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5 Tips for Rocking Your Body Acceptance This Year

5 Tips for Rocking Your Body Acceptance This Year

2017 is here, and body acceptance has taken over in a great way! Women all over are beginning to embrace the skin they’re in, and loving themselves no matter what size or body type they have. It’s truly a beautiful thing, and the fashion industry has begun to take notice. More than ever, designers are beginning to branch out adn cater to women in extended sizes, and runways have been spiced up with even more beautiful women that represent various sizing of women worldwide. Here are a few tips on how you can continue to embrace body acceptance throughout the year.

Don’t be afraid to go bold 

In the past, we as plus sized women were expected to wear clothing that didn’t draw major attention to ourselves. I can remember reading tips that suggested plus size women should only wear dark colors, especially encouraging black because it was slimming to the eye. Those days are long gone, and it’s time you embrace all the beautiful hues your fashionable heart desires! Try that beautiful deep orange that’s perfect for Fall, or that hot pink shade you’ve had your eyes set on for this upcoming Summer. Don’t be afraid to stand out boldly, because darling….you were never meant to fit in. Try out different colors, both light and dark, until you decide which ones complement you best.

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Mix and Match

Have fun with your style. play around with the mixing and matching of different prints to remix your normal wardrobe. Take risks you may have never been comfortable taking. Give your outfits some extra sass by color blocking or mixing different textures. Lace and leather is one of my fave mix & match combinations. It’s the feminine softness paired with that tough edge that I feel reflects my personality.

Of course, not everything can be paired, but if you experiment with different combinations enough you’ll eventually find great pairings that work for you. Don’t be afraid to check out blogs and networks (like Pinterest) for styling ideas.

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Block out your critics

Although body acceptance and positivity has become more popular these days, unfortunately there will always be those that seek to make plus sized women feel insecure. Let’s face it: there will always be hurt, insecure people that will try to hurt other people with their words and behavior. Remove this negativity from your life, both on and offline.

Stop surrounding yourself with people who make you feel uncomfortable for their own amusement, and people who don’t seem to like that you love yourself just the way you are. Stop reading nasty comments aimed at those who look like you, and instead focus on those who celebrate and embrace you. You don’t have to be a finished product to love yourself just the way you are. Wear what makes you feel good, and surround yourself with people who don’t try to compromise the way you feel about yourself or your body type.

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Flaunt what you love, minimize what you don’t

 We all have days where we feel that some things are just off. You may have a day that your legs are looking great, but you feel that your cleavage isn’t sitting as nice as they normally do. You may feel that your arms are looking nice in the top you’re wearing, but you’re feeling like your waistline isn’t looking as snatched today. No one said that body acceptance means that you’ll think every little thing about yourself is perfect every moment of each day. Crappy “off” days will happen, and that’s okay.

Take time to play up the things you feel look great, emphasizing your strong points and simply minimizing the areas you may not feel so great about all the time. If you’re not feeling your legs today, throw on a cute pair of jeans with a stunning top. If you feel bloated, find a flowy dress that disguises your midsection and instead focuses on your legs and statement heels. Take time to make note of the things you love about your body, and the things you’d like to improve. You don’t have to stay home feeling unpretty or like you have nothing to wear simply because you’re having an “off ” day. Learn to shop for emphasizing pieces as well as minimizers to get you through each season.

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Wear your confidence 

A smile is your greatest accessory. It warms any color combination you could ever come up with. I love the saying, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile.” A lot of times it’s your confidence that brings an outfit alive, and makes you stand out. Don’t be afraid to own your style choices and carry yourself like the stylish diva you are. What better way to send a message of confidence than a warm smile as you go throughout your day?

Featured photo credit: Yahoo Images via yth.org

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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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