How The Body Speaks
When we shrug our shoulders, clap our hands, shake our heads, or roll our eyes, we are consciously using our body. When we unconsciously point our feet in one direction, make our body take up less space, or touch our neck and face, our bodies move behind our backs to betray our moods or thoughts without our knowledge.
Body language serves three important functions, according to David Lambert: as a conscious substitute for speech, such as when we wink or give the thumbs up; to reinforce speech, such as when we use hand gestures to help articulate a point we’re making orally; and to reflect mood, such as our expressions, body pointing, and dilated pupils.
Humans most likely communicated through body language before they developed the ability to speak. Desmond Morris, a British naturalist, asserted in 1969 that humans’ nonverbal communication is due to their animal nature.
Humans and apes share similar facial expressions that they received from a common ancestor, according to Charles Darwin in 1872.
When other animals, such as lizards, birds, and dogs, want to demonstrate authority, they puff out their chests. We understand that when a dog lowers his head, he is expressing regret, but we also understand that we can mimic same puppy dog expressions.
Humans, like other species, dance to attract mates and shrink back when rejected or defeated.
6 Powerful Body Language Tips
Our bodies appear to be powerful, globally expressive tools that communicate far more than we think, both when we want them to and when we don’t.
Something strange has evolved in recent decades: the belief that our bodies may not only express but also actively influence our ideas. This is a two-way street.
Embodied cognition is a new school of psychology based on the idea that our bodies and the world around us not only impact but also fundamentally entangle our thinking. Our thoughts are influenced by the events of our lives.
People who sit on a hard chair are less likely to compromise than those who sit in a soft chair; people who wield a weighty clipboard take their duties more seriously; people who hold a warm drink perceive others to be more friendly and caring than those who hold cold drinks.
It’s changing the way we think about ourselves. The popular assumption that our awareness dwells in our brains and watches the world while instructing the body to perform actions is only partially correct.
We aren’t aware of a lot of our body language, so we go along with it. However, if we investigate the concept of embodied cognition, we may find that we may change our minds and emotions by becoming aware of our body and using the mind’s power to volitionally choose our form and motion. Let’s take a look at what’s available.
You’ve almost certainly been told to sit up straight at some point in your life, and it turns out there’s a good reason for it. Slouching while sitting or standing can lead to improper spine alignment, which can have a detrimental impact on our general health and cause issues for the rest of our lives.
There are also immediate ramifications. Slouching your body can make you feel melancholy and fatigued from energy, according to a study from San Francisco State University.
They also discovered that changing your posture to a more upright stance can help you feel better and have more energy.
When we see a grin, our brains mimic the same pattern of activity as if we were smiling, and as a result, we feel the same feelings as if we were smiling — it’s the same principle at work in those contagious yawns.
The good news is that you don’t have to rely on others to make you grin; you can accomplish it on your own.
Sticking to furrowed brows and unpleasant expressions makes you more sceptical about the world, while doing so can help you get out of a funk and reduce stress levels.
3. Eye Contact
Looking into someone else’s eyes creates desire, which can be good or harmful depending on the situation. It also improves your capacity to tell the difference between false and real grins, which could disclose your deception.
Two acquainted people gazing into each other’s eyes for two minutes was enough to heighten feelings of affection and passion, according to a 1989 study. Another study found that making eye contact with others increases our self-awareness.
4. Crossed Arms
The act of folding our arms protects our hearts and lungs. We frequently use it when we’re worried, uneasy, or gloomy about something or someone. Monkeys have been seen doing the same move in frightening situations.
Even when we are tempted to quit up, crossing our arms has been shown to boost perseverance and readiness to work longer on difficult difficulties.
When interacting with other people, however, we may not want to take such a firm stance because the physical barrier it produces may not only give the impression that you’re not open to their ideas, but it may actually make you less open to them.
5. Power Pose
Taking up space is a powerful statement, similar to how animals display dominance by puffing up their chests. Those who occupy more space are perceived to be more confident, self-assured, and of a higher social class.
Our testosterone and cortisol levels are affected by the power position, in which we take up space with a confident posture.
Practicing a simple posture for 2–3 minutes a day has been shown to increase testosterone and thus our perception of strength by up to 20%, whereas individuals who feel defeated by low-power poses experience a drop in testosterone.
Cortisol, a stress hormone, is found to be lower in people who appear confident and higher in those who appear unconfident.
This happens unconsciously through those mirror neurons, but the effect is also present if we do it actively. Mirroring has been found to aid in the development of rapport with others, the resolution of arguments, and the development of empathy.
Making Use Of The Loop
Body language has been around much longer than people, and it is a remarkably universal function. However, not everyone can hear everything we say with our bodies.
We should all be aware that different hand gestures might mean very different things in different cultures. There are certainly significant differences between men and women, particularly when one is striving to attract the other.
Despite the differences, our bodies reveal a lot about our inner thoughts and feelings, and we also interpret a lot from the body language of others.
This language is not restricted to interpersonal communication, like spoken language. Our bodies, like us, constantly converse with ourselves. They help shape our experiences, sensations, and thoughts through embodied cognition.
“It appears that the way we feel emotions isn’t only restricted to our brain—there are areas of our bodies that aid and reinforce the sentiments we’re having,” Michael Lewis writes.
This behavioural and cognitive loop shapes a lot of what we do. Our actions and expressions have an impact on our ideas, which in turn have an impact on our emotions, which in turn have an impact on our bodies.
By learning to hack this loop, we may learn to generate the ideal thoughts and feelings for the situation, as well as project the appropriate body language to those around us.
What’s the connection between your body language and what you say? What effect do you think it’ll have on your thoughts?