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The Angry Spouse: How to Use the Anger to Increase the Intimacy

The Angry Spouse: How to Use the Anger to Increase the Intimacy

Who hasn’t gotten angry with their partner? No one, right? It’s all part of being in a relationship, but we’ve been conditioned to believe that anger is bad, and that we shouldn’t feel angry. So, we don’t know how to be an angry wife or angry husband. And yes, there’s actually a good way to be an angry spouse (or partner). What’s more, your anger can actually be a very good thing for your relationship. It might sound crazy, but being an angry wife or husband might not be such a bad thing. Here’s why.

Anger is Natural

Anger always comes as a reaction to what is happening in the present moment, but too often, we miss the opportunity to express our anger when it comes up. And it’s all because we’re afraid or ashamed of being angry. So, sensitive as we are, we hide it away. But if we don’t deal with this natural feeling responsibly, it will deal with us!

For example, latent anger can turn into rage – a dangerous and destructive emotion in any relationship, let alone an intimate one! Furthermore, unexpressed anger can lead to things like depression and heart problems, just to name a few. On the flipside, if we express anger irresponsibly, we might suffer from things like hypertension, headaches, gastrointestinal issues and much more.

I think it’s safe to say that when we suppress or abuse anger, we’re left with a whole new slew of problems.  But anger is a feeling that shows up when something needs to change.  It’s like a natural signal, alerting us to create something new or to fix the current problem.

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Anger isn’t the Bad Guy

So, now that we’ve established that anger isn’t just natural, but also good, you might be wondering how anger can send important signals to you.

Try this: the next time you feel angry about something, take a moment and ask yourself why it angers you. You’ll realize that your anger is triggered by something else – perhaps because you’re really feeling hurt, insecure, lonely, threatened, or guilty. Go ahead and dig deep, and ask why you’re feeling that way. Keep in mind that telling yourself that you are no angry anymore but keeping the other party still being unfair, will not help either you or your relationship.

If you know that your anger indicates a deeper problem, you can start to heal those core issues. You can allow yourself to feel upset without judging or shaming yourself, and this mindset will naturally spill over into how you express your anger with your partner.

Being mindful within anger can really help us to change our behavior, instead of resenting people for not changing theirs. Basically, you have the choice to create a conscious attitude toward anger, as opposed to letting it run the show and ruining your day.

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Anger is Creative

I’m sure that whenever you’ve been an angry wife (or girlfriend in my case), you didn’t think your anger could lead to something healthy and productive. But big magic happens whenever you use anger mindfully.

You see, it’s not a negative energy; it’s a creative energy. We just have to choose to use it that way. And when we do so, we can come up with plenty of original ideas to solve the problems at hand.

Now, if any of you are thinking to yourself, “Slow down, girl! How is any of this possible?” don’t worry. It probably seems strange at first, but once you look at some typical, real-life examples, you’ll see what I mean.

Let’s start with a common offender: bathroom etiquette.

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If you’re anything like me, you like the toilet seat down, the towels hung up (instead of left to dry on the floor), and most important of all, a roll of toilet paper instead of just an empty roll. To me, these things are no-brainers. To my beloved, they’re unnecessary procedures.

Now, I’ve gotten mad about this, and kept my anger in, and let it build up inside of me, but that didn’t solve anything. The toilet seed stayed up, the towels stayed down, and the toilet paper never, ever reproduced.

So, I took a good look at my anger, and saw that I was upset because it felt like he didn’t care about tidiness and cleanliness – two things that I really value. But once I realized that he wasn’t disrespecting my values, but just completely unaware of them, I figured that I just had to let him know that tidiness and cleanliness were important to me. And that if we both did certain things (ahem!), we’d be able to share a tidier house and better communication.

You might be thinking that that example was far too easy. But the thing is, we have to learn how to resolve small (even laughable) conflicts. That way, you’ll be better at dealing with stronger feelings of anger.

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If you can begin to use anger as a way to examine and focus on yourself, you’ll feel more empowered and in control.

How to Be an Angry Wife or Husband

Before expressing your anger, you might be held back by fear – fear of rejection and of misunderstanding, and all of these fears are legitimate and reasonable. But being able to show your angry side is a wonderful sign of trust. It shows that you believe that your relationship can withstand truth and honesty.

When it comes to communicating your anger, it’s all too easy to succumb to yelling, sarcasm, name calling, and criticizing. After all, we’ve been conditioned to think that anger always looks like that. But you don’t have to do any of these things.

First, you can separate yourself from your anger by saying things like, “I feel angry about this and here’s why.” Secondly, you can prepare by taking full responsibility for your emotions and going in with the intention to create positive change. Lastly, talk to your partner with clear and objective language, using as many “I” statements as possible. This helps to prevent blaming and encourages cooperative conversation.

Changing your mindset about anger and using it to your advantage, will create more peace, better communication and increased intimacy at home.

Featured photo credit: pulse.ng/ via static.pulse.ng

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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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