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10 Things Emotionally Resilient People Don’t Do

10 Things Emotionally Resilient People Don’t Do

Emotional resilience is trendy, so read on. Basically, this means that if you are emotionally resilient, you can bounce back from most setbacks that life can throw at you. In times of stress, failure or even a natural disaster, your emotional resilience will be put to the test. The word ‘resilience’ comes from the Latin word ‘resilio’ which means to bounce back. Business people, social workers and school children can all benefit from this emotional fitness. So, how emotionally fit are you? Let us look at what these people never do because they have a natural talent to cope with the stress of everyday living.

1. They don’t  waste energy on negativity

When these people are in a traffic jam, they accept that it is part of the deal of commuting to work. They are able to take advantage of this and listen to their favourite music on their MP3 or the radio. They realize that their anger, bad mood or temper is not going to change the situation one little bit. It is just another part of acceptance but also an opportunity. They are also able to reflect on what is going well and how grateful they should be. “Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that – thoughts.” – Allan Lokos

 2. They don’t reject mindfulness as rubbish

Living in the present and savoring sensations and feelings is the core teaching in mindfulness. Emotionally resilient people know this instinctively or learn it. They use it as a protective shield against the following toxic emotions:

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  • Regrets about past decisions
  • Envy of others’ success
  • Worrying about the future

 3. They don’t let tragedy mark them for life

We all have scars and we all have suffered from tragedy whether it be break ups, illness, bereavement, job loss or mental illness. Now emotionally fit people can see that this adversity is short lived. They have a goal which will enable them to overcome the sadness and become a stronger and more capable person. They see change as an integral part of life and are prepared for some moments of despair, sadness and discomfort. They have often been compared to a bamboo cane in a storm which is bent by the force of the wind but is not broken.

4. They don’t lock themselves away

Emotionally unfit people tend to wallow in their own downward spiral of negativity. But the resilient ones are going to find the time to make real social contact, keep physically fit by going for a walk or a run, and help the less fortunate. They know and savor the fact that these are healthy distractions which are essential for self-care.

5. They don’t limit themselves to one solution

These people are prepared to admit that they see everything through a filter. They look at a problem from many angles and try to think outside the box. They know that their own personal bias can become a default position. That is why they seek to widen their view knowing that they are growing towards empowerment. They are also prepared to wait, rather than seeking answers and quick fix solutions.

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6. They don’t control their impulses

Our impulse control is governed by the size of the orbitofrontal cortex region of the brain. Research shows that people who had a smaller cortex were more subject to more impulsive behavior such as shopping, drinking, smoking, gambling and sex. Emotionally resilient people tend to keep these impulses at bay by thinking about consequences and how they will feel afterwards, when it may be too late.

7. They don’t let time heal

“It’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way you carry it.”- Lena Horne

Time heals sorrow, loss and trauma. But many emotionally unfit people are not prepared to let time take its course. It is as if they wanted to abolish all the pain and suffering with one magic pill. They are more aware of chronological time rather than kairos time. The latter is one of the keys to emotional resilience because it teaches us about the pace with which our personal journey moves forward with all the emotional inheritance we have gathered along the way.

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8. They don’t laugh enough

“To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it.” – Charlie Chaplin

If you read the book by Drs. Steven and Sybil Wolin called ‘The Resilient Self’ you will learn how humor and laughter play a very important role in helping to build emotional resilience. Humor helps us to see the absurdity of a situation which may be painful. In addition, laughter itself is a physical reaction which can reduce the stress hormone called cortisol and increase the feel good endorphins.

9. They don’t regard happiness as a top priority

Research has shown that where couples are dominated by one partner who is always right, the couple’s happiness was at risk. The preference of being happy rather than always right is a trait of emotionally resilient people.

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10. They don’t persevere enough

If people do not have clear goals, they tend to quit after minor setbacks. But emotionally resilient people can see the bigger picture and can follow an action plan which helps them achieve mini goals. They regard setbacks as minor interruptions. This is why these people never give up. As we have seen emotionally resilient people are able to keep calm and collected in the face of enormous setbacks and not lose their hope or determination. Let us know in the comments below about how you cope with stress and failure.

Featured photo credit: Bamboo in the wind/ Luis Alejandro Bernal Romero via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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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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