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23 Reasons to Say “Thank You Mom”

23 Reasons to Say “Thank You Mom”

“All that I am, and ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother”

—Abe Lincoln

We sometimes take advantage of our mothers’ presence in our lives and forget to thank them for the little things they do and have done to help us grow into who we are today. They encourage us, help us, cry with us, laugh with us and sometimes, we just forget that a simple thank you can go a long way. So here it is—here’s to all you mothers out there! Thank you for being you!

Dear Mom,

1. Thank you for doing my laundry before I knew how.

Thank you Mom, for making sure I had clean clothes to wear each day free from grass, food and blood stains. Thanks for waking up at 6 a.m. to make sure all of the laundry got done in time for breakfast.

2. Thank you for making my meals, all of them.

Thank you for waking up each day to make breakfast and also my lunch before school. Thank you for having a snack ready for after school and then preparing dinner.

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3. Thank you for teaching me to see the best in people.

Thank you for being there to show me that there is good in everyone and to see the silver lining in every situation.

4. Thank you for being selfless.

Thank you for giving up everything you want so that I could have the world. You sacrifices are appreciated. That time you wanted to just relax after work, but I needed help on a school project will not be forgotten.

5. Thank you for making sure I checked in when I went out with friends.

Thank you for teaching me to eventually be responsible and check in with you so that you know I am still alive.

6. Thank you for dealing with my case of the Mondays even though Monday was five days ago.

This is basically for the mood swings that you had to endure as I went through my teenage years. The mood swings, the yelling, the sobbing, the “I HATE YOU”s are not easy things to put up with and I am thankful you did.

7. Thank you for doing your job as a mom all year round, in addition to your actual job.

Thank you for waking up in the middle of the night to find my cold medicine and clean up barf and checking for ghosts underneath my bed. I know sleep is precious to you, but you got up anyways.

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8. Thank you for teaching me how to handle money.

Thank you for the allowance and not giving me a penny more. It taught me the value of money and to get the thought that “everything is free” out of my head.

9. Thank you for forgiving me even though I hurt your feelings.

Thank you for having thick skin when I said hurtful things and still doing your motherly duties. I know you could have just let me starve or find a way to school after a stupid fight but you packed my lunch and drove me anyways.

10. Thank you for teaching me how to handle conflict.

Thank you for showing me to keep quiet on not act out on my emotions and say things I don’t mean. Thank you also for teaching me how to speak up and stand up for what I believe in.

11. Thank you for making sure I used my manners.

Thank you for making me say “please” and “thank you” to everyone and use my manners. Now I understand how awful it looks when people don’t use their manners and I am glad you made sure I did.

12. Thank you for helping me with my homework.

Thank you for helping me (forcing me to) do my homework. It helped in school (even if I don’t want to admit it).

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13. Thank you for teaching me the importance of hygiene.

Thank you for teaching me how to be a clean person because, well, everyone likes a clean person.

14. Thank you for the gift of persistence.

Thank you for teaching me to keep at something if I want to get better at it and keep doing it. I understand now that great things take time and effort.

15. Thank you for the thick skin and teaching the meaning of the word “fair.”

Thank you for teaching me that not everything is just going to magically turn out in my favor or go my way. It taught me to work for what I want and not be self entitled.

16. Thank you for tucking me in at night.

Thank you for helping me sleep better by tucking me in at night. Now I realize that not everyone is that lucky to have someone to do that for them and I did.

17. Thank you for teaching me patience.

Thank you for teaching me how to wait and be patient because in life, that is all you can do at times.

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18. Thank you for all the answers and for teaching me to keep asking questions.

Thank you for answering all my why’s, how’s, who’s and what’s. Thank you also for teaching me to continue to keep asking questions because knowledge is an amazing tool to have in your tool box and you can’t know unless you ask.

19. Thank you for your friendship.

Thank you for being my assigned friend. You are there when I feel up, down, confused and just plain angry. Thank you for being my best friend, even though it took me several years to see you as that.

20. Thank you for the laughter.

Thank you for all the laughter you have provided me from my childhood up until this day and making sure I had the opportunity to laugh.

21. Thank you for letting me worry about irrelevant things.

Thank you for letting me sob about prom, an old boyfriend (of two weeks), not being able to go out past ten and not seeing rated R movies. Thank you for letting me be a teenager and not forcing me to grow up too fast.

22. Thank you for teaching me to always be myself.

Thank you for letting me know it is okay to be myself. You taught me that it is okay to be happy with who I am and to only better myself if I wanted. Thank you also for the drive and the want to better myself.

23. Thank you for teaching me family is important.

Thank you for always having open arms no matter what was going on and teaching me the meaning of unconditional love. You are the reason I am who I am today and have taught me that family will always be there for you.

Featured photo credit: Maternity- Sara K Byrne 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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