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7 Things Highly Confident Women Do Differently

7 Things Highly Confident Women Do Differently

We all have examples of confident women in our lives, whether it be a family member, a friend or someone we have not actually met, but admire from afar. We are instantly drawn to this person by their self-assurance and positive outlook on themselves.

They seem resilient against adversity in their lives and turn each stumbling block into a stepping stone to self-fulfillment and happiness. Wonder what their secrets are to believing in themselves? Here are seven rules that they live by to live more confidently.

1. They embrace their purpose

These women know their strengths well and make sure they put themselves in both personal and professional situations where they can utilize these skills. They focus on what they excel in, more than dwelling on their weaknesses.

They acknowledge that they have imperfections, but realize this is part of being human and make every mistake into a personal learning experience.

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2. They practice a self-confidence ritual

Giving themselves a pep-talk whenever they need a little extra confidence, either before a big work presentation or even working through a fight with a loved one, is what make these women stand out.

Whether the ritual entails affirmations while looking at themselves in the mirror or putting on a special outfit that makes them feel good inside and out, these women know what ritual works for them when they need a confidence boost. And, more importantly, they are not afraid to use it.

When asked by Women’s Health magazine what helped her gain self-confidence, Michelle Obama gave sound advice with, “Well, sometimes I give myself a break. So I will retreat a moment from the fray, just to breathe. Because what I’ve learned is that my immediate reaction cannot be the deciding reaction.”

3. They enjoy spending time alone

Reveling in a few moments to themselves during the day to relax and feel free of others’ obligations is a must. Women who are confident are also empowered by going out alone, whether it is to see a movie or enjoy a leisurely dinner at a local restaurant.

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These women cherish their friends and family, but also realize that it is important to have their “me” time, where they can shamelessly indulge themselves. And they can always be social when they are ready.

4. They refuse to buy into the media’s image of a perfect woman

These women do not let the media dictate their physical appearances or behaviors, because they know that it is all false advertising. These women are confident in their lifestyle choices, whether they decide to get married and have a family or not.

They do not feel the need to be stick thin just because it is commonly seen on TV, but instead they know the value of a healthy, active lifestyle.

Actress Jennifer Lawrence voiced her opinion about the media’s effect on young girls when she said,“I think when it comes to the media, the media needs to take responsibility for the effect that it has on our younger generation, on these girls that are watching these television shows and picking up how to talk and how to be cool.”

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5. They refuse to take anything too personally

Letting the hard days and moments in their lives roll off their shoulders is what defines these women, because they know how to keep everything in perspective. Women who have confidence always see the bright light at the end of the tunnel and refuse to wallow in their own pity, because they know it will only harm them in the end.

Confident women are also aware that they cannot control other people’s emotions, only their own, and that is what matters.

Maya Angelou said, on the importance of being authentic and not focusing on the little things, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

6. They ask empowering questions

Asking questions that make them a better individual and have a direct correlation to their own self-fulfillment is another thing that these women have in common. They realize that asking themselves the “why me” question is detrimental to their own well-being and contentment in life.

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They make sure to eliminate the negative broken record that plays in all of our heads and replace it with positive questions like “what do I need to do to be happier in life?” and then follow through with immediate actions.

7. They ask what they can do to improve the world

Asking themselves how they can use their strengths to make the world that they live in a better place is a common trait for these women. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, was often referred to as the “First Lady of the World,” because of the self-assuredness that she displayed while fighting for human rights.

This selflessness is one of the key factors for confident women, since they know what they are capable of and would like to share their talents with others.

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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