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9 Surprising Benefits of Being Single That No One Has Told You Before

9 Surprising Benefits of Being Single That No One Has Told You Before

I’m convinced most people in long-term relationships are secretly miserable. Sure, it’s nice to have a partner to cuddle with, but relationships can also be terribly inconvenient. If you don’t believe me, consider these surprising benefits of being single:

1. You can travel on a whim.

How do you think a romantic partner would react if you woke up and decided to move overseas, go backpacking through mountains in Iceland, or take a cruise to a tropical destination? They probably wouldn’t be happy if you didn’t include them in that decision (and rightfully so!).

Single people, however, have the freedom to travel without hesitation. If you’re a vagabond at heart, then singlehood might be for you.

2. You can flirt without fear.

Let’s face it: everyone flirts sometimes, whether they are single or not. This flirting is usually innocent in nature, but it could nonetheless lead to an awkward situation if a single person ends up developing feelings for somebody who is romantically involved.

Add an insecure partner to the mix and this awkward situation could quickly turn into a terrible confrontation. If you love to flirt, then singlehood might be for you. 

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3. You can work on yourself.

It is awfully tempting to get complacent when you have a partner.

A survey by UK researchers found that 62% of respondents gained 14 pounds or more after beginning a relationship.[1] This weight gain appears to be a direct consequence of typical date-night activities. When asked to choose their primary bonding activity, 30% of respondents chose “watching television” and 20% chose “eating out.”

If you’d like to concentrate on improving your mind and body, then singlehood might be for you.

4. You can save tons of time.

It’s fun to send flirty texts back and forth, but can you imagine how much time the typical couple spends on their phones?

A lot of people get anxious without constant communication, so those texts and phone calls might add up to a loss of several hours per day. Of course, you could just choose a partner who is more independent, but finding such a creature could be a difficult task.

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If you would rather invest your time in a more productive fashion, then singlehood might be for you.

5. You can sleep in peace and quiet.

Confession: I really, reallyREALLY miss cuddling. I’ve been single for a while, and love it for the most part…but the absence of physical touch has driven me a bit crazy (maybe I should start collecting applications for a cuddle buddy?).

That brings us to the point: even though it’s nice to snuggle, I have a VERY difficult time sleeping next to another person (especially if they snore!). If you know that feeling, then singlehood might be for you.

6. You can become more self-reliant.

Have you ever been through a breakup so emotionally devastating that you couldn’t function for weeks, or months, afterward?

Love is a chaotic force that can be both beautiful and destructive (you do know hurricanes are named after people[2], right?). Passionate feelings cannot and should not be silenced. But never let a person become the single subject of your thoughts, because few relationships are destined for eternal success.

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If you’re not comfortable with that risk, then singlehood might be for you.

7. You can stay in touch with friends.

“Don’t you worry; we’ll stay in touch!” Those words should sound familiar if you have friends who have gotten married and/or had children.

How many of them actually kept their word? Not many, I bet.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise since these major life decisions require the sacrifice of free time and personal freedom. It’s hard to find the time to do much when you have a spouse and child to consider. If you aren’t ready for such a commitment, then singlehood might be for you.

8. You can avoid settling for a bad match.

Almost 50% of marriages in America are destined for failure.[3] You have to wonder how many of those still married stay together due to religious beliefs, financial reasons,[4] or the sake of their children.

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To complete this grim picture, add in how easy it is to settle for a bad match when you’re feeling lonely. If you’re not 100% sure what you expect from a partner, then singlehood might be for you.

9. You can do whatever the hell you want to.

Just like a flower will wither if you don’t water it, a relationship will suffer without proper care and attention.

Do you have a friend who complains about how “needy” her partner is? This complaint could be justified depending on the context, but most people simply underestimate how much time it takes to sustain a healthy relationship.

There is nothing “strange” about wanting your significant other to spend time with you. If you’re not ready to consider the needs of another person, then singlehood might be for you.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash 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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