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Lonely and Bitter? 5 Ways to Deal with Solitude

Lonely and Bitter? 5 Ways to Deal with Solitude

There may come a time when you find yourself feeling lonely at one point in your life, and you start questioning how and when exactly that happened. Trying to contemplate the facts and going backwards in time will only make you bitter and resentful – at least, that’s what happened in my case.

There’s no point in crying over spilled milk – you are where you are, and you need to make the best of it. As a matter of fact, solitude can be a very dear friend if you offer it a hand of peace. Any situation can be used to your advantage if you’re able to completely change your mindset and look at the world from a different perspective.

1. It’s Only a Prison If You Make It So

This cage of loneliness is only a creation of your mind, and you can set yourself free. For starters, you should stop feeling sorry for yourself and stop doubting your worth – many lonely people believe that they don’t have anything to offer to the world, and that is the reason why they are so distant from it.

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You have probably already heard about that confidence theory – it’s all about how confident you believe you are. People can smell insecurity from a mile away. And much like the confidence theory, your feelings of insecurity all comes from the inside; the world is exactly the way you believe it is.

If you believe you’re confident – you will be; if you want your mind to be a happier place – you will make it so, and if you want to turn loneliness into a temple of peace and serenity – it’s up to you to start building it.

2. Create Routines and Follow Them Through

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Teenage girl on the grass with a guitar

    It’s quite easy to be pulled into the shadows of depression when you’re lonely – you’ll be pulled in if you let it. However, the fact that you have nothing or no one to plan your day around doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan at all.

    You should make friends with discipline, for starters. Start your morning with a delicious cup of coffee or cup of your favorite tea, make your own yummy breakfast and enjoy the beginning of your day. Voila – you have already done something useful; you just made yourself feel comfortable and pleasant.

    3. Fill Your Life with Various Projects

    After your morning routine is done, you should roll up your sleeves and see what you can do for your surroundings. DIY projects are extraordinarily beneficial, and they will do wonders for your home and your inner self. Building or fixing things using your own hands, and developing your skills in the process, will make your home more pleasant and help you get to know yourself better. Obviously, this will do great things for your confidence.

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    4. Make Your Work More Interesting

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      A lot of loneliness in this age of technology comes from a whole new phenomenon – working at home. Sure, this comes with a bunch of advantages because you are your own boss, but it also lets you sleep in, which may seem quite harmless in the beginning.

      Get your work and yourself out of the house – there are ways to make friends when working from home, and you should explore your options. Besides, you shouldn’t allow yourself to stagnate but, instead, you need to strive towards advancement and growth. This professional rut may be the reason why you’re bitter, which is why you should find a way to see your work in action and find ways for it to contribute to the world.

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      5. Reach Out and Talk to People

      If your mind is too quiet and you feel like you miss spoken kind words, someone’s acknowledgement or appreciation, the obvious thing to do is to earn it. Obstacles that prevent you from communicating with others can be overcome, but you need to have a strong will to do so.

      You should go to social gatherings you enjoy, visit cultural events that are in your area of interest, take walks at your nearest park, or read in your local library instead of at home because that way you’ll find people who are similar to you and share your thoughts.
      There’s a silver lining to solitude – it allows you to explore the depths of your personality. Upon those discoveries, you should build your life and fashion it according to your needs. It doesn’t seem so bad now, does it? I see it as a great opportunity you should take advantage of.

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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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