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4 Ways To Enjoy Summer With Your Pet

4 Ways To Enjoy Summer With Your Pet

The sun is out, the sky is shining beautifully in its turquoise blue glaze, the birds are chirping wildly, and the sunscreen seems to be disappearing from the shelves of stores. While we lie roasting ourselves in the sun, we often contemplate including our pets in our vacation. We question how one does that and how some people even travel with their pets all over the world.

Is it possible?

Of course it’s possible. It’s possible for you to travel with your pets all summer and have a blissful time with them. There are a few observations that my friends and I have made while trying to accommodate our four-legged friends into our summer routines.

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So, while you entertain yourself with a nice martini, let’s give our furry friends a nice bowl of premium pet food so they can stretch out and chill with us.

1. Get Them Used To The Transition Of The Weather.

Generally, animals realize the change of weather, season, or atmosphere prior to us humans. This is due to their bodily function, their body temperature, and the perspiration rates that shift according to season and temperature. However, they require us to help them during this transition in order to adapt to extreme heat or cold.

Constant long walks, enough water, and great grooming for pets with long fur allows them to feel comfortable. Furthermore, a visit to the vet and groomer can go a long way in avoiding your furry friends turning into Bob Marley or being overheated during the summer.

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This comfort triggers their instinct to adapt to the nature of your activities. Therefore, taking them out and having them around during your vacation will become easier and less of a hassle.

2. Tire Your Pet Early During The Summer By Letting It Free.

I’ve noticed this among many people, especially couples, where they lose their “couple time” to bond and be a couple again. Just like humans, animals are instinctively jealous towards their owners. Therefore, it’s probably been months since you had quality time together and “looking forward” would be an understatement.

Let your pet, especially your dog, tire itself during the day. Dogs love the outdoors. They love running around, jumping in the beach waters, and literally having the times of their lives. This eventually tires them out and instead of being jealous, they embrace the love.

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What a better way to have an intimate night than to have your pet sleep soundly?

3. Carry Enough Treats.

While traveling or being by the beach, as we enjoy our moments of silence and comfort, lying there taking selfies of our tan and reading our books, our pets have been continuously in the sun and continuously active. Although our appetite is fine, our furry friends might feel the need for frequent food.

Having a jar of treats conveniently with you allows you to enjoy your time with your pet, doing activities and playing around, without starving it. In most cases, this increases the trust your pet has in you and reduces the stress and restlessness due to being overly hungry.

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4. If Traveling Abroad, Choose Comfort Over Price.

Unfortunately, although we have grown in terms of aviation technology, pets are still discriminated against and treated like luggage. This is an environment where a snakeskin bag and a live snake are put together in the same room. We have also heard that many pets perish due to hypothermia, stress, and anxiety during plane travel.

Therefore, if you’re traveling abroad and have your pet with you, you should invest in a huge travel cage which ensures the comfort of your pet. Your pet should be able to stretch out in it. Some may be against sedating, but keeping your pet sedated for the duration of your flight allows them to rest peacefully without panicking. Never forget to provide enough blankets to keep your pet warm — just remember that the cargo is 4 times colder than the cabin!

What’s summer like without your pets? Unfortunately, I would say it could be pretty depressing. Missing the innocent smiles and the silliness of them being part of your life will be an itch all summer. To avoid this, these small tips could help a great deal.

However, remember that your pet may have a better tan than you sometimes!

Featured photo credit: Shenkeri Chandramohan via fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net

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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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