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7-Day Digital Detox Challenge That Will Transform Your Life

7-Day Digital Detox Challenge That Will Transform Your Life

You’re stressed. You’re constantly feeling the pull of your phone — to check notifications, email friends, even tweet about the latest world event. You feel the need to stay on top of everything. And you’re still trying to live your life.

But are you happy?

If not, you might need to look into a digital detox. A digital detox, in the words of the people over at Forbes, is simply removing all digital and smartphone devices for your life for a while. It enables you to spend time focusing on what might actually make you happy and will help you get some rest.

It’s about getting you to learn you can live without your phone. So let’s get started.

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Day 1 – Download a Phone Usage App and Limit Yourself to Two Hours a Day

If you’ve never heard of a phone usage app, don’t worry, it’s not tricky. It’s just an app that tracks how much you use your phone and shows you how much you actually use it. It can also help you try to lower the time you spend on the phone.

For today, just try to limit your phone usage to two hours a day total. That means emails, Twitter, Facebook and everything else. It’s not as hard as you think, so go for it.

Day 2 – Don’t Take Your Phone Out While Walking

You do it, I do it, we all do it. We take our phones out while we’re walking. For this day, try to keep your phone in your pocket or bag. Not only will you find yourself actually paying attention to where you are, you’ll probably notice a few cool things about your surroundings.

Day 3 – Don’t Take Your Phone Out at Social Gatherings

Do you know what the Google Effect is? It’s the term used for our society’s growing answer to any question, which is Googling the question, and we often do it in social gatherings. Not only is the Google Effect making our own memories worse, it’s also detracting from face-to-face conversations.

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So today, just for today, don’t take your phone out when you’re with friends. Pretend like it’s 1998 and there’s no such thing as Google. Enjoy being with your friends. After a while, you won’t miss it.

Day 4 – Don’t Use Your Phone After 9 pm

Take today and pamper yourself after 9 pm. Run a hot bath, watch a movie or read a book. Take that time you’d normally spend catching up on the day’s news and spend it on taking care of yourself. Trust me, you’ll feel better.

Day 5 – Turn Off Notifications

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of notifications. It instills this idea of urgency within me that I can’t shake. So I’ll join you in turning off notifications today.

This might be hard for you but trust in the process. Your notifications are going to make you feel like the digital world is more important than the real world, and it’s not. Hang in there, your week is nearly over.

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Day 6 – Don’t Use Your Phone While You’re Alone

Do you remember when you were a kid and you were bored so you made up your own fun? Let’s go back to that feeling, just for today. Don’t use your phone at all today when you’re alone.

You’ll be amazed at how much time you’ve actually got when you’re not on your phone. You can cook or write that short story or even actually go on a nice, relaxing walk.

Day 7 – Don’t Charge Your Phone for a Few Days

Today will be the hardest day, but I’m right here with you. I’ve done this and I can tell you it’s not as painful as it sounds. Are you ready?

A few days of not charging your phone is going to feel like a breath of fresh air. I recommend doing this but completely recharging with a short staycation or a holiday. Once you come back to your phone, you’ll be refreshed and relaxed, so enjoy the time you have without it.

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If you need help finding a phone usage tracker, this is a good place to start. I’d recommend keeping the app after you’re done with your digital detox. It’ll be a helpful tool to keep you on track to using your phone less and living life more.

Did you like this 7-day detox challenge? We developed it on the same basis of this article, which showed us how a little effort each day can lead to amazing results. Share it with your friends and let us know how your detox went!

Featured photo credit: Coastal landscape with a boat ramp, rocks and a moody sky via stokpic.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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