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11 Incredible Ways You Should Try Now To Improve Your Body Language

11 Incredible Ways You Should Try Now To Improve Your Body Language

Do you ever wonder how some people seem so cool, calm, and collected, as though a rattle snake won’t even rattle them?

How about people who just give off this air of confidence and masterfulness when they speak? Think Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson or President Obama.

How about individuals who can charm the pants off people? (Do a few names pop into mind?)

Well, one of the reasons these folks are so notable is because they have mastered the art of body language.

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Body language is the gestures, movements, and mannerisms by which people (and animals too) communicate to others.

For most individuals, body language just happens naturally. But others have found a way to elevate themselves using their body language to draw attention to their talents, raise their stature, and enhance their charisma.

Here are 11 incredible ways to improve your body language and upgrade your mojo! (Rrrraaawww!)

1. Look people in the eyes.

When you speak to a person or a group of people, make eye contact. This action conveys a level of trust, creates a connection, and helps them pay attention to what you’re saying.

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2. Turn your body to face the people or person you are talking to.

When you purposely position your body to face your audience or the person you’re communicating with, you expose another level trust. This forward-facing position shows you have nothing to hide. It also exhibits to the person you are talking with that you are engaged and attentive to the conversation.

3. When speaking, use hand gestures that are appropriate to what you are saying.

Hand gestures can give emphasis to what you are talking about, whilst keeping the audience engaged by having their attention directed by your hands. (But don’t make big hand gestures that go above your shoulders because this will appear odd and distracting.)

4. Limit your shoulder movements unless appropriate.

Do you notice how some people talk with their shoulders? It’s as if they’re always saying, “I dunno.” And that is exactly how people will perceive the speaker—as not being very convincing or authoritative.

5. Limit head bobbing, hair flipping, teeth sucking, lip biting, face touching, or other repetitive habits.

It’s very distracting and annoying for folks on the receiving end. (Just sayin’.)

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6. Speak with your eyes.

This is different from making eye contact. When you speak with your eyes you suggest interest, understanding, and enjoyment. You can also stress eye movements to emphasize a part in the conversation or draw someone’s attention by using your eyes to ‘point’ at something you want them to look at.

7. Speak with your eyebrows. (But not too much.)

This body language is gonna take some skill. It’s not for everybody, but it is an eye catcher.

If you can accentuate your dialogue with a little eyebrow hike—well, more power to you. (Hubba-hubba!) But please don’t do weird stuff with your eyebrows—it’s just going to be awkward for everybody.

8. Put your hands on your hips like Wonder Woman or a general.

This is a signature power move. As you have seen, it’s done by superheroes, persons in the military, and people who know they are the ‘boss’!

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This posture expresses authority, masterfulness, and confidence. When done for two minutes or longer, it also increases testosterone production in the body, which decreases stress and makes you feel good. (Learn more about power posing here.)

9. Place your hands behind your head.

Positioning your hands behind your head is another power move. (Unless a cop tells you to do it—then it’s not so powerful.) Think back and remember when you’ve seen this move done (in a cop-free environment), what does it elicit? Thoughts of, He’s the man! (Or she! If you’ve watched Oprah, you know she busts this move often.)

10. When speaking to an audience, walk around.

Slowly moving about as you give a speech implies confidence, an ease about you, and will help you connect with the folks around the room.

11. Genuinely smile.

Smiling connects you to others like no other movement. A sincere smile can break down social divides, improve relations, and boosts confidence on both sides. Smiling gets you by far more yeses.

Implement these tactics and use your body language effectively to be that cool cat!

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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