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Average Couples See Chores as a Cornerstone, Happy Couples See Them as the Gem Stone

Average Couples See Chores as a Cornerstone, Happy Couples See Them as the Gem Stone

There’s nothing quite so frustrating as coming home from work to realize that your house is a mess, dinner needs to be cooked, and there’s a mountain of laundry for you to do. All of us spend time dealing with chores, but this scenario is even more frustrating when you arrive to find that mess and a partner who doesn’t seem to care about it.

Chores may seem trivial, but are a big deal

After faithfulness and sex, sharing household chores is one of the most important components of a successful marriage.[1] Many people hold a perception that a healthy relationship centers around the major milestones. Engagement, marriage, romantic dates, anniversaries, and gift-giving are obvious points of discussion in our relationships. These are big things because they seem to have the greatest impact on our lives with our significant others.

Some may think that it’s better to talk about work, what’s on TV, or what’s happening over the weekend instead of devoting some of the conversation to cleaning the house.

But think about it, about 80% of our lives are made up of chores. Everything–from what you eat to what you wear to how clean your house is–comes down to how proficient we are with our chores.

To put it into perspective, think about how much time you spend doing basic things like feeding yourself. If it takes you an hour to make a meal and you eat three meals every day, you’ll spend three hours on meal prep daily. Over the course of 365 days, that comes out to 1,095 hours, or 45 days in the kitchen.

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Even those clothes on your back create a serious time commitment. If you spend an average of an hour per day on washing and ironing, by the end of one year, you will spend 15 days on laundry. Cleaning your house for three hours per week takes 156 hours of your year, which comes out to nearly 7 days.

From these few tasks, we’re spending two months per year on chores. This isn’t even considering other duties such as child care, lawn care, or vehicle upkeep. If couples can’t agree on the chores, that means that they will spend at least two months of their year resenting their significant other for their lack of contributions to the household. Without a plan, the chores can quickly become overwhelming for at least one partner. Whenever there’s an imbalance, the relationship suffers.

Happy couples run a household like a business

Instead of waiting for the dishes to pile up, and allowing the resentment to stack up along with them, couples should enter into a business agreement about chores. The “business” is making a couple’s home run efficiently so that both of them can live happily in it.

Usually when couples don’t talk about the chores, one person ends up doing most of the work. They wind up managing the finances, making repairs, cooking, and cleaning. This is exhausting, and even the best partner is prone to becoming overwhelmed or making mistakes.

When one partner feels under-appreciated, he or she might lose motivation to continue with the business of running the household. This sentiment will ultimately erode the partnership.

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A fair distribution of responsibilities will help the business run smoothly. Both partners will feel that their needs are met, and they’ll be happy.

The first step in all of this is shining light on what you both do around the house. Chances are, you and your partner are both contributing to the household, but you don’t even realize it. When you show one another what you’re doing to make the house work, you can use chores to help you play as a team.

As the 5th and final stage of a romantic relationship, playing as a team makes you to unite as a common front. As a unit, you can work to achieve a happy, organized, and loving household. Read more about the 5 stages of love here: There Are 5 Stages Of Love, But Sadly Many Couples Stop At Stage 3

The process of figuring out who should do each chore will differ based on the couple’s needs. Both of you will need to decide on responsibilities at home, and it doesn’t matter whether you are the boss at work or the entry-level worker. You leave your rank at the door and become a business partner with a vested interest in your household as soon as you get home.

Talk about chores, bond with chores

I have a few tips to help couples to establish the ground-rules for the business of keeping up their house.

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1. Be clear about what needs to be done and when.

The more specific you are about what needs to be done, who will be doing this, and when it needs to be completed, the better. Each partner needs to talk about their expectations and priorities for the household. In addition to thinking about basic things like the who/what/when of doing the chores, spend some time talking about why it’s important to do these things and how the tasks should be completed.[2]

You both may have different expectations, and this could be a cause for bickering down the road. Prevent problems by talking through chores in detail. Make a list of what needs to be done, and identify which chores are the most loathsome for each partner. You can compromise so that neither of you is stuck doing chores that you can’t stand.

You wouldn’t run a business without discussing the various aspects of it’s day-to-day operation with your partner. When it comes to running your house, you should be just as explicit about what needs to be done.

2. Review and adjust your plans as necessary.

If you were running an actual business, you and your partner would work together to maximize strengths and work around weaknesses. You’d divide labor to get the best results. It’s worthwhile to periodically discuss whether you are accomplishing your tasks in the most efficient way possible. It works the same for chores.

Making a plan is only half the battle. You’ll need to revisit your plan from time to time to make sure that it’s still working. For example, if you partner has to work late on a major project this week, you might agree to temporarily take on more chores to assist.

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Checking in with one another prevents frustration. If you can work together to get more work done in an efficient manner, it’s going to make your relationship stronger.

3. Take time to acknowledge effort.

In business, leaders know that acknowledging hard work builds loyalty and mutual respect.[3] Loyalty and mutual respect are powerful components of a healthy romantic relationship as well. So at home, couples should acknowledge each other’s effort too.

Show your appreciation when your partner keeps up his or her half of the bargain. When you express your gratitude over the effort your partner exerts to make your home a nice place, you make them feel appreciated and motivated.

Run the chores or the chores run you

Instead of letting chores get out of hand until one partner grudgingly does them all, come up with a plan. Together, you and your partner can establish expectations that will lead you both to have a more comfortable home, and a more supportive relationship.

Chores may seem like little things, but they have so much influence that we ought to consider them big things. Work as a team to figure out how you will clear these tasks from your schedule in an efficient manner. You’ll have more time together, and you’ll appreciate one another more if you treat your household like a well-run business.

Reference

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Anna Chui

Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the Content Strategist of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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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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