How your body language can improve your mood

How your body language can shape who you are


Marianna Kilburn
@MariannaKilburn


01 August 2017

How our body communicates

We use our body language to express ourselves, our thoughts, ideas, emotions; we synchronise body movements to the words that we speak. We communicate intentionally through actions like shrugging our shoulders, or clapping our hands as well as through unintentional communication like curling in on ourselves or pointing our feet in a different direction to the person we are having a conversation with. Before vocal language was created our body language was the only method of communication. Our body is our fundamental way to communicate with life!

OK, so body language is great but how does it affect our mood?

Our body language is the way that we connect not only with our external world, but it is also a way that we connect with ourselves. How do you treat yourself? Do you hunch over when you walk or do you walk tall and fulfilled? Are you are grateful for every single movement that your body makes for you?

Probably not; we often take our body for granted, we often choose to criticise it. Body language can not only influence our physical body and posture, but it can also influence how we are feeling. Having good posture has positive effects on depression, and helps us maintain higher levels of self-esteem and positivity when we are faced with stress.

An upcoming field of psychology, known as embedded cognition, claims that the connection between our body and the world around us don’t just influence us but are intimately woven into the way that we think. Studies in this field show that those who sitting in a hard chair are less likely to compromise than those sitting in a soft chair, and those holding warm drinks found others to be more caring and generous than those holding cold drinks.  This research indicates that body language is a two-way street leading to both the external and internal world.

4 ways you can change your body language

Turn that frown upside down!
Smiling and laughing are contagious! A comprehensive study on smiling found that a smile which engages the mouth and moves the skin around the eyes has the ability to activate the brain patterns of positive emotions.  So smile, and smile often! Even if you are having a bad day, smile anyway! It might just help you turn the day around!



Folding your arms
Crossing the arms is a defence mechanism to protect the heart and lungs. We often do it when we feel insecure, nervous, or irritated. The physical barrier gives others the impression that we are closed off and isolated from them.

Crossing the arms is generally thought to be a negative body posture however some studies have shown that crossing the arms can make people more persistent when they feel like quitting.

If you feel you need an extra little boost try taking some natural mood boosting herbal remedies like Hyperiforce, which contains extracts of the flower hypericum (St John’s Wort) traditionally used as treatment for low mood and mild anxiety.

Power posing
One of the major researchers in the area of body language is Amy Cuddy. In her TedTalk Cuddy discusses how body language can be the difference between succeeding and failing at job interviews. She made participants stand in high power poses and low power poses for two minutes before sending them into a high pressure interview environment. She measured levels of the stress hormone cortisol and the dominance hormone testosterone. The results indicated that those standing in high power poses had increased levels of testosterone and lower levels of cortisol than those in low power poses.

Stop slouching
This may seem obvious but slouching not only affects your spine, it can also affect your mood! Physically slouching can lead to back pain and an abnormal spine alignment.  Mentally, it can leave you feeling sad, lacking energy, and closed off from others. Sitting and standing up straighter can help to resolve back pain as well as lift your energy and mood.

Changing your posture can be challenging for your body at first, especially if you are used to slouching over for long periods of time! You might feel muscle aches in the neck, back, and shoulders – don’t worry, this will pass! In the meantime, I’d recommend using Atrogel, a natural pain relief remedy containing fresh extracts of arnica flowers.

Improve your posture improve your mood!

Body language probably isn’t the first place you’d think to look when you are suffering from low mood, but taking a closer look at our body language can tell us how we are really feeling. Our body language has a direct link to our mood in the same way that our mood affects our posture.

4 easy ways you can fix your posture to fix your mood:
• Smile when you are having a bad day!
• Unfold your arms when you feel nervous and allow yourself to be open to situations
• Turning the palms of your hands forward when you walk will encourage the shoulders to relax back rather than roll forwards
• Power pose before stress-inducing situations like job interviews

1 http://www.keepinspiring.me/6-ways-your-body-language-affects-how-you-think/
2 http://www.harleytherapy.co.uk/counselling/the-power-of-body-language.htm

2 Comments

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  • Sarah Daly's photo avatar
    Sarah Daly — 10.08.2017 05:42
    My sister encouraged me to walk with palms forward. it feels a bit odd at first but what a difference to painful neck and back.

    Reply

    • Marianna's photo avatar
      Marianna — 10.08.2017 09:14
      Thanks for sharing this tip Sarah !

      Reply

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