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It Just Takes One Person to Change Your Life: This Random Woman Shows Obese Guy What He’s worth

It Just Takes One Person to Change Your Life: This Random Woman Shows Obese Guy What He’s worth

Isn’t it amazing how one person can change your life? Not because there was something wrong or because you needed to; you’ve just subconsciously make a decision to better yourself because of them.

These are the people whom you look forward to speaking to everyday. They can make your day with a simple “Hello.” They brighten up your day just by being at your side. They have the power to alter the way you think because you’re able to see things from their perspective as well as your own. Just by spending time with someone, you tend to pick up their tendencies, their mannerisms and their values without realizing it. It’s so nice to have that one person who takes the time to care about you, to ask about your day, and to worry about you.

You could meet this person anywhere at any time. You just have to be patient and open to those around you. You could meet them at your local gym, at the supermarket, while walking your dog, or you might even roll down your window to talk to them while stuck in a traffic jam. You could meet them absolutely anywhere—just don’t give up hope!

However, what if you never met the person physically? Can a person online via a chat room, social media site, email, or even a game have the same type of impact on someone? There are a number of communities online that offer help and support to individuals for endless amounts of problems and situations, from drug abuse to being new parents.

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But what about something as simple as a game application on your phone? One that chooses your opponent for you from all the thousands or millions of users. What are the odds that a game would match you with the person who has the ability to change you and your life for the better? Pretty slim right? Probably so small, it’s not worth considering?

Well let me introduce Brian Flemming and Jackie Eastham, who met on a popular iPhone app.

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    Draw Something is a very popular and simplistic game, similar to Pictionary. You simply get an item to draw for your opponent to guess as quickly as possible. At the end of the game you have the option to write comments to one another. You can also communicate via writing words instead of images. This ability to communicate saved Brian’s life.

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    Brian Flemming was morbidly obese, depressed and was an alcoholic. Brian would eat fast food every day and drink a fifth of vodka mixed with a litre of soda every night. He had dropped out of college, and at the age of 30, he would spend endless hours playing games and distract himself from his depression by overeating and drinking away his problems. This type of lifestyle would have most definitely lead to Brian’s death, had it not been for Jackie Eastham. He never would have imagined that she could save him from his 625lbs depressing life.

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      Jackie Eastham is 20 years older than Brian and suffers from a condition called Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy. This is a form of muscular dystrophy which generally weakens muscles and causes muscle wasting in the hands, feet, face and neck, but can spread to other parts of the body. Jackie lives a very conscious, healthy lifestyle because of her condition and could easily tell that Brian was wasting his life and seriously damaging his body and his long-term health.

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        Brian confided in Jackie about his weight, his depression and his drinking problems. Jackie soon inspired him to stop drinking. He lost 100lbs from that alone in the first month. From here he decided to start eating healthy and exercising. Jackie, with her experience and wisdom, was able to coach Brian and encourage him every step of the way.

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          Almost a year after they met on Draw Something, Brian had lost 400lbs, got a new job, was in therapy, and was training for his first marathon.

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              Brian, who lives in America, traveled to Paris to finally meet Jackie, who he calls his champion. While in Paris, they climbed the Eiffel Tower together. Brian has said on his blog (which describes his whole journey), that “Jackie is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I feel that she saved my life, even though she would never take credit.”

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                From Brian and Jackie’s inspirational story, we can learn that it’s never too late to change your own life or help someone else change theirs for the better. You’re never too far away to make a difference.

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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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