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Signs You’re Emotional and Mentally Strong at the Same Time

Signs You’re Emotional and Mentally Strong at the Same Time

As you know, life can be emotionally distressing. You’re sensitive, you can sense the people around you. You’ve been blessed or cursed with this uncanny ability to feel. You feel that your extrasensory perception gives you more information about your environment. You’re keen on how other people feel about you. Is it better to be mentally strong or emotionally strong? Perhaps emotional strength is a prerequisite of mental strength. Emotions strike an evocative chord within you, one that you could not control without mental strength.

You cry, wipe your tears, and take action.

While some may believe it is better to ignore your feelings and push through, this builds up unhealthy blockages. Crying when in distress is a sign of strength, authenticity, and being in tune with yourself. It’s far more damaging to let the tears build up and suddenly unleash on the wrong person.

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You don’t care how the world perceives your tears, they’re necessary. The emotional release of crying lets the negative emotions fly free. People who cry and get back to work have the wisdom that emotions can overtake you if you let them. This wisdom lets emotional people know that crying is necessary to free up emotional and mental space that you could be using for happiness and productivity.

You may be quick to anger, but you turn it into positivity.

Being so in touch with your state of emotion gives you quick access to your anger too. What does this really mean? Emotional people have to have more mental strength than the average individual. Your rushing waters of anger can quickly become a tsunami, but you control the tide.

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According to a study of the broaden-and-build theory of Barbara Fredrickson, positive emotions allow you to build more personal resources due to expanding your cognition and attention. You have the mental discipline to decide in an instant whether this intense energy will be destructive or creative. What kind of mental powerhouse converts fury into positive action? You, the master of your emotional physiology.

You use your emotionality intelligently to be empathetic & understanding.

Sometimes you walk into a room and feel the air electrified with emotions. You can feel the ones who are intensely working, strained, happy, and peaceful. Some people may notice your uncanny ability to “read people.” You simply sense the emotions of others because you feel them yourself.

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You feel compassion in the highest degree. This level of empathy requires more mental strength to not absorb the negativity of others. The fact that you’re emotionally adept benefits your relationships because you’re able to understand other people better. Those who don’t understand emotionality may think you would cry over spilled milk; this isn’t the case. You have the mental discipline to differentiate between when someone else’s emotions will affect you and when they absolutely will not.

You can be very sensitive, but know better than to be too serious.

Just because you have highly sensitive emotions does not mean you are high strung. You know how to relax and have fun just as much as anyone else. Emotional people who are self aware may have an air of maturity not to be confused with seriousness. Socially, you’re not on the hunt for comments to be offended by.

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The fact that emotionally sensitive people savor happy moments actually increases their emotional strength according to a study conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It was shown that those who harness the power of positive emotions have more life satisfaction and are more resilient.

You’re sensitive but you know how to keep your emotions in check. You don’t let your high sensitivity weaken your relationships. You use your powers for good by tuning into the emotions of others so you can further understand their thinking, lifestyle, opinions, and so much more.

Everyone should take the time to understand that emotionally sensitive people use a great deal of mental strength. You have to keep your own emotions from going haywire. You also have to  protect yourself from the barrage of emotions you feel around you. When in distress, you may be the first to cry, but you’ll also be the first to take the next step forward.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via Picjumbo via picjumbo.com

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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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