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How to Manage Powerful Emotions Easily

How to Manage Powerful Emotions Easily

Whether you feel depressed, angry, overwhelmed, or just worried about the future, there is a way to effectively manage your emotions and feel better right now! Let’s dive in!

When you are depressed.

Realize that this situation you’re going through is not all YOUR fault. It’s also other people’s fault. Externalizing the blame will help you get out of the depression phase, and possibly move you to anger… which is good news! Just create a list with all the people and conditions that are to blame…Don’t you feel a little better in doing so? Exactly, that’s relief, and it’s a necessary step if you want to get out of this dark situation you’re in.

You see, being angry is one step higher than being depressed. Then, once you’re angry, you can work on softening your feelings. Alternatively, if you can get yourself off the bed where you wallow in your pain, and actually exercise, then try it! Did you know that exercising is as capable as Zoloft in curing depression?

Not yet exercising? Your luck might change if you try Exercise Bliss, a step by step video program that helps you become a consistent exerciser even if you lack the motivation to exercise.

When you are angry.

Your goal is to move to frustrated, which is still angry but not too angry. Realize that if the other people who made you angry knew any better, then they would have done it. Plus, the situation that caused your anger was not even really about you. Other people project how they see the world on you.

Did your colleague just tell you that your glasses look awful? Don’t be surprised if they are judging themselves for their glasses, or if they’re really judgmental about their appearance. Their view on your glasses is connected to what they believe about themselves.

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Let’s see another example:

“I’m angry at myself for having allowed to become so fat. How did I do such a thing?”

Now, moving to frustrated…

“Well, what can I do about that? What’s done is done. I know it sucks, but I also know I cannot change the past. I can only work with what I have right now.”

Got it?

When you are worried about the future.

Worry means you’re focusing too much on things you can’t control. You can’t control the weather, or other peopel’s reactions, but you can control your actions. So you could spend tons of time worrying whether you’ll get more clients, instead of actually doing what you can control—finding clients!

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Focus on what you can control. Don’t devote your valuable resources to things you cannot control. And if you need extra resources to make this happen, this video will make you a beat-worry ninja.

When you are overwhelmed.

In one word, simplify. Do less. Aim for less.

First, clear your thinking. It’s an absolute necessity to eliminate tasks from your to-do list, or postpone some of the tasks for another day. Go through your to-do list and ask yourself: “Do I absolutely need to do this today?”

Now, another reason we’re overwhelmed is that we have too many choices. For example, when picking what to do professionally, but having too many passions, then what do we do?

Watch NYT best-selling author Ramit Sethi nail this question in this video:

When you are envious.

First, accept that feeling envious showcases a desire of yours straight in your face.

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For example, if you’re envious of rich people, it’s because you want to get rich too. Admit it.

Second, wish those people the best. No, they were not “lucky”. Or, it’s none of your business to decide whether they were worth it or not.

Finally, focus on yourself. You just realized you have a desire big enough that causes you to feel envy. Time to start planning how to get there?

Exactly. Get into action and the envy will be gone.

When you are desperate.

Feeling desperate shows you have created momentum that emphasizes the gap between where you are and where you want to go.

So for example, if you are currently 180 pounds but want to drop to 140, you might feel desperate if you have spent enough time thinking that you are 40 POUNDS AWAY FROM YOUR GOAL.

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You need to take it easy. Detach. Focus less on what’s left and more on what you have already achieved. The moment you start focusing less on the gap between where you are and where you want to go, you’ll feel better immediately.

When you are guilty.

Wherever there’s guilt, there’s also a “should” you are not following. So if you believe you should exercise, but don’t, then you’ll feel guilty. If you believe that good people don’t cheat, but you do, then you’ll feel guilty.

Guilt is evidence you are not conforming to one of your “shoulds”. Your first task is to discover what that “should” is.

Your second job is to examine whether you should keep that “should” or toss it. Or, maybe you need to tweak it. Maybe you are “enough” no matter your flaws and shortcomings. The overcoming guilt technique shows you various examples of how you can deal with guilt effectively.

Do you you have any tricks and tips for managing your emotions? I’d love to know. Leave a comment below and share your wisdom.

More by this author

Maria Brilaki

Maria helps people create habits that stick not just for a month or two but for years and decades.

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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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