Body language makes up a significant portion of communication, and, although it is not an exact science, it can provide insight into how a person is feeling. Whether you want it to or not, your body language can convey both your feelings and your attitudes. People can gain an understanding of your feelings through the way you position your body, where you position your body in relation to another person, your facial expressions, and your eye movements. Even holding a pen or a purse a certain way can indicate how you are feeling. Knowing that there are so many intricacies to body language, you won’t be surprised to see how many different messages you can convey with your body language.
1. Head Tilt
Have you ever stopped to consider the significance of how you hold or move your head? Until now, I didn’t realize how significant the head is in terms of body language, but now I know it is quite significant. Just think about how many different directions your head can move. Clearly, there are a lot of messages that head movement conveys. For instances, when you tilt your head to one side you are displaying interest and trust. Tilting your head to one side is supposed to give you a different perspective, which you often need when you are learning about something new that interests you. Also, titling your head to one side exposes your neck, which is a sign of trust. Can you believe that so much can be said just by one movement of your head?
Your mouth is one of the most obvious indicators of how you are feeling. You can frown, grimace, smile, and do many other things with your mouth that give others insight into your feelings and attitudes. Even among these expressions there are many variations. Smiling, for example, can indicate many things depending on how you smile. A tight lipped smile indicates secrecy, whereas a pasted smile indicates that the person isn’t really happy. Smiling with your head tilted and looking up indicates playfulness and teasing. So much can be said by just a simple smile.
3. Clenched Fists
Hands are another body part that tends to be very expressive. People often talk with their hands by making gestures or waving them in excitement. There are many different feelings and attitudes that you can express with your hands, including resistance, aggression, and determination. Clenched fists are indicative of all these feelings. Of course, if you are clenching your fists you know which of these feelings you are experiencing, or you could be experiencing them all at once. Keep in mind clenched fists could mean other things as well. For example, when my fingers are cold I tend to clench my fists to try and warm up my fingers.
4. Strong Handshake
Just like hand gestures and motions convey attitudes and feelings, handshakes also have significance when it comes to body language. In fact, in ancient times handshakes were a sign of trust. Now, handshakes can mean many things depending upon hand placement and grip strength. A strong handshake is often looked upon as a sign of confidence in Western cultures. However, in Eastern cultures a strong handshake is a sign of a lack of awareness and respect. Therefore, if you have a strong handshake, you may want to watch your grip strength when traveling to other cultures.
5. Crossed Arms
Arm positions are very good indicators of a person’s mood. I know my arm positions change depending on the type of mood I am in. A common position is the crossed arm position. Crossed arms can mean several different things, including defensiveness or reluctance. When people cross their arms across their chest they can also be doing that to form a protective barrier because they are feeling like someone is dominating them. There are also the occasions when people cross the arms because they are cold.
6. Crossed Legs
Sitting in a crossed leg position is very common for both men and women. There are certain crossed leg positions that have significance regarding a person’s mood or attitude. Crossing your legs so they make a four, for example, is a sign of stubbornness and independence. Crossing just your ankles is a sign of defensiveness. Interestingly, the direction your upper knee points when you first sit with crossed legs indicates that you are interested in something or someone in that direction. One thing to keep in mind when looking at leg positions when a person is sitting, is that they generally only mean something the first thirty minutes or so after someone sits. After that people tend to change leg positions because they are uncomfortable.
7. Close Proximity
How closely you are standing to someone is a large indicator of the type of relationship you have with that person. This is because how far you let someone into your personal space is highly indicative of the significance that person has to you. If you are between 0 to 6 inches of someone, that indicates that you have a very close relationship with that person. This amount of closeness is generally reserve for loved ones. You usually only give people you are close to hugs or kisses. Also, most people are only comfortable sitting right next to someone if they have a very close relationship with that person. Of course, there are the occasions when you are in a crowded area and are smashed next to people. However, those types of situations are very uncomfortable. Being in close proximity to someone and being comfortable requires are very close relationship.
Body language is absolutely fascinating. It says so much about how people feel, their attitudes, and their moods. Being aware of your own body language can give you a lot of insight into yourself and your feelings. Were you aware how much your body language can communicate to the world?