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15 Hacks to Reduce Stress on Daily Basis

15 Hacks to Reduce Stress on Daily Basis

First of all, there is no such thing as stress-free life or environment, however, there are stress-free moments and ways to reduce stress. We are usually angry, sad, anxious or agitated when we need to solve problems or more often when we are exposed to a problem that we cannot solve or affect. Luckily, you can use various techniques to cope with stress immediately, and regain your composure, but in order to truly reduce the stress level you’ll need more control over your life and a healthier lifestyle.

So, here are some hacks that can help you out, if you are overwhelmed by stress on daily basis.

Quick solutions

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    In the event that you are really stressed out, you can try and implement some of the following solutions in order to suppress it.

    Go for a walk

    The best thing you can do when you are angry or sad, or struck by bad news is go for a walk. It will give you time to sort out somethings in your head, and maybe reach a conclusion on how to approach the whole situation. Furthermore, physical activity causes our body to produce endorphins, also known as feel-good hormone.

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    Meditate

    To calm yourself you can also meditate. Focus on your breathing, and go to your happy place. You should inhale for six seconds, and then hold your breath for seven, after that you can exhale for eight seconds. Repeat this procedure a couple of times and it will calm you down and shift your focus away from the problem.

    Play some music

    Another way to mitigate stress is by using music. You can listen to some classic tunes or just listen to your favorite artists. Music can be used as catharsis, and therefore it has somewhat healing properties. Just put your headphones on and dive in.

    Chocolate and wine

    An effective method, but its excessive use can lead to alcoholism and obesity, so tread lightly and don’t drink yourself to oblivion. However, both wine and chocolate can be used to take the edge off, and make you happier. So, if you had a stressful day at work take a glass of wine and some chocolate to brighten up your mood.

    Focus shift

    If you can’t solve a problem don’t dwell on it for too long, find something else to occupy your thoughts. You can watch videos, photos or read your favorite book. Do something you like and try to relax, book a massage or a day at the spa.

    Add more control to your life

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      The previous suggestions are good temporary solutions, but they do not address the root of the problem, all you have is a form of escape. In order to suppress the stress levels more effectively you’ll need more control in your life. It will help you build confidence, you will reduce the chance of unexpected problems popping up, and you’ll generally feel better with more harmony and control over your life.

      Organization apps

      People use task and time management apps all the time; you don’t have to remember everything if you have a device that can remind you. So, you can use an app that can help you regulate your sleep, for instance you can use an app like Throttle to help you organize your emails.  You can use online tools, like Basecamp, to organize assignments at home or at work, basically try to create schedules and harmony.

      You might think how having the whole day planned out is filling you with sense of imprisonment but it’s really not true. Organization and routines are there to boost efficiency, and when you start feeling overwhelmed you can always alter your schedule.

      To-do lists

      The easiest way to organize your day is through to-do lists. Sure it may be a bit frustrating to make them, but as you complete one task after another, you’ll feel better and you’ll be able to relax when you know everything is finished. Additionally, you’ll have a sense of achievement that always fills you up with positive emotions.

      Shifting between productive and chill zone

      In order to get all the work done, you need to set clear boundaries between breaks and work time. You’d be surprised just how much work you can get done by focusing on the task at hand for an entire hour. So, make sure you are fully productive for one hour, meaning no social networks, no phone and no distractions. And then make a small break (15-20 min) after which you should enter the productive zone once again. When you see just how much work you’ve managed to get done, you’ll feel a lot better.

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      A grain of OCD

      There is no need to have everything in perfect order, but a small dose of OCD can be helpful. If items in your home are neatly organized and if your house is clean, you are going to feel amazing. The sight of harmony will calm you down and you’ll be far more relaxed knowing everything is in its place.

      Progress milestones

      In order to stay motivated you need a clear overview of your progress. So, if you are at work or have a personal project that is hard, create milestones for it. Every time you complete a milestone you can treat yourself, and when you know exactly where you are with your tasks you’ll feel more confident, and more calm.

      Healthier body means less stress

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        Lastly, our health and lifestyle can have a significant impact on how we feel. Lack of activity and intake of harmful substances are making us feel more stressed out. In other words you need to lead a healthier life, and a lot of things will sort out as you improve.

        Practice Yoga

        Yoga is great for flexing your muscles and release of tension. You will also implement breathing exercises as you do yoga and, as we all know, proper breathing and physical activity are capable of reducing stress. Plus you will be in better shape and that is also one way of boosting your confidence, since you have done something in the field of self-improvement.

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        Healthy sleep cycle

        Sleep is necessary for us to recharge our mental batteries and to recover our energy. In order to tap into the full potential of sleep you’ll need to have a healthy sleep cycle. It means you’ll only be fully rested if you sleep from 9pm until 7am, and if you eat healthy and exercise.

        Cut down on junk food and fizzy drinks

        Food and drinks affect both our metabolism and our mood. So, whenever you eat junk food and drink fizzy drinks you harm your physique and your mood. You are more likely to become depressed and tired if you don’t switch to a healthier diet.

        Reconnect with nature

        It’s good to have some time off and unwind, just make sure to pick the right environment for it. If you spend more time outside in a rural area in fresh air, you will regain your vitality. So, instead of visiting an urban coastal town with a teeming nightlife, use your vacation to go somewhere peaceful and enjoy the silence.

        Do something for yourself

        Lastly, you need to reward yourself for your struggles and focus on personal development. You can do something you have never done before and expand your comfort zone, experience an adrenalin rush or read a new book and get some fresh perspective.

        To sum up, stress can be a serious issue if you ignore it and try to power through, you need to balance out the bad with the good, and if you use these tips, you are highly likely to conquer most of your personal problems.

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        Djordje Todorovic

        Blogger, Gamer Extraordinaire

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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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