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Where You Can Travel For A Summer Breeze This Christmas

Where You Can Travel For A Summer Breeze This Christmas

The wind is cold and sharp and the snow freezes our boots and toes as we walk. For those who dislike the cold, winter could bring upon a very painful month. From the prickly wind to the cold snow, from our frozen cars to our frozen nose; we definitely would miss the sun.

While in other parts of the world, summer is just starting, but in most parts of the world it’s a sign for a traditional festival as well as a horrendous weather. Sometimes, we wish to find a place where summer would be the weather of Christmas but living in Europe or any other cold countries it seems close to impossible.

So we decided to put together a few countries where it would be perfect to enjoy a nice summer breeze;

1. Kangaroo Island and Adelaide

Australia: a land known for its surfing culture and their love for Marmite is the place to be during December. Ditch Sydney and Melbourne for a more quiet and scenic Adelaide. With beautiful nature far away from civilization, you will be able to find time to think and wind off.

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December is the month of celebration, take a walk down the sunny lanes and enjoy the Christmas markets and musicals that Adelaide has to offer. In this warm weather, you might find it appropriate to go on a trip of wine tasting and enjoying the finest Australia has to offer.

If you’re an animal lover, then don’t hesitate to visit the Kangaroo Island and have the opportunity of a lifetime to experience being in the midst of real life kangaroos. You’ll find koalas as well as various other animals that are cuddly and friendly. However, beware of the various snake species around your vicinity.

2. Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Malaysia a land of culture and people, a land known for its diverse cultural and tropical nature. Their constant warm weather makes it a perfect beach season almost all year round. From its delicious food to its unique culture, Malaysia can bring all of Asia to your doorstep.

However, the one street I would like to highlight here is Pulau Pinang. Being Malaysian myself, I find this particular island irresistible. From its festive culture to its amazing array of food, it’s definitely a place to visit. Pinang is an island with the longest food streets around Asia. From fast food to international food you can find it all there. However, the best part is the exquisite Malaysian food which should never be missed.

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Take a trip down the food lane, from the traditional Char Kueh Teow ( Stir-Fried Rice Noodles ) to Mee Kari ( Egg noodles in curry and various toppings ) to an array of desserts such as Cendol ( Palm sugar, coconut milk ) and a good cup of tea. A country which celebrates food with a reasonable price.

Since it’s Christmas, everyone deserves a feast.

3. Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Lanzarote is a tiny island among the cluster of the Canary Islands. It’s an island where you can lavish yourself as well as your family with a luxurious lifestyle. An island with a warm weather all year long and surrounded by water is the perfect bikini weather. Where you can just take a long swim and continue your reading at the banks of the beach.

Christmas is usually a time of celebration and, for many, a well-deserved break, so taking a trip to the Canaries would be a sweet relief. Have an open grill and enjoy the finest wine available. Be the boss of your own vineyard and visit friendly neighbors. Since the place is rather secluded, tourists there are rather chill instead of running around all the time.

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If you’re headed there with your family, this would be the perfect place for you to bond and create a connection with your loved ones. Well, at least you would be able to end Christmas with an amazing New Years.

Delicious wine and a beautiful scenery is definitely something worth considering.

4. Guatemala

Guatemala has been a famous location for many both celebrities as well as other travelers. Located at the borders of Mexico, it’s a land mixed with both Mayan and Spanish Cultures. In between the Pacific and Carribean seas, it’s surrounded by beautiful landscapes, various inactive volcanoes and exquisite colonial towns.

Amazingly, December is the perfect time to visit Guatemala, from its temples to its beautiful beaches. It’s a perfectly romantic country, hence, if you’re going there on a honeymoon or looking to rekindle the romance in your long-term marriage, this would definitely be the place.

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Unlike other countries, Christmas in Guatemala is unique and celebrated. With a different culture, Christmas brings upon a parade and constant partying. Probably you wouldn’t be sleeping the night of Christmas since you would be partying all night.

In Conclusion

Christmas is the time of celebration. If you’re a fan of the sun, why not celebrate it your way?

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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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