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15 Things Only People With Wanderlust Would Understand

15 Things Only People With Wanderlust Would Understand

There exists a feeling of intense desire, an urge of unrelenting potency which seemingly pulls on every thread of your being to manifest it as reality. A feeling where the border between escape and exploration becomes a blur, and where unendurable frustration finally pushes you from motion into action. This is the feeling of wanderlust, and it can lead to the most life-changing experiences of your future. Here are 15 things only people with wanderlust would understand. Do you have the feeling?

1. You Hate Being Tied down in One Place.

Whether you are in your hometown or a city far far away, when the feeling of wanderlust strikes you’re ability to remain comfortable in one environment is thrown out of the window. Everything around you ceases to stimulate you, and instead the stagnation of routine and an overly-familiar environment takes over. Your sense of imprisonment grows and eventually you find yourself looking for any means of escape. But don’t sweat it, though this feeling is a curse in the moment, it is a blessing in disguise as it will motivate you to follow your heart and explore.

2. You Wonder Why Everybody Isn’t Travelling.

It’s easy to get swept away in the rift that is wanderlust, even to the extent that you forget that there is a world which needs running. You ask yourself why everyone around you is doing the same monotonous things day after day, why don’t they just get up and go, right? Wanderlust doesn’t strike everybody equally, if at all. Besides, all the earth-conquering and soul-exploration isn’t for everyone. Just be thankful that Lady Wanderlust has graced you with her presence.

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3. You Live Vicariously Through Others.

Whether it’s Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, magazines (yes they still make those) or other forms of media, those with wanderlust find themselves lost in a torrent of scenic and envy-inducing images, thumbs autonomously swiping away, eyes locked onto footage of other people’s experiences. It’s as if your brain wants to live vicariously through the travel images of others until it finds itself there in reality. Surprisingly, this is a great method for staying motivated to make that your life, just don’t get content with watching others make it.

4. You Try to Find Variety in Daily Life.

Remembering back to the feeling of stagnation, you’ll find yourself seeking variations in the minutiae in an effort to wring any last excitement from your current environment. Whether you take a new path on the way to work, change the order of your daily activities or try different foods, one thing which becomes apparent is that all of these things and others like them are fundamentals in travel, new paths, no set structure to days, new cuisines. You can see the connection. Could this be a subconscious primer for travel?

5. You are Mistaken for a Hermit.

Sometimes people just don’t understand. The desire for you to escape is mistaken for a desire to leave civilization entirely and to live solo in some beach hut in mexico. Quite the contrary, you wish to escape so you can feel more connected to the world and its inhabitants. To travel is to bond, to explore is to embrace change. Ironically, we know that we are most disconnected from civilization when we’re trapped in the lightening pace of our lives.

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6. You Feel Like a Nomad Amongst Settlers.

This goes back to point 2, but it becomes more personal when you feel as though you’re the only one wearing rose-coloured glasses. You are a fork placed amongst knifes. Sometimes it’s easy to doubt yourself and your need to explore when those around you have no interest in such things. We are the average of our peer group after all. Don’t mistake the feeling of isolation for individuality. You know what you wan’t, don’t let the motives of others deter you from getting it.

7. You Embrace Escapism.

When you wan’t to escape but your current circumstances won’t permit it, you’ll often find yourself getting lost in other forms of release. You daydream a lot, this is something I call Walter Mitty syndrome, the tendency to get lost in your ideal life, all within the confines of your imagination. Like point 3, this can be a great tool for visualisation but only in moderation. Don’t forget to turn your dreams – or daydreams for that matter – into reality.

8. You Wish to Meet People Like Yourself.

Global exploration is known to be one of the greatest means of meeting those with similar interests to yourself. People prone to travel tend to be the more outlandish and open-minded types, often a product of travelling itself. You know this, you want to be this, and you know if you can just get on a plane and go, you’ll be happier than ever before. Leading me onto my next point.

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9. You Feel Like Your Life Would Be Complete If Only You Could Travel.

Yes, we all know how this feels. You have a slice missing from your heart and travel is a perfect match. You know that if you were to travel you’d be the most complete, fulfilled and well-rounded version of yourself. This is what many people call “finding themselves”, an inaccurate term since we are all products of our environments in the first place. However, you know you’d be a warmer, kinder and less frustrated person, and that is a great reason to go in itself.

10. You Can’t Decide Where You Want to Go First.

Planning your trip is difficult when all your focused on is trying to leave where you are. Ironically, planning where to go takes up a lesser portion of your time, but when you do eventually get round to it you may face great difficulty. Where do you begin? South America or SE Asia? Europe or Africa? You know you have research to do, don’t let yourself get to your golden opportunity to begin with no plan in mind.

11. Your 9-5 Feels Like a 9-9.

When you realise how amazing our planet is, having to work in a routine based job day after day becomes nearly impossible. You loath it. You want to run away from it and never come back. Wanderlust changes you, it’s powerful, and it can often have major impacts on how you live your life.

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12. You Start Saving a Travel Fund.

Small things here and there become trivial. You equate the price of those new pair of shoes, or that new sweater into how many extra days you could travel. It’s funny to notice yourself doing this, “$60 for that? That’s 2 more days on the road, no thanks.”

13. You Start Taking Micro-Adventures.

A bus ride here, a train ride there, and you find yourself 50 miles from home, testing out the water to see how you feel in the wild unknown. This is an important moment for any would-be traveller because it’s when you find out if you’re cut out for the travelling life. If you don’t panic when you feel lost, or when you have no signal on your phone, you just flow with it. You are a nomad through and through.

14. You Feel at Home Wherever You Go.

When your mind gets used to the idea that you won’t be hanging around in any one place for a prolonged period of time, everywhere starts to feel like home. You no longer crave that secure base you once did when you first left, but instead you fit right into place no matter the country, the language or the culture.

15. You Become Willing to Try Anything.

Bungee jumping? Sure. Weird looking cuisine? Why not! When wanderlust strikes, your mind opens up like a flower to the world around it. Anything becomes your everything. You realise that you are the most open-minded, wise, and outgoing version of yourself, and that you are the happiest you have ever been. You couldn’t trade it for the world, because the world gave it to you in the first place.

Featured photo credit: PixaBay via pixabay.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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