Body language and its effects on emotions are largely unknown to most of us, despite not being particularly complex to interpret.
The problem is that even people who are intuitive with body language perceive it unconsciously, even though they are sensitive to interpreting it correctly.
The key to the effects, both positive and negative, on attitude is the circuit that is generated within us, and that makes body language, posture or gestures affect our attitude and mood and vice versa.
In this article, we are going to focus on improving our attitudes through positive and open body language, but we must remember that to maintain a positive attitude we must complement it with other strategies, apart from the correct posture.
Modifying Attitudes Through Body Language
The first thing is to be aware of what gestures say about a person’s emotional state.
Generally, we are not fully aware of what we do with our body, and starting to realize what our body reflects is the first step to correcting it and taking action, directing us toward a more positive attitude and thinking.
We are going to emphasize several aspects that affect us:
1. The Magic of Smiles
When we smile at a person, they usually smile back at us, which generates a sensation of cause and effect, awakening positive feelings in both of us.
Our brain is programmed, after centuries of evolution, to recognize the smile as a gesture of “no conflict” and continues to react positively towards them.
People who did not interpret these signals in the past multiplied the risk of conflict, diminishing their chances of survival.
Therefore, it is important to remember the effect of the circuit between body expressions and positivity, looking in the mirror and drawing a smile on our face, making the gesture happy. It can be the beginning of a torrent of positive thoughts, which end up improving our day.
Both laughter and smiles help regenerate the immune system, make us more persuasive, facilitate learning, favor interpersonal relationships and lengthen life. Ultimately, they heal.
2. Defensive Use of Arms and Legs
Surely you remember the last time you felt uncomfortable in a situation from which you couldn’t escape, whether it was cramped on the subway, in a boring conference, or receiving a scolding from the boss.
If you noticed, you likely had your arms crossed and maybe your legs or feet pointing towards the exit, also crossed.
This is a reflection of a defensive attitude and close to stress, which, as you can imagine, does not favor a state of positive thinking. We are putting a barrier between us and the threat.
As children, when faced with a threatening situation, we tend to hide behind solid objects and, as we get older, this movement becomes more sophisticated, since it is socially unacceptable to see an adult hiding in this way.
As we grow older, we begin to develop the gesture of crossing the arms tensely in front of the chest. During adolescence, we begin to relax this gesture to end up becoming that crossing of arms that we already know. During adult life, this defensive gesture may even become less obvious.
Therefore, being in a closed and defensive position does not do our mood well, making us less sociable and predisposed to defensive attitudes.
An open and relaxed position makes us flow better and we tend to feel more secure.
3. Walk Tall and Claim Your Space
In this case, we are going to go much further back in time, even before we were born, to remember our position in the womb, when we were so warm and safe.
That well-known fetal gesture is what we go back to when we adopt a stooped position and lower our heads, in a situation of trouble or sadness, trying to return to the safety and comfort of the mother’s bed.
The problem is that our familiar body-brain language circuit re-enters the scene and we tend to prolong these defensive attitudes over time, even at the slightest hint of trouble.
If we want to combat these situations, we must become aware, stretch and straighten the body, raising the head. Automatically, we will run away from those negative feelings and start to make our circuit work positively.
Something similar happens with the living space. Depending on our customs and lifestyle, we are used to a certain space, which will make us feel more or less uncomfortable having people around.
It is also time to be aware, and claim the space we need, depending on the situation in which we find ourselves, to feel comfortable and adapt to it.
Our body language reveals much of what happens to us inside. We can be participants and learn to control the intensity of our emotions according to our attitude, not only mentally, but also physically, through our body language.