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6 Signs You’re An Overthinking Worrier (And How To Worry Less)

6 Signs You’re An Overthinking Worrier (And How To Worry Less)

I’m very aware of the fact that I’m an over-thinker. I literally drive myself crazy sometimes worrying and thinking, and it’s usually about the littlest, dumbest things too. The fact is though, it’s just not healthy. Being aware of your over-thinking is the key to keeping it under control and keeping yourself sane. Here are 6 signs that you may be an over-thinker and tips on how to stop worrying so much!

1. You have trouble falling asleep

Your body is tired, but you find yourself tossing and turning. We are all culprits of it- thinking about the day’s occurrences, or worrying about what tomorrow will bring, and not getting enough sleep will only makes matters worse.

Meditation, even in its’ simplest form, will help clear our minds. Take a few moments to lie in bed and focus on the good things that occurred that day. Be thankful for those good things. Think about the funny joke you heard on your lunch break, or the dinner your spouse cooked so you didn’t have to. Tell yourself that you are going to let go of the worry for right now. Tell yourself that tomorrow is a new day and you are going to make the best of it. The power of relaxation and positive thinking will help to ease your mind and allow a good night’s rest.

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2. You wake up to worry

So you’ve manage to fall asleep and make it through the night, but now it’s morning. You’ve barely rolled over and already worry pops into your head. Waking up to heavy, stressful thoughts is the worst way to start your day, and many people will agree that a bad morning will make for an entire bad day.

Much like #1, don’t get out of bed until you’ve given yourself a pep talk. Let your body lie still for a few moments and tell yourself that it’s going to be a great day. Tell yourself that you can handle the challenges that the day may bring. Take notice of the sunlight peeking through your curtains. Focus for a moment on the birds chirping outside or the sound of your children waking in the background. Decide right then and there to not carry these worrisome thoughts around the entire day.

3. You’re often emotional or angry

You have a hard time making it through the day without a meltdown and overflow of tears. You find yourself just snapping and the littlest things and overreacting like an emotional train wreck. Sounds like you need some ‘me’ time!

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Fit some time into your schedule to pamper and take care of yourself in the ways that make you most relaxed and happy. If you enjoy nature, get out for a walk. Buy the new dress or boots you’ve been wanting. Treat yourself to a triple scoop ice cream cone. Allow yourself to cry over sad songs if that’s what you need. Get in touch with your best friend; you know that guy or gal can always make you laugh! Maintain regular visits with a therapist if expert advice is required.

4. You blame yourself

Your daughter failed her test because you forgot to help her study the night before. Your spouse didn’t have breakfast that morning because you overslept. There are no clean bath towels because you neglected to keep up on laundry. Cavity? Because you didn’t floss enough. Out of milk? Because you were too lazy to run to the store.

You cannot carry the weight of the world on your shoulders! We are human. We make mistakes. We are only capable of handling so much at one time. Perhaps it’s time to delegate tasks to other family members to help ease your worries. You do a lot, but can’t do it all, and instead of blaming yourself for things gone wrong, pat yourself on the back for things gone right.

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5. You scrutinize people’s words and facial expressions

You walk away from the cashier’s checkout line wondering if he was looking at you funny. You thought for sure that couple behind you was laughing at your shoes. You could swear that the lady was just being sarcastic when she complimented your hair.

Nine times out of ten, it’s just in our heads. Don’t let these little insecurities get in your way. We shouldn’t worry ourselves thinking about some ‘hidden agenda’ in everyone’s comments or facial expressions. Whether the lady’s compliment was genuine or not, smile and say “thank you”, and then let it go. Don’t let your thoughts stray any more than that. Besides, your hair was looking pretty rad that day!

6. Your thoughts are consumed by bills

Unless you’re a recent lottery winner, it would be fair to say that most of us worry about bills. Let’s face it, bills suck, but they are a part of a life. They come every month and worrying about them won’t make them go away.

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Maybe it’s time to sit down and rewrite your budget plan. Maybe it’s time to rethink what’s really necessary and try to eliminate the things that aren’t. Perhaps a temporary part-time job is needed to help pay a few things off. Sometimes even calling the companies to get an extension or set up on a payment plan will help to ease your worries.

Over-thinking and worrying to some extent is normal human nature. Life isn’t always easy and we all at some point have too much on our plate. We need to recognize our worries and be conscious of ways to ease them. Find ways that work best for you on how to stop worrying so much and practice them regularly. It will help you to maintain good health, a clear mind, and a loving heart.  

Featured photo credit: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1514502/thumbs/o-STRESSED-WORRIED-WOMAN-STOCK-THINKSTOCK-OWN-facebook.jpg via i.huffpost.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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