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15 Books To Gently Heal A Broken Heart

15 Books To Gently Heal A Broken Heart

Is it easy to recover from a breakup?

It’s a silly question indeed: how can it be easy to forget the one you loved and considered yours yesterday who has suddenly become a complete stranger today? Time heals, they say. And we say that the best books to read after a breakup can help you much more than simply waiting for the moment when the pain finally goes away.

Books have the power to heal. When you choose the best books to read during some difficult moments of your life, you may be surprised how much easier it becomes to overcome these difficulties. Books give you advice; they share knowledge and experience with you. They do not judge, they talk to you, and they help you cope with unrequited love and find inner peace.

It’s you who decides which book will become your friend. When it comes to a breakup, you need someone to support you, to tell you that everything’s going to be okay, to share their personal stories and let you know that you are not alone with your pain. Moreover, you need someone who will shake and inspire you, instill optimism and explain that a breakup is not the end of your life; rather, it is a new beginning.

Books are silent. They help us write, study, and live.They do not interrupt you; they do not impose their views. They just whisper stories, and you become slowly healed and reborn to a new life without noticing it. Here they are: the 15 best books to read when you go through a breakup.

1. Stag’s Leap: Poems by Sharon Olds

stag-leap-poems

    The winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (2013), this book of poems will help you let your past go and find courage to move on in your life. Written by a lady whose 26-year-old marriage fell apart, these poems will help you accept your breakup and take on a “I am finally free” perspective without having regrets.

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    2. Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King

    dolores-claiborne

      This author perfectly knows how to make our hearts freeze with fear, allowing readers to get into characters’ heads and disclose the reasons of their actions. This is the story of an eccentric woman and the ways she chose to deal with her drunk husband; this is a story of how strong and powerful a woman can be when it comes to danger and injustice; this is a story about women’s resilience. After reading this book, you will never consider your breakup a problem anymore.

      3. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

      history-nearly-everything

        After a breakup, you can think about nothing but love and how unfair it is. This book reveals so many interesting facts that can’t even be compared with your so-called drama, that you will forget about all earthly problems at once. As far as we know, everything is relative: who has never tasted bitter, knows not what is sweet. So, check this book to understand how tiny your problem of breaking up is in comparison with some universe disasters.

        4. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

        eat-pray-love

          There is no lady who would not like this book and the story it tells about a divorced woman and her soul-searching journey to Italy, India and Indonesia. Yes, her divorce was bitter, and her love affair was disastrous, but she has found ways and strengths to change life for better. This is an inspiring story for us to understand that life does not end after a breakup; moreover, life may start after it.

          5. Under the Wild and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan

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          under-wild-sky

            Based on true events, this book will help you understand that your ex was not the last and only love of your life. The story of a woman who escapes from her cheating husband with three children and picks up a new, cool man is a must-read for you to understand that the next love is already waiting, and it can find you at the most unexpected places sometimes.

            6. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

            ethan-frome

              Here is another well-written story to help you understand that your breakup problem is small compared to the problems that other people have. This is a beautiful novella about a man who falls in love with the young caretaker of his sick wife. The story allows us to accept the fact that anything can happen in life; you have lots of chances to write the future screenplay of your life, and there is no need to sit and cry over the past.

              7. You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz

              you-should-have-known

                What would an experienced couples therapist do if she found out that she was the last one to discover that husband was planning to leave her? Moreover, he could be (maybe) connected to a murder; so, now it’s high time for her own investigation. This psychological thriller will help you realize that it could have been much worse than a simple breakup with your boyfriend.

                8. How Did You Get This Number by Sloane Crosley

                how-did-you-get-this-number

                  What should you do if an unknown girl calls you one day and says she has found your number in the phone of her boyfriend? The problem is, that this man is—your boyfriend. Sloane Crosley knows the answer to this question, and she decides to write a book in a funny and instructive manner for each of us to understand the ugly truth of life: bad things happen, but you can always find a way out and overcome all relationship problems.

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                  9. Him, Her, Him Again, The End of Him by Patricia Marx

                  him-her-him-again

                    Marx writes for The New Yorker, but she also wrote this book which is a satirical story about a girl who has spent 10 years trying to attract a pretentious PhD student just to understand how wrong she was and how much time she wasted as a result. The story is based on the author’s own experience, and shows that your breakup might be a blessing rather than a curse.

                    10. Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak by Larry Smith

                    six-word-memoirs

                      Can you find six words to describe your breakup? It’s easier to say than to do, but if you have suddenly forgotten all words, this book is here to help you. A wonderful collection of six-word confessions, it is a must-read for everyone whose heart is broken. All these heartbreaking, confusing, and sometimes optimistic memoirs are here to inspire you and help you turn the page of your past relationship.

                      11. What Was I Thinking: 58 Bad Boyfriend Stories by Barbara Davilman

                      what-was-i-thinking

                        This book is a collection of 58 stories on broken relationships told by different women and designed to make you more optimistic about your own breakup. Your love may last for a week, a month, or a year; but somewhere deep inside you, understand that, sooner or later, it will be over. And we have nothing to do with that: just accept that, be thankful for those wonderful moments, and keep going.

                        12. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

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                        bridget-jones-diary

                          Are you a single and lonely lady now? This book should become your desk book then, because it is a real bible of what you must NOT do while not having a life partner. Forget about sitting and staring at the phone with a hope to get a call from him; do not even think about flirting with your boss, and forget about all those stupid things that come to your mind just after a breakup. But what should you do instead? Bridget Jones has an answer to this question, so keep reading to find out.

                          13. Split: A Memoir of Divorce by Suzanne Finnamore

                          a-memoir-of-divorce

                            Such stories happen every day: love appears, boys ask girls to marry them, and after a couple of years, the same boys make another proposition: divorce. The author of this book shares her story with humor and honesty, revealing all the dirty details of her marriage and divorce to make you understand that when something goes wrong, it becomes an experience which lets you do things differently next time.

                            14. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

                            high-fidelity

                              It’s time to suggest a breakup story from the male perspective. Yes, girls are not the only ones who cry. This book by Nick Hornby will tell you the story of a music addict who decides to make a list of his own “top 5” breakups, and it will probably change your mind about your own breakup.

                              15. This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

                              this-is-how-you-lose-her

                                Despite his flaws, you can’t help loving the protagonist of this book. Even though he is a man who does not take women seriously, there is something about this guy that makes you sympathize with him. It helps you understand that all men need to realize how bad they are before becoming good. This is a story that will probably help you perceive your ex differently.

                                Remember: a breakup is not the end of your life, even if it is difficult to believe and accept this fact at first. Your new love is waiting for you somewhere already; so, get ready and open up your heart and mind while reading the above-mentioned books that will help you get through your ended relationship.

                                Featured photo credit: I Dont Want A Broken Heart/Nawal Al-Mashouq via flickr.com

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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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