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How To Get That Travel High Even When You’re Not Traveling

How To Get That Travel High Even When You’re Not Traveling

If you love the high you get when you travel, you probably anxiously wait all year for your next vacation. You research, plan, talk about, and dream about it.

Then, after it’s over, you’re depressed, thinking about the fact that you only have this couple of weeks to travel in a year. You think about quitting your job for travelling, but maybe you love your job or you just aren’t the type that wants to be a nomad. Maybe you just want more of that feeling you get when you travel. The feeling of waking up somewhere new, seeing new things, eating new things, doing new things, be far away from your office and your everyday life (international data plans are expensive!)

When we’re at home, we tend to take things for granted. We don’t try to pack as many experiences in as we can when we travel – because we know we’ll always have tomorrow. But many of us never get around to doing this stuff. Tourists come to our country and see more famous sites or beautiful places in a month than we’ve seen in 10 years.

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So, how do we tap that energy, the energy of tourists? That feeling of excitement that comes when we experience those new things and new places?

1. Make a precious weekend or day off

We treat vacation time like it’s valuable time that must be spent doing meaningful things. But on the weekends, a lot of us tend to just hang around at home, get stuff done, or do the same old things week in and week out.

We see the weekend as a time to relax, to catch up on housework and laundry, or to see friends. But can’t we do this stuff during the week, leaving us free to fully enjoy each weekend to its fullest? Give yourself something awesome to look forward to every month — not just once or twice a year. Start with just one weekend a month and go from there.

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2. Be a tourist.

No one said you have to leave the country or even your own state to be a tourist. However, you might have to leave your own town (unless your hometown is NYC, SF, or some other big city).

Why not pick a place an hour or two away that looks interesting and go there? Learn something about the place. Visit a museum or landmark or beautiful sight (private beach, great hiking spot, etc). Get that traveler feeling you get when you’re in a new city somewhere and you hit the supermarket to stock up your Airbnb. Look up what to see and do, and where the best places are to get fresh fruits, veggies, or any special items the area is known for. Stop at a farmer’s market if they have one. Buy stuff you wouldn’t normally buy and cook something you wouldn’t normally cook. It’ll feel like you really are a tourist on vacation heading back to your rental apartment with your spoils.

3. Change your midweek routine.

Instead of eating at your favorite Thai restaurant or organic pizza joint every Thursday night, try something new. Choose a type of cuisine you normally don’t eat (Ethopian? Afghani? Korean?) or a type of venue you normally don’t frequent (a food truck gathering? A divey taco shop or funky noodle house?). Instead of running in the park every morning before work, try hitting a different spot even if it’s a bit farther. Take a yoga class in the park and meet new people. Go to a movie or a theater production midweek and get dressed up.

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4. Turn your home into a vacation resort.

Love the cucumber water they serve at health spas? The pretty way they cut pineapples at that one Caribbean resort you spend every other summer at? The sheets at your favorite hotel? Recreate some of this stuff at home! Cut up some fancy fruit and chill some mint-cucumber-lime water in the fridge. Splurge on some 1000-count Egyptian cotton sheets (believe me, you won’t regret it!). Plan an evening where you listen to some of your favorite vacation-holiday music (salsa music that reminds you of your honeymoon in Latin American? A soundtrack from your road trip in New Zealand?) and nosh on/drink some stuff you haven’t had since you were last abroad.

5. Talk to strangers.

One of the biggest differences between our daily lives (especially as Americans who drive almost everywhere and use GPS and Yelp or Siri for whatever we need to find and wherever we need to go) and our vacation/travel lives is the amount of time we spend talking to strangers.

When we are traveling internationally, we most often don’t have regular use of our phones, a vast knowledge of what apps or websites to use to find stuff (if they even exist), or any real idea of how to find the best food, drinks, or vista points without talking to locals or consulting a Lonely Planet guide. A lot of us don’t like to wander around with our nose in a travel guidebook, so we result to — gasp! — talking to strangers.

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You might chat up that nice restaurant or bar owner you met or the guy who rented you your Airbnb. Maybe get chatty with the tour guide who led you on a city day tour. These exchanges often lead to some of the best experiences and sometimes even to new friendships. But you don’t have to be in a foreign country to feel comfortable talking to strangers. Just try it!

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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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