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If You Have These 5 Struggles, You’re A Highly Creative Person

If You Have These 5 Struggles, You’re A Highly Creative Person

The world needs creative people but sometimes being naturally creative can come at a price. We all reap the benefits of creation but what goes on in the mind of a highly creative person is often far from what we see on the outside.

Confidence seems synonymous with creative people, but a lot of the time they are struggling with much of what goes on in their mind through the way they think and perceive the world compared to others.

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If you’re a highly creative person, the struggles and challenges you face can leave you feeling isolated or lonely. Even people close to you may make you feel like no one gets you and aren’t mindful of how you are really feeling. With this in mind, here are five common struggles that should be acknowledged and understood towards those who are highly creative.

1. You Are Sometimes Misunderstood

Having different thought processes is what makes a creative mind what it is. Without thinking differently about things, new ideas and creations wouldn’t be made a reality. We tend to filter everything we see through our way of thinking and this can go against societal norms. People therefore often judge us or misunderstand us by the way we think, act, or even dress and these sorts of misunderstandings can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation, lack of acceptance, or being separated from others.

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2. You Are Self-Absorbed

By this I don’t mean selfish, but more about being consumed with your own feelings and situations. This inevitably leads to over-thinking problems and worrying unnecessarily about the turn-out of a situation or future events. Creative people tend to be very critical about themselves and judge themselves for their more-than-normal feelings and emotions, which can sometimes come across as being self-absorbed unintentionally.

3. You Perceive The World Differently Than Others

To be part of the creative process, you need to have a different perspective of ideas, concepts, and viewpoints. The problem with this is that highly creative people tend to apply this to much of the way they see the world. Seeing things in a different way than others can bring with it a sense of apprehension or lack of comprehension from other people, which can feel frustrating and sometimes isolating.

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4. You Focus More On Imagination Than The Reality of What Is

Imagination is what powers a creative mind. We all live in our own heads but highly creative people tend to love relishing in an alternate reality. While this can be used in a positive way, it can also be detrimental because any negative elements in our imagination can get blown out of proportion. This can result in creating more of a problem than there actually is because the overactive imagination can create false beliefs. Using the imagination for dreaming up ideas, better thoughts, beliefs, and perspectives is a bonus for creative people but once it starts to err on the side of negative, it can be a problematic trait to have.

5. You Actively Seek Criticism From Others

Another problem creative people tend to adopt is a feeling of low self-worth. Constantly putting your ideas and dreams out there can result in experiencing much more negative feedback than people who don’t. It obviously depends on how you look at these experiences, but many creative people develop a lack of self-confidence and feeling like they’re not good enough. Making this a habit means you can actively start to seek criticism from others or even just expect it too much. It’s almost like you’re subconsciously trying to find conformation to validate your belief that you’re just not as good as you can be.

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The world needs creative people so no matter how much you feel like you’re struggling to be heard and understood, feel safe in the knowledge that you are a major contributor to this planet as much as everyone else. Don’t be afraid to be your true self and let go of negative beliefs about yourself. Don’t let anyone stop you from being the wonderful, creative person you are.

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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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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