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The Power of Body Language

Much of communication happens through your body. Your body expresses beliefs, emotions, needs, and attitudes. You respond to and track body language throughout an interaction whether consciously or subconsciously.

There are some common body postures that you likely recognize at the conscious level. The gesture of arms and legs crossed and head turned slightly away, is typically perceived as resistance or disinterest. But if you asked the person sitting this way about it, you might hear something like, "I am sitting like this because I feel scared and angry, but it doesn't mean I don't want to resolve this with you." Hearing what else is happening for this person, you can respond to the complexity in them rather than just responding to your perception of body language.

You can also consciously engage body language to support connection. For example, turning towards, making eye contact, letting your arms open and relax on your lap or at your sides, and breathing deep into your belly are examples of body language that support connection.

Sometimes directing yourself to engage in body language associated with connection can help you get connected.

For example, when you are caught in states of guilt, shut down, or shame your body will typically express this with eyes averted, head down, shoulders rounded, caving in the chest (depleting you of oxygen), body moving slow, leaning to one side, eyes staring and unfocused, etc.

Noticing your body posture you can make a choice to do something different whether you "feel" like it or not. The simple act of looking up and around to take in the sky and the world around you can shift or interrupt a particular state. Consciously pulling your shoulders back and opening your chest and heart chakra allows oxygen and energy to flow more freely. Standing straight and tall sends an undeniable message to your system that you are worthy.

Body language can be much more than nonverbal communication. It can be a conscious choice, a point of contact in conversation, and a support for connection.

Practice:

This week notice what your body is communicating. Is it communicating your intention to experience connection to life? It might be helpful to take on one body posture as a mindfulness task. For example, looking up and around every time you step outside or sit in front of a window.

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