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How to Spice up Your Relationship and Keep It Fresh and Exciting

How to Spice up Your Relationship and Keep It Fresh and Exciting

Love and marriage take work. If you neglect your relationship, the connection you have with your partner will wither, and perhaps even get lost.

Needless to say, if you care about your relationship and want it to succeed, you need to work on it. You need to communicate well. You need to work on a solution to any problems that may arise. You need to face any threat to your relationship together with trust and compassion. And you need to try new things to keep it fresh and exciting.

This article is about how to spice up a relationship. I am going to give you 6 things you can do to keep things fresh and exciting for both you and your partner, and keep the connection you have with your partner strong.

1. Talk More Deeply and Openly

The first thing that I recommend most people is to learn to be more honest and open with your partner. If you and your partner already share a deep connection and you already share everything with each other, you probably don’t need to do this.

But if you are like most couples, who don’t talk about everything and don’t have a deep connection, then you will most likely find this extremely helpful and refreshing.

Here’s what you should do:

Imagine having a life where you can share everything with your partner. Your fears, your past, your weird thoughts, your aspirations, your life goals, your work goals, your fantasies and anything that comes to your mind.

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As you were reading the above sentence and imagining sharing these things with your partner, try to notice where exactly did you feel a resistance. In which part exactly your mind was like,

“I can’t share that with my partner.”

For example, maybe you were like, “I can’t share my fantasies with my partner. They are too weird.”

If you feel a resistance towards being a 100% open with your partner about everything, then that’s a weak link in your relationship with your partner. Moreover, it’s also a source of shame or fear for you. Not only are you afraid of your partner finding out about this, you are ashamed of a part of yourself.

If that’s you, I urge you to try to talk to your partner about this. Broach the subject to gauge where your partner stands and tell them how you feel about it. It may turn into a serious discussion or even a heated argument; but in the end, you will be glad you did it because if your partner truly thinks you are special, they will accept you for who you are.

Ultimately, sharing and being honest with your partner about everything is only going to bring you both closer.

2. Share Your Fantasies

This one is quite obvious and an advice you will find pretty much everywhere. This advice is so common because it works.

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When you share your fantasies, not only is it an act of vulnerability that brings you closer to each other, it also opens up the doors to a lot of adventures and sexual pleasures. Both of which brings you together.

The only thing that may go wrong here is if you share your fantasies with too much expectation. A lot of time, people share their fantasies with their partner with a presumption that their partner will want to fulfill their fantasy. And if they find out their partner is not willing to partake in the fantasy, they get upset and feel bitter about it.

When you are being vulnerable to someone, you should do it without any expectations and returns. Being vulnerable is not an act of trade. When you are being vulnerable, you should do it only with the intention of opening up to your partner.

If your partner is not comfortable with whatever your fantasies are, accept it and respect their boundaries. They might open up later, but that should not be something you should push them to do.

3. Travel Together

What better way to keep things fresh than to travel to a fresh new place, with fresh people, new food, new culture and new friendships?

When you travel with your partner, you will experience a new culture together and you will both get to share your experience with each other.

When you experience something new with someone, you associate that novelty with that person. By traveling, you will start associating novelty and excitement with your partner, and that will bring you both together and make you more attracted to each other.

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If you are traveling, make sure you define exactly what you want to do as a couple. If your goal is to reconnect and keep things fresh, then I highly recommend you go to a place that has a different culture from where you are living right now.

4. Games – All Types of Games

Games are one of the best ways to keep things fresh and entertaining for a couple. The best part is that you can choose any type of games that you find appealing. It could be video games, board games, sports, or something fun like paintball. As long as it’s a game, you can get better at and it’s competitive, you can do it together as a couple and enjoy every moment of it.

The reason why games are great at this is because they are relatively cheaper than most other options. You don’t have to spend a fortune traveling. You can just purchase an interesting board game and start playing it with friends and family.

Moreover, games give you something to talk about and do together. Before you know it, you will both be looking forward to the weekend when you can meet up with your friends for game night.

5. Charity/Volunteer Work

It may not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear about keeping things fresh. But volunteer work can make a huge difference in the way you see things and the world.

When you both dedicate some time to help the society and your fellow human beings, you will both learn more about each other and appreciate each other more. Not to mention you will have some of the most rewarding experience of your life. It will also give you an idea about what’s important for your partner.

The best way to go about doing volunteer work is to speak about it with your partner. Talk about it and discuss what is important for both of you and how to best make an impact in the world. Even if the impact you make is small, you will be glad you did because it will affect the life of another living being.

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6. Challenge Each Other

Couples who challenge each other to improve are the ones who love to play with each other and are involved in each other’s life. It doesn’t always have to be about something serious. You can help each other reach your life goals by challenging each other and keep each other accountable. Just make sure that you are being supportive and not talking them down.

For example, if your partner’s goal is to lose weight; you can encourage them by placing a bet with them to reach their goal weight by a certain time limit. If they win, you give them something that they really want (like that sexual position that they always wanted to try). If they lose, then they give you something that you really want. This way, you keep things fun and help each other at the same time.

But if you take it too seriously, you may get disappointed if they don’t reach their goal weight. And you may end up saying something that hurt them, causing them to feel insecure in the relationship.

So, it’s important to be careful when you are encouraging your partner to grow. Wrong expectations can lead to arguments and sometimes irreparable damage.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of things that you can do to keep things fresh and exciting in a relationship. But it’s always best to start with proper communication and understanding.

Make sure you are not just trying to keep things fresh because there is an underlying issue that’s causing you both to drift apart. If there are issues in your relationship, work on them first before trying new things.

And whatever you decide to do, don’t take it too seriously. Remember, the goal is to keep the relationship fresh and alive, and that should always be your top priority.

More About Maintaining a Healthy Relationship

Featured photo credit: Jared Sluyter via unsplash.com

More by this author

Kevin Thompson

A breakup and relationship expert who writes about reconciliation and becoming a better person

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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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