By Jimmy Warden
There is a saying out there that states, “body language talks”. I want to one up that phrase and state that not only does body language talk, in fact, it screams. Think about the messages we send on a daily basis every time we present our body language. We don’t simply state how we’re feeling with our body language, instead we tell a story that we everyone sees, and therefore hears, through their interpretation of our body language. Think about the time that you were hunched over and slouching while walking down the street. Chances are, you were pretty down in the dumps, and were sending the message that you didn’t want to interact with anybody, based on your body language. Think about a time where you were feeling the opposite way and you were standing up straight, perhaps even with your shoulders back. You were showing the world that you were ready to take on challenge and that you are proud of who you are. This is why it is crucial to understand how our body language can affect us, and those around us.
Studies have shown that poor posture tends to have a correlation with negative emotion. Any time we are embarrassed, sad, or frustrated, we tend to tuck our head into our chest, shielding our face and eyes from what’s around us. We also tend to have a slouched back, or hunched shoulders, our head often looks down at the ground as we avoid eye contact. We often do this subconsciously, so we are never really aware of our body language. Other people, however, are very aware. They can see the message that we are giving off. They know that we’re not feeling at your best. If we were aware of this, we might actually try to demonstrate some different body language if we didn’t want to make it so obvious that we were going through a hard time. That’s why people who are confident tend to have better posture and body language.
People with positive body language tend to be more proud of who they are, what they’re bringing to their lives and those around them, and their body language reflects it. They often have their head held high, they could also have their shoulders back slightly to showcase their “proud chest”, and they might even have a smile on their face (these days it’s harder to notice with masks). These all showcase that they are in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing. They tend to have more of a positive effect on those around them because people see how they are living their life and these other people want to mimic that behavior, so they can also have the same levels of self-esteem and pride in their lives.
We mimic behavior because we have mirror neurons in our body that send us messages to mirror what other people are doing. This is why people imitate. We see that someone else seems to be having a better time than us, so we study what they do, and try to emulate it. This connects directly with body language. When others laugh, what do we do? Laugh! When others are avoiding eye contact, what do we tend to do? Avoid eye contact. When someone introduces themselves, eagerly, what do we do? Introduce ourselves in a similar manner. The main reason is that these mirror neurons observe what someone else is doing and feeling, which triggers a similar feeling in us, and that often sparks an imitation of behavior. This is why it is important to be aware of our body language.
When we become more aware of our body language, we’ll be more aware of the nonverbal messages that we are sending to other people. Whether we’re happy, excited, sad, frustrated, or disappointed, our body language often reflects what we feel. Other people see our body language and interpret these emotions through the mirror neurons firing in their body. So, next time you find yourself in your feelings, do a quick check-in with your body language to make sure you’re sending out the right message.