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Keeping A Dog Can Help You Become The Best Version Of Yourself, Study Finds

Keeping A Dog Can Help You Become The Best Version Of Yourself, Study Finds

Dogs really do make this world a better place. A recent research was conducted to survey over 1,000 Americans online to find out just “how good” our dogs are for us. According to the results, most dog parents have learned to be more patient, selfless, and loving. Keep reading to see how having a dog can really benefit your life:

1. We are the most patient

    Dogs are pretty smart, just not smart enough to read our minds. It’s up to us to teach them right from wrong and good from bad. You must remain consistent in your praise and punishment. Getting them to learn commands and to stay off the furniture requires everyday patience. No vacations or half days, but you’ll become a better person for it.

    2. They get us more excited to get up in the morning

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      It’s hard getting up in the morning. Hearing our alarms go off is something we dread. However, 71% percent of people from the study reported that they had an increased feeling of overall happiness when having a pet to wake up to in the morning. One in four of those same people said they didn’t feel as inclined to hit the snooze button because they got excited to get up and begin their day with their pup.

      3. What are boundaries? We don’t have any

        Having a dog really breaks down most of our barriers. Well over 43% of people said they let their dog follow them into the bathroom. If you get to watch them go every day, it would only seem right for them to invade your privacy as well. It’s all out of love, and love has no boundaries.

        4. We aren’t comfortable until the dog is

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          Some of us are guilty of sharing the bed with our dogs. Over a third of owners said they will cater to their pup to ensure they get a great night sleep, even if that means they’re sleeping on the edge of the bed. We put up with the snoring and lack of space to spread out, a sacrifice over half said they would not tolerate for another human being. If that’s not love, I’m not sure what is.

          5. We become overly generous

            Our generosity knows no boundaries. 97% of those surveyed said they would go way out of their way just to make their dog happy. 93% said they can’t wait to get home after a long day to see them, so it would only make sense to not come home without a new toy or their favorite treat. Being generous is a great quality to have when it’s directed at the right person, and maybe that’s just your dog right now and that’s okay!

            6. We are just so loveable!

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              As a dog owner, you know the importance of them liking someone you’re thinking about letting into your little pack. Learning to allow yourself to let down your walls and be more affectionate through your pet can really benefit all your current and future relationships.

              7. We know how to work through and talk about our emotions

                We’ve gone through pretty bad breakups at one point or another, lost a family member, got into an argument with our BFF, you know what I mean. Human support systems are great to have, but there’s just a level of comfort and affection you get from your dog. 85% of dog parents said their dog has gotten them through some pretty difficult times. Almost the same amount consider their dog to be their best friend.

                8. We will give up wine and binge watching shows on Netflix

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                  Can you believe that 90% of dog owners would literally give up anything for a whole month if they knew it would make their dog happier? This includes drinking and watching their favorite TV shows. That’s quite the commitment and dedication. Being able to give up habits at the drop of a hat for the ones you love is something to take pride in.

                  Final reminder: It’s important to keep in mind that having a dog is like having a child. It’s a lifelong commitment, and responsibility is the key!

                  More by this author

                  Erica Wagner

                  Erica is a passionate writer who shares inspiring ideas and lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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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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