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Last Updated on September 11, 2020

10 Ways To Fix A Bad Relationship

10 Ways To Fix A Bad Relationship

How would you rate your relationship on a scale of 1-10? If you answered “5” or less, you are in a bad relationship that needs some fixing.

Would you describe your life with your significant other as a routine? Nothing is more boring than monotony. Here’s five easy ways to give your relationship a little OOMPH! 

1. Make time for each other.

Absence is rumored to make the heart grow fonder, but that doesn’t mean your relationship can thrive without any time devoted to it.  Life gets busy, especially if you have kids/school/a job/a second job and OMG, ALL THE THINGS; but your relationship is a priority no matter how full your plate may be. Have a daily, 10-minute mini-date where you snuggle up with a silly YouTube video, take a quick walk, have some ice cream, or whatever you both enjoy.

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2. Switch up date-night.

Dinner-and-a-movie is a staple for a reason (because it’s fun), but it can grow stale without the occasional mix-up. For example: You could grab coffee or hot cocoa, go to a park on a breezy day and find yourself with a perfect excuse to cuddle.

3. Take an adventure.

Do something exciting together! You could take a cruise, go on a road-trip, jump out of a plane, visit a rain forest, or climb Mt. Everest.

4. Learn something new.

Tackle a hobby of mutual interest with your partner. Whether you want to learn to speak Italian, become a Jeopardy contestant or create handmade jewelry is up to you. Challenging yourselves to grow will strengthen your bond and shake-up your ho-hum love life.

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5. Create a Bucket List.

Make a list of all the crazy, ambitious, and wonderful things you want to do with your partner. Be happy you have someone to share your life with. Take small steps to make your Bucket List items happen.

6. Count to 10 when you’re angry.

There is no reason to bottle up our feelings in relationships. I know you might be intimidated by conflict, but there is no hiding from it. Sure, you could just keep saying “nothing is wrong,” but that would only delay the inevitable. Feelings that are held in have a way of intensifying. Pissed off? Take a deep breath and let’s deal with it:

If you find word vomit escaping your lips, one of those hurtful things you know you’re going to regret saying later, hold it in and count to ten. Breathe in. Breathe out. Still want to say it? Go for it. Not so much? Crisis averted.

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7. See it from the other side.

“It was a great surprise to me when I discovered that most of the ugliness I saw in others, was but a reflection of my own nature.” -Anonymous

Before you criticize another person, take a second to look at the scenario from their perspective. Most people act the way they do for a reason. See yourself in their eyes to make sure the problem doesn’t reside in yourself.

8. Give and receive.

Did you get a wonderful back rub after a rough day at the office? Return the favor (or surprise your partner with a tasty dessert or coffee at work). A perceived imbalance in who puts the most into your relationship can make a person upset in a hurry. Split chores and housework fairly, take turns deciding what to have for dinner, and aim for equality in your relationship.

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9. Express yourself with no filter.

You can’t expect your partner to know something is wrong if you don’t tell them. Express your feelings without filter (especially if you’re being asked “What’s wrong?” repeatedly). Confrontation isn’t fun but it’s also unavoidable. Dragging out a fight is just going to place unnecessary strain on your relationship, so get it over with and express yourself.

10. Appreciate each other.

What do you find sexy or handsome about your partner? Do they have any quirks you find wonderful? What is the sweetest thing they ever did for you? Sometimes, we’re so busy focusing on our partner’s negative traits that we forget to appreciate what we have and what made us fall in love with them in the first place.

Featured photo credit: Kate Kozyrka via unsplash.com

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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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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