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10 Productive Things To Do Instead Of Watching TV

10 Productive Things To Do Instead Of Watching TV

We all know TV is helpful to us in many ways. But with more and more competition among channels and media, it has turned into a tool for a waste of time. However, very few people watch TV for any beneficial reason. Most of the people out there just watch TV to relieve their stress, for the sake of habit or for entertainment. While there is nothing wrong with these things, when you become addicted to TV you waste your most important time on reality shows and nonsense news rather than on productive things. And if you are like most people who are addicted to TV and want an alternative to break your habit, here are 10 alternate things you can do instead of sitting on the couch and watching TV.

1. Read a book/newspaper.

Read an interesting book on your topic of interest. At least you’ll learn something useful related to your area of interest. Read a newspaper so that you can find out new things happening in your city or any event about to take place. This way, you’ll learn more about the real world surrounding you rather than just virtual world.

2. Call a friend.

Making new friends is very easy but what matters is maintaining that friendship. Call a friend whom you haven’t talked for a long time or follow up with someone who you met last week/last month. Reminding them that you care will not only bring a smile to their face but strengthen your relationship.

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3. De-clutter/organize/clean your home.

Your home is your heaven. There is no place on Earth as good as your own home. We feel the safest in the world at this place. So next time instead of sitting in your couch, clean your home. If it’s already clean, then organize it. If that’s also done, then de-clutter and remove things you don’t want. You’ll be more relieved when you own fewer things. Clean, organized and few things will help you focus on other important things in your life.

4. Join a class.

Join a hobby or activity class like music, dance, yoga, swimming, etc. There are a number of activities going on in your surroundings. Step out and learn something new. Your future self will thank you for it.

5. Teach someone what you know.

No matter how dumb you think you are, you can always teach someone something that you know, whether it be cooking or teaching on a particular school subject. If you think you are not smart enough to teach, think again. You can always teach people younger than you about what you’ve learned till now. Don’t hold yourself back. Go out there and make a difference. Your confidence will sky rocket once you do this and it’s very easy.

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6. Visit someone.

Visit a relative or a friend of yours. Calling on the phone and visiting someone actually is a lot different. This way of approaching people, just to know about their lives or to know about their health matters a lot to them. Don’t procrastinate. It’ll compensate 10 times more than your missed TV show.

7. Rethink your goals.

The goals you make in life changes as time passes. Today is the best time to revisit your goals. Think of why you made them, add any new goals to your list, think of what has been done and what needs to be done to accomplish them. It’ll motivate you to work more and inspire you to make them come true.

8. Organize a gathering.

You don’t need to organize an expensive picnic or outing to get together. Call your friends and organize a gathering at your home. Get together and relive old memories. The warmth and laughter of people around you and their support is better than all the celebrities you admire and who you’ll never meet or even know in this lifetime.

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9. Do something outside your comfort zone.

Do one thing every day that scares you. It can be asking for extra time off from work, asking out a guy/girl, making that bold move in your business, or taking a courageous step in face of uncertainty. I know that will not take 2-3 hours but the amount of preparation you’ll need to take these steps will definitely cost you hour, as you’ll be acting against your comfort zone. But that time invested in fear and acting against it will take you far ahead in life.

10. Reach out the people ahead in your field.

We all have someone that we admire in our field. Your job is to learn from their failure and their success. Reach out to them either physically or virtually and pick their brain. You’ll be surprised at the amount of knowledge and information you get by just listening to them for 30 minutes.

Most of the people watch 2-3 hours of TV daily. Imagine if we only pick one hour daily to do the things mentioned above instead of TV. How would your life change over a course of few months/years?

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Featured photo credit: tv’s via photopin.com

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Dhaval Gajera

Author and Speaker.

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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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