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4 Proven Ways to Strengthen Relationships

4 Proven Ways to Strengthen Relationships

While people have special days for relationship or love celebrations, true love really goes beyond that.

This article is specifically not for any special one-time love celebration or romance but it’s about all kinds of relationship. It’s about building all kinds of relationships with loved ones, colleagues, family members, and friends; to anyone who has proven to be someone worthy to share a part in the history of our existence.

When it comes to relationships, no one is really an expert. Everyone has lacking points which often starts so little and with time could cost much more than just a separation, it can lead to a complete loss of the relationship. Siblings may end up fighting with each other, families torn apart, co-workers against each other and even elderly couples ending up in divorce or worse.

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There should be a way for redemption, to build back the lost trust and to build the bridges again linking relationships for a greater bond and for a better relationship. And the best way to do this is by being honest with ourselves, knowing what relationships need to survive and knowing that everyone has to give what it takes. Being perfect may not be the solution, but being self-aware is.

1. Take care of yourself first

Relationships are not easy and anyone who has tasted one can tell. Whatever happens in relationships is a mirror of everything about us. Have you imagined anytime we have bad and stressful days, our relationships seem to be more difficult? Our relationships suffer when we are not happy with ourselves and we can feel it. We feel the lacking, the difficulties, but the one thing we really don’t take into consideration is that we are the cause of the relationship’s shortcomings.

Have you ever seen yourself in a fight, only to wonder later, what you really were up against? Have you sometimes felt disappointed of your expectations when they were not met by people you expected? I really hope this post  helps you overcome all that. Everyone has needs and your instincts should be your perfect guide.

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Whatever needs to be done for someone else and if your instincts tell you to make yourself happy first, please do so. Everyone has needs and everyone can make sacrifices but our happiness should be first. This doesn’t mean you don’t make some sacrifices but sometimes it’s best to make yourself happy first before you can make others happy.

2. Distance shouldn’t be a barrier

“If the vehicle can’t take the messenger, it could at least take the message”. This beautiful aged proverb implies that the message is more important than the sender.

Beautiful relationship quotes can help brighten the cloudy storm around your relationship. The greatest relationship mistakes made over time is the belief that only showers of gifts and being together are what sustains relationships. Well, this has been proven wrong.

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A beautiful message to a loved one like inspiring love message on their profile can break any distance barrier. Little things matters and this is one thing people often neglect. However the distance, people feel special knowing they are remembered, knowing someone somewhere is thinking about them.

3. Remember seasonal celebrations

Many seasons of a year bring holidays periods for families, friends and loved ones to come together and have a wonderful time. Keeping these moments memorable must be your focus – birthdays, weddings, marriage anniversaries and all.

A great feast among the numerous feasts celebrated every year “Christmas” is a perfect time to reach out to families and friends, to have a merry filled moments that makes up for the times of separation, to exchange gifts and inspiring messages with those we sincerely care about. If we can’t be together with those we love in these special seasons, Christmas messages shouldn’t be beyond our reach too.

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If keeping our relationships with people especially those we hold most dear matters much to us, these seasons should be kept in our minds. Remembering seasons and sharing happy moments is one of the proven ways to keep our relationships with loved ones.

4. Take the responsibility

Most times, it’s very easy to find something wrong with a relationship when we are unhappy. Blaming other people for our own feelings we expect them to come up with solutions for the problems and we give them total control over the relationship. Well, expecting a solution from this kind of situation is simply expecting something that will never come because you haven’t actually found the cause of the problem.

Before blaming someone else for what you feel,or for something you/they should have done earlier, the best solution is to look deeper into the problem to see if there is something you could have done to savage the situation, something that could have prevented the problem. Taking responsibilities for problems gives us the creative power for their solutions but if we blame someone else, we shouldn’t be surprised if they don’t do anything to find a solution and the problem becomes even worse.

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MICHAEL LILY

Writer/entrepreneural development specialist

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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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