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9 Ways to Prepare Your Heart for a New Love in 2015

9 Ways to Prepare Your Heart for a New Love in 2015

Finding new love can be a daunting dream.

You want to fall in love but the way your last relationship ended hurt and the fear of that happening again haunts you. It feels much safer to stay alone or believe that love will find you if it’s meant to. But the question is — would you be ready if the right opportunity suddenly stared you in the face? Ready to receive and to give and hold and accept the good with the bad?

Most of us are not, which causes us to run or make a bad choice because we are afraid we will be alone if we pass it up. So, start preparing your heart before Mr. or Ms. Wonderful show up. Here are 9 ways to do that.

1.  Get serious by writing it down.

Find yourself a beautiful journal. Start by writing your favourite love poem into the front. When you are done, put your hand over your heart and feel it beating. Forget you are afraid. Forget you think it won’t happen. Go behind the beating and feel what your reaction to the poem is.  Write down everything that your heart says it wants to hear from someone someday. You don’t have to tell anyone — it’s just for you alone.

2.  Learn to listen with your heart.

Ask a friend to go out for dinner to a special restaurant you have been wanting to go to. While you are with her (or him), practice listening for their heart. This will begin to train you for how to  listen on a date. Pretend there is a bridge running from your heart to hers or his. Walk across it, leaving your own thoughts behind and just be in their thoughts while you are with them.

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Listen for phrases like, “I wish…”,  “Sometimes it seems that…,” “I love it when….” Ask questions so that they share something that they might not talk about often. Smile at them and if you don’t know how to respond, just acknowledge how that must make them feel, such as, “That must have been really hard for you….” Do your best to keep the focus on them out of caring and interest. Talk about yourself a little less than usual.

3.  Watch a romantic movie and observe what it is your heart longs for in love.

Yes, this can apply to guys too.  Instead of feeling sad about being alone or not having the love you want, go into your heart by placing your hand gently over it to feel it beat. Go beneath the beating to the feelings inside it. Ask yourself: What qualities do I want that the guy or girl in this movie had? What attracted me to the man or lady in this story?  Or if not the qualities, what did they say or do that made my heart wish? Do I want those qualities in someone I would like to have love me?  Do I want to hear those words, have that feeling, be able to open my heart like that?

Use the movie to teach you, to train your heart to know what it wants. Write your thoughts and your lists into your journal for safekeeping.  This is just for you and your heart to know.

4. Tie your deepest dreams to something you see everyday.

Decide that this next year is going to be different, that you are going to find every reason you can to believe in yourself, if it takes you until 2016 or infinity and beyond… that you are going to find love again.

Find a symbol that represents that commitment — something that you can keep out all year where you will see it everyday for the next year — to remind yourself. I used to carry a rock in my pocket that said “Believe” on it. I also bought myself figurines that I placed all over my house representing strong qualities I wanted. Don’t feel the need to tell anyone; it’s just yours to know, to believe in. Use it to convince yourself: “I am going to learn to love and appreciate who I am.”

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5.  Teach yourself to give without expecting anything in return.

There are so many ways to give. Did you know that, if you step outside yourself for a few moments, and give something to someone without expecting anything back, it will skyrocket your serotonin (the feel good hormone in your brain)? You will be left with a sense of fulfilment that creates a deep contentment. Walk yourself to the store and buy several pairs of socks to donate to the local shelter, bake a batch of cookies and take it to someone lonely, volunteer at the soup kitchen… do something, no matter how small, to make someone else feel good.

Be a Secret Santa, even if it isn’t Christmas. And expect nothing — not a thank you, not a smile, not anything. Just give to give. This, too, is practice for loving someone special in your life. There are many times when true love is giving “just because” without expecting anything back. You will need that skill. Giving without expectation builds your heart to meet a need that we all have, whether you know it or not  Have fun and let your creativity flow!

6. Ramp up your attraction factor — do something to make you feel better about yourself.

Do you know what a man finds sexiest on a woman? It’s her smile. A sincere smile from a contented heart causes you glow without you even knowing. Do you know what the main qualities are that attract a woman to a man? Being strong and tender all at the same time. A woman’s smile and a man’s true strength radiate from a confident heart. So what is something that would assist you in building your confidence? Picking up an old dream and signing up for a class? Learning something new? Planning to do something on your own that you had hoped to do with your partner?

Start with simple ways – for example, for most women, feeling pretty is part of that. Book yourself a manicure, a pedicure, go for a new hairstyle, buy yourself something colorful (great sales on this time of year) — do something that makes you feel just a little prettier. For a man, a haircut does help a lot. Perhaps renewing that gym membership and starting to work with a trainer to begin building up some of that great muscle would be the ticket. You know yourself, and your heart needs to know you are still alive. That you are not only alive, but gorgeous and gifted and lit up when your heart is invested in becoming all you can be. You are a long way from being knocked out of the game, baby!

So start moving forward — progress, not perfection, is happiness.

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7. Transform your bedroom into an inviting boudoir.

Many of us don’t think about whether someone special would fit into our bedrooms. Take the time to consider how you would like to change some things in your “inner sanctum” that would remind you that love is welcome here: get rid of stuffed animals, dirty laundry spilling out everywhere, or anything that is cluttered and worn. Right now it’s yours, yes, but someday it may be yours and his or hers. It’s fun to dream but it’s even more fun to take action. Pretty up your bedroom by adding some color, perhaps a new comforter, and complimentary curtains… maybe buy some candles.

8. Plan your focus: what will you think about, talk about, work for?

Time to make a plan. Remember, if you don’t write it down, chances are it won’t happen. Decide specifically how you are going to spend your time when you are not working or caring for family. You owe this to yourself. Your heart needs a break from its sadness. What will you think about? What will you focus on? It’s okay to give yourself a little time to grieve what was and how you wish it were. Sometime when you are alone, write those feelings down in your journal or express them in some other creative way original to you like writing a song, painting, or composing a poem. Then close your book or purposely set your project aside.

Go from there, determined to focus on one moment at a time today, every day.

If you are with family, observe what it is that you really do love about them. If you are with friends, do the same. Be there entirely in the present — not in the past, not in the future. Really look at what is bright and beautiful around you. Stare at a star. Squint your eyes to see how different they look when you do. Listen to the music you are hearing — hear the instruments, the beauty of the voices, feel the feelings it brings. Find something warm to hold in your heart. Your child’s laughter. The kind feeling you have when you pay for the person’s coffee behind you in the drive through coffee shop. A casual thank you received.

9. Allow your heart to dream again. Put it out there by asking specifically for what you want in love.

Take some time to dream. Divorce may have broken your heart and you may think that it has left you as damaged goods. You may think that love is too scary to try again or that there are no more good men or women out there.

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But you are wrong! Someone is searching for you, waiting to love and be loved by you. So find a picture that represents where you would like to be a year from now. Do you want to be in love?  Do you want to live in a new place? Do you want to be smiling? Begin to write down what you want. Start to learn about what a good relationship truly looks like. Dream it!

2015 is your year – go for it!

Featured photo credit: Copyright: konradbak / 123RF Stock Photo via 123rf.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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