Have you paid attention to your body language and the message it sends out to others and to yourself?
Have you wondered why at times people react very differently to you than you expect or the intent of what your message was? You might notice that you reacted negatively to a message that actually may have been neutral or even positive. We have all heard, it’s how we deliver the message.
In general, we can break down communication in three areas: words, tone of voice and nonverbal behavior. In fact, many studies show that the majority of our communication is through nonverbal elements such as facial expressions, gestures and posture.
When it comes to facial expressions, they are integral when expressing emotions through the body. Combinations of eyes, eyebrow, lips, nose, and cheek movements allow you to interpret someone else’s mood and convey your mood to others, as well as yourself. Studies show that facial expression(s) and bodily expression / body language are congruent according to the emotions.
Sitting or standing body postures also indicate one’s emotions. For example, a person sitting against the back of a chair, leaning forward and nodding along with the discussion implies that the person is open, relaxed and generally ready to listen.
“The body never lies.” – Martha Graham
From the inside out and the outside in
While most people have heard about the importance of body language in communication, many are not aware of how our body, habits or position, facial expressions, and habitual muscle tightness affect our own emotions.
Look around…how many people do you see who tightly press their lips together, frown, or clench their jaws. If you make them laugh suddenly their faces, bodies and mood changes significantly.
As we express our emotions through our body – from the inside out – we can also deliberately enhance our feeling of wellbeing by working on our body – from the outside in. Take a deep breath and relax your jaw and open your lips slightly – how does this feel? Straighten your back and bring your shoulders back – do you feel more confident embracing your day? Sometime ago, I heard that looking up and smiling releases serotonin…the happy hormone. Try it and see what happens!
READ ALSO: 11 Ways to Improve Your Body Language
We invite you to take one week to get to know your body and boost your well-being through the following exercises:
1. Relax and Smile: Be aware of when you tighten your lips, bite, and clench your jaw. Take a deep breath, slightly open your lips and give a Mona Lisa smile. Your whole body will start to relax. Check in with yourself again, ideally every hour to practice this.
2. Happiness and confidence: Increase your confidence by practicing good posture – shoulders back and eyes looking forward instead of down. Now, raise your arms up every hour. This is a great exercise to improve your happiness, as well.
3. Calm and Peaceful: When we slow down our breath and practice deep abdominal breathing our fears and worries disappear. Practice deep abdominal breathing through prolonged yet gentle exhaling, opening the space for deep and slow abdominal inhale.
Once you start paying attention to your body, you will become aware how it sends out various signals to others and yourself. Enjoy taking charge of your physical body to positively affect your emotions and wellbeing.