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The Little Things That Matter In Every Relationship

The Little Things That Matter In Every Relationship

In this self-centered world, it’s hard to keep a romantic relationship going strong. Break-ups happen often for no reason at all, or a reason that could have been overcome if only there was a will to do so. Sometimes, it’s the small things that keeps a couple together for a long time.  Here are 10 little things that matter in every relationship.

Say it!

We mean the “I love you” sentence.  If you feel it, say it.  Take your significant other by the hands, look them deep into their eyes, and say it.  A smile is sure to appear on their face.  Three little words that can light up both your days and remind them of how much they are loved.

Watch a romantic movie.

Simple but effective. There are plenty of romantic movies out there to see, but personally, I’d suggest you skip Hollywood movies and focus on European ones. Why? They are not Cinderella like, they have real-life situations and they can be pretty interesting. My favorites are these two.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8I4S4n2Meh4

Be silly together

Letting your inhibitions go and being childlike is something that can easily be forgotten when you’re an adult and especially when you’re a couple.  Being silly together shows that you are comfortable with each other, that you have embraced one another and could be a great reminder why you fell for each other in the first place.  A couple who can laugh and play together is a happy one.

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Say thank you 

It’s not hard to say thank you.

But we don’t mean the default “thank you” such as when someone brings you a cup of coffee. We mean a “thank you” for the things that really matter.  When they hold your hand through a crisis, when they lift you up when you fall, when they stay by your side when you’re ill. In those situations gratitude is rarely expressed with words, but can go a long way to make the other person feel special and cared for.

Compliments

Compliments are wonderful. It’s an instant lift when someone acknowledges you in a positive light, especially when it’s coming from someone you love.  It shows that you’re noticed, appreciated and admired.  Complimenting your partner on their looks, their personality, their positive spirit or whatever else you admire or love about them is something you can’t do too much of.  It’s a small gesture that can make a huge, positive impact on your relationship.

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Do what the significant other enjoy

If he likes to watch sports, watch with him and cheer on his favorite team.  Listen and take interest in what your partner likes to do, even if it’s not your personal favorite.  In turn, when you want to do an activity that you enjoy, they’ll be open and willing to do it with you as well.  Going outside of your comfort zone and sitting through an opera or ballet for the simple fact that she enjoys it, speaks volumes to your significant other.  It’s a small gesture that shows you want to be with them and that you go out of your way to see them happy in their element.

Travel together

Did you know that some couples don’t travel together before their honeymoon? It may come as a big surprise to realize that you’re not comfortable traveling with each other after years and years of relationship, and that’s normal, but there’s a cure.

Start now. When you find yourself far away from the place you live in, you have only each other to rely on, you will spend more time together- just the two of you, and you will create memories.  If you can’t afford a big vacation, try doing a ‘staycation’ and explore cities and sights around you that are nearby.  Whether or not it turns out to be a great vacation, it will give you both a shared experience and something to talk about that will bring you closer.

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A little present goes a long way

It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate, in fact, it can be the simple act of getting them their favorite ice cream on the way home because you know they had a long, hard day at work.  It’s not the present but the gesture and the thought that went into it that will be appreciated more so than the actual ‘thing’ you got them.  Have they been talking about getting a certain book or waiting to see a certain movie?  Buy that book when it comes out or make a date for the day the movie opens, not only will they be happy but they’ll know that you listen to them and you care.

Cuddle

Cuddling is the best way to show that you love someone. Cuddling has this wonderful ability to soothe away the pain and calm you down.  It works both ways. Not only will your partner feel relaxed, but you will shake off some of that everyday stress. And when it’s cold, you could keep each other warm.

Take their side in an argument

This is more important than you think. You should always back your partner up when they are having a brawl, even if you think that they are not in the right. You must never leave them standing on their own in an argument. At the very least, you should try and bring the argument to an end. That way they will know that you have their back, that they can rely on you and that you love them. This is a little thing that makes a BIG difference.

Some of these advice you know already. Some of these are new to you, but trust us, they come from years of experience, and they really work. Let us know your thoughts.

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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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