Your body and mind are intertwined, and we know that a troubled mind will have an impact on your physical well-being. Who hasn’t experienced a sleepless night as a result of anxious overthinking? Recent studies have revealed that your body and mind are far more intertwined than previously assumed, in addition to the well-known body-mind relationship.
Have you ever seen someone who is self-assured going along the street? They were strutting their stuff, confident in their undeniable strength. What distinguishes this person from someone who is shy and insecure? Their posture is the most evident difference at first glance.
A confident person walks with broad shoulders and a straight back, whereas a shy person walks with a hunched posture and hanging shoulders. This discovery has been used by psychologists to conduct studies into the mind-body link. Embodiment is the scientific phrase that best describes this trait.
It turns out that this isn’t the only method we communicate with one another. Our bodies move and sway in time with our words, and even when we are silent, we are still speaking.
How The Body Speaks
When we shrug our shoulders, clap our hands, shake our heads, or roll our eyes, we are consciously using our bodies. When we unconsciously point our feet in one direction, make our bodies 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 as a reflection of mood, such as our expressions, body pointing, and dilated pupils.
In the centuries before the human capacity for language, it’s possible that we communicated using body language. Desmond Morris, a British naturalist, proposed in 1969 that humans owe our nonverbal communication to our animal nature.
Charles Darwin stated in 1872 that humans and apes share comparable facial expressions that they inherited from a common ancestor.
Other creatures, ranging from lizards to birds and canines, puff out their chests when they wish to assert dominance. We know that when a dog lowers his head, he feels sorry, but we also know that we can give those puppy dog expressions.
Different creatures, including humans, dance to attract mates and shrink down.
Our bodies appear to be powerful, universally expressive tools that say much more than we realize, both when we want them to and when we’re oblivious to it.
The Physical Thought
Something weird has emerged in recent decades: the notion that our bodies may not only express our ideas but also actively impact them in their own ways. It’s a two-way street here.
Embodied cognition is a new school of psychology whose basic concept is that our bodies and the world around us not only influence us but are also deeply intertwined into our thinking. Our thoughts are shaped by our experiences.
This field’s research has yielded some astonishing results — People who sit in a hard chair are less inclined to compromise than those who sit in a soft chair, and those who hold a hefty clipboard take their duties more seriously.
People who were holding a warm drink were judged to be more kind and caring than those who were holding cold drinks.
It’s giving our perceptions of ourselves a fresh twist. The common belief that our awareness resides inside our brains and observes the world while commanding the body to perform actions is only half true.
We go along with a lot of our body language because we aren’t conscious of it. However, if we consider the concept of embodied cognition, we may discover that by becoming aware of our bodies and employing the mind’s power to volitionally choose our form and motion, we may change our minds and emotions. Let’s have a look at the possibilities.
You’ve undoubtedly been instructed to sit up straight at least a few times in your life, and it turns out there’s an excellent reason to do so. Slouching while sitting or standing can cause incorrect spine alignment, which can negatively impact our overall health and cause problems for the rest of our life.
There are also short-term consequences. According to a study from San Francisco State University, slouching your body can make you feel depressed and exhausted from energy. They also discovered that adjusting your posture to a more upright stance can boost your mood and energy levels.
2. Crossed Arms
Folding our arms is a protective strategy for our heart and lungs. When we’re apprehensive, insecure, or pessimistic about something or someone, we frequently use it. In similar scary conditions, monkeys have been spotted making the same motion.
Crossing our arms has been found to increase perseverance and willingness to work longer on challenging challenges, even when we are tempted to give up.
When dealing with other people, however, we might not desire that strong attitude because the physical barrier it creates could not only give the idea that you’re not open to their opinion, but it could also make you less open to them.
It is contagious to smile. In our brains, we have something called mirror neurons, which fire both when we perform an activity and when we witness someone else do it.
When we see a grin, our brains replicate the same pattern of activity as if we were smiling, and as a result, we experience the same emotions as if we were smiling – it’s the same concept behind those contagious yawns.
The good news is that you don’t have to wait for someone else to smile; you can do it yourself. Sticking with furrowed eyebrows and negative expressions causes you to see the world in a more cynical way while doing this can lift you out of a bad mood and lessen your stress levels.
Mimicking is the simple act of replicating someone else’s activities. Mirroring does not have to be full-body mimicry; even tiny acts such as where the hands are positioned can be considered mirroring.
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.
5. Power Poses
Taking up space is a forceful display, similar to how animals puff up their chests to establish dominance. Those who take up more space are thought to be more confident, self-assured, and belong to a higher social class.
The power position, in which we take up space with a confident posture, affects our testosterone and cortisol levels.
Practicing a simple position for 2–3 minutes a day has been proven to raise our sense of power by up to 20% by increasing testosterone, whereas individuals who feel defeated by low-power poses see a fall in testosterone.
Cortisol, a stress hormone, lowers in those who just appear confident and increases in those who appear unconfident.
6. Eye Contact
Eye contact has a powerful effect; looking into another person’s eyes causes arousal, which can be beneficial or harmful depending on the situation. It also improves your ability to distinguish between fake and real smiles, which may reveal your lies.
According to a 1989 study, two familiar persons gazing into each other’s eyes for two minutes was enough to increase feelings of affection and passion. Another study discovered that when we make eye contact with others, we become more self-aware.
Making Use Of The Loop
Body language has existed for much longer than humans have, and it is an incredibly universal function. However, not everything we communicate with our bodies is heard by everyone.
We should all be aware that diverse hand gestures can imply one thing in one culture and something else totally in another. There are also some notable distinctions between men and women, especially when one is attempting to attract the other.
Despite the variations, our bodies give away a lot of information about our inner thoughts and feelings, and we also interpret a lot from other people’s body language.
This language, like spoken language, is not solely between two people.
It would appear that the way we feel emotions isn’t just restricted to our brain—there are parts of our bodies that help and reinforce the feelings we’re having, says Michael Lewis, “It’s like a feedback loop.”
Much of what we do is defined by this behavioral and cognitive loop. Our behaviors and expressions influence our thoughts, which in turn influence our emotions, which affect our bodies.
We may learn to hack this cycle and construct the best thoughts and feelings for the scenario, as well as project the appropriate body language to people around us, by learning to hack this loop. What is the relationship between your body language and the words you say? What impact might it have on your thoughts?
7. Botox against depression
Researchers are interested in the notion that facial expressions might alter our mood for another reason: a research team at Hannover Medical School in Germany investigated if facial expressions can change the mood of persons suffering from depression.
They felt that if patients with depression had fewer frown lines on their faces, their condition would improve. To smooth out the frown lines, they administered Botox injections.
Botox is a nerve toxin that causes the muscles it is injected into to become paralyzed. Indeed, 60 percent of the patients who were treated reported a considerable improvement in their mood.
9. Let your walk open your mind
Another investigation investigated how our walking affects our mental condition. One group of volunteers was taught to walk joyfully and lightheartedly in this experiment (e.g. with a straight back and elastic, light steps).
The other group was taught to walk in an unhappy manner (e.g. with hanging shoulders and heavy steps). However, neither group was instructed what these distinct walking styles indicated.
A camera and a computer continually calculated how ‘happy’ or ‘unhappy’ their stroll was, which was presented on a display that moved from left to right through a needle. A joyful walk was on the left, while an unhappy walk was on the right.
All the groups were ordered to walk with the needle on the left or right side of the display, but they had no idea what either side indicated. Following that, students were given both positive (e.g., “beautiful”) and negative (e.g., “ugly”) words and asked to write down the ones they remembered the best.
The results clearly demonstrated that those who had trained a joyful walk were able to recall more positive words, whereas those who had practiced an unpleasant walk recalled primarily negative words. Conclusion: Our posture affects not only how we feel, but also what information we pay attention to and retain.
10. Our body’s hubs
The structure of our brain could be one explanation for the link between our body’s behavior and our mental state. Things affect us on an emotional, mental, and physical level and all of these levels are linked via so-called central hubs in our bodies.
As a result, if we have a mental experience, our physical and emotional levels are naturally aroused as well, meaning that we not only feel the event mentally, but also emotionally and physically – thanks to the strong link that connects our body and mind.