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10 Things Singles Should Do

10 Things Singles Should Do

While the sanctity of marriage remains a prominent cultural aspect with global relevance, the rate of divorce remains comparatively high in developed economies throughout the world. This is creating a higher volume of singles,who subsequently have a tremendous chance to develop as individuals and significantly better their lives before embracing commitments such as marriage, home-ownership and child rearing.

With this in mind, let’s consider 10 things that you should look to do or accomplish while you are single and before you embark on a long-term relationship:

1. Travel independently and as often as possible

Travelling is a wonderful thing to do whilst you are single. It is one of the few things in life that allows you to have a sense of complete freedom, and travelling independently helps you to optimize this sense of liberty and abandon. By travelling alone you can literally go wherever you wish to in this world, without having to compromise on your experience or the type of holiday’s that you aim to enjoy.

Given that travelling abroad has the potential to expand our horizons and to help us become more rounded individuals, doing so as an individual will enable you to absorb as much cultural knowledge as possible. So long as you are able to choose suitable destinations and purchase insurance coverage that protects you in specific regions of the world, you can travel safely while becoming a more rounded and complete person.

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2. Live Alone as an Independent Adult

Similarly, living alone as a single adult enables you to learn more about yourself in a stressful, intense and satisfying manner. Above all else, it allows you to become comfortable with your own company and live happily in solitude, as you reflect on your life and consider future goals. This will make you far less likely to choose unsuitable romantic partners when you are older, or make relationship decisions that are based ondesperation and a desire not be alone. Given the stress that can be caused by romantic separation and divorce, living alone as a singleton can spare you from considerable heartache and distress in the future.

3. Establish Routines and Coping Mechanisms

They say that humans are creatures of habit, and there is a good reason for this. More specifically, we thrive on routines as it enables us to cope with the stress of our busy and occasionally complicated lives. It is particularly beneficial to develop these physical and emotional routines while you are single because, unlike when you are in a relationship, you are completely independent and only have yourself to rely on.

This is empowering, as you can develop a greater understanding of your psyche and establish routines or psychological coping mechanisms without becoming co-dependent withanother person. You can also become a more rounded and confident individual, who is able to serve as a source of strength and assistance for others.

4. Work out what you want from a Relationship

If there is one most imprtant thing that you should do while you are single, it is to work out what you want from your future partner. This is far easier to do when you are not already in a relationship, as the concepts of time and space enable you to have perspective and develop a clear understanding of what you want in a life partner. It also has additional benefits, as it enables you to break bad dating habits and create good one’s going forward. So not only will you be able to identify a compatible partner when the time comes, but you can also create a favorable impression and afford the relationship the best possible chance of long-term success.

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5. Donate and assist charities

Donating your time and energy to charity can be a life enriching experience. Helping those that are perhaps less fortunate than you, not only ensures that you appreciate what you do have, but also what you do not actually need. It may even change your perspective on the aspects of your life which are actually important to you. This is a particularly wonderful thing to do whilst you are single as you will have the freedom to donate as much of your free time or disposable income as you wish; without having to consider any social engagements your partner may wish to attend.

There is a whole wealth of volunteering opportunities out there, while there are a number of socially conscious brands that deliver initiatives that you should be aware of.By taking part in initiatives such as TNT’s Christmas drive to offer the free delivery of donated goods and items, you can help those less fortunate than yourself and aid your personal growth in the process.

6. Listen to your gut and go on spontaneous adventures

Once you embark on a long-term relationship, you can encumber a number of responsibilities including marriage, home-ownership and raising children. Although these are varied in their nature, they are bound by financial obligations and the need to budget your income in a responsible and productive manner. As a singleton you are free from such restrictions, however, meaning that you have a unique opportunity to indulge your passions and achieve more selfish, potentially irresponsible goals.

The more you invest in care-free and self-centered experiences when you are single, the more content you will become to settle down and embrace the responsibilities associated with adult relationships.

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7. Save Money on a Regular Basis

On a similar note, the financial responsibilities associated with owning a home or raising children can make it extremely difficult to save money. So while saving money while you are single may be challenging, you may never have a better opportunity to reduce your monthly expenditure, invest your disposable income and focus on your life goals.

With the average rate of disposable income set to rise in line with global economic expansion throughout 2015, singleton’s will have an even greater opportunity to save their hard-earned cash on a regular basis. Saving when you are single and able allows you to lay the foundations for future financial security, while making it easier to accomplish goals once you have embarked on a relationship, such as purchasing a home or planning a wedding.

8. Achieve the Ideal Work-life Balance

You cannot hope to save or achieve financial stability without a regular source of income, whether you are single or in a relationship. Managing your career development alongside a relationship or life as a parent can be particularly challenging, however, as you must divide the same amount of time between a wider range of activities. It is therefore important to develop your career as aggressively as possible as a singleton, while also determining a suitable work-life balance to create a seamless and productive everyday routine. If you can achieve this, you will find it far easier to embark on a successful relationship and fulfill your additional responsibilities as a partner, spouseand parent.

9. Learn New Skills or Achieve Academic Goals

In addition to addressing your work-life balance, you may also want to use your time as a singleton to pursue new skills and academic achievements. This is far harder to do when in a relationship, due to the cost of private or adult education and the amount of time that is required to learn effectively. Not only do you have a clear career focus when single, but you also have the time and disposable income to acquire specific skills and qualifications that will boost your fledgling career. So while some people may consider age to be the primary barrier to learning new skills, it is in fact individual life circumstances and the pressures of embarking on a romantic liaison.

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10. Spend time with your Closest and Dearest Friends

Friendship is a powerful and persuasive bond, but one that can suffer when you devote time and effort into building a romantic relationship. It is therefore crucial that you spend as much time as possible with your closest friends while you are single, as this can be easily balanced alongside your working schedule and any recreational hobbies that you may have. This not only enables you to live in the moment and make the most of your long-term platonic relationships, but it also helps to create viable routines for spending time with friends and loved ones in the future.

Featured photo credit: Kafubra via en.wikipedia.org

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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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