you and your surrounding. These are the impacts that you can not deal with and for these you need help. You have to start to believe in yourself, gain confidence, and try to remember that there are many out there who you can trust and their influence can make you be yourself again.

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Zeigarnik effect on us

Bluma Zeigarnik, a Lithuanian-born psychologist, first came up with ‘open loops’ and ‘unfinished business’ in 1927, explaining how these two terms can help us to learn from the ‘unfinished business’ or ‘open loops’. For example, you have an uncle who used to molest you when you were young. You never talked about it, not even to your parents. You wake up every morning and think about how you could have stopped your uncle, or how you could have exposed him. This is your ‘unfinished business’. There is an ‘open loop’ for you to come back to that point, and if you have time, and if he is alive, you still have the opportunity to unmask him.

We are wired in such a manner that we hardly forget our bad childhood memories. Mulling over the past can affect your mental stability, and your physical health, leaving you distraught at all times.

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How to forget bad childhood memories?

Let’s start with talking. It is always effective if you get to share your bad experiences with someone, or a group of people. It is not necessary for this “someone” to be your best friend or your sibling. You can seek professional help. A psychiatrist, or a counsellor can guide you to an enlightened path. Or, find out if there are any groups that involve individuals talking about their personal traumas. You will know you are not alone in this world, and there are many cases as worse as yours.

Try to approach life in a positive manner. Your childhood is your past. The people and the events concerned are no longer in existence. Even if they are, you are no longer a dependent individual. You are free. You have a life and you are leading your life. You are in a relationship. Contemplating on your bad memories can affect your partner and your children. Build a better and a secured future for your children.

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Talking about security, if you feel threatened by your own security, again, talk it out loud. Not everyone is the same. Being reserved or skeptical about things or people will not help you overcome your memories. I know it is extremely hard to throw away what has been bothering you, but kindly don’t allow them to shape your life. After all the things you were through, at this point in life, you deserve happiness.

Depression, anxiety, anger are all parts of growing up. You grow up every day, no matter what your age is. And each day, we encounter new experiences, some good and some bad. We make mistakes and we learn from them. We brush them aside and we move forward. How to forget bad childhood memories? Let those unacceptable recollections be the force to drive you towards your happiness, towards your success.

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Featured photo credit: Pezibear via pixabay.com

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Sumaiya Kabir

Sumaiya is a passionate writer who shares thoughts and ideas to help people improve themselves.

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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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