"Every breath you take, every move you make, every smile you fake, I'll be watching you," sang Sting back in the '80's. Except, it's not quite true. We're not really watching those little signals from others, and, perhaps even more significantly, we're not paying attention to the movements and signs from our own selves.
Your body language is instant messaging all the time, both to you and to others. While we may not be consciously reading other's movements, deep inside we know when someone is flirting, or angry, or close-minded, even if our conscious mind denies the information. More importantly, your own body language is constantly feeding back to you. For example, your face is a swiftly changing landscape of expressions that your nervous system constantly interprets. Each smile, frown or raised eyebrow sends a signal that releases hormones--from oxytocin (the cuddle hormone) to adrenaline--racing through you, producing various emotional states. It's been shown that changing your own body language can not only change how others feel about you but can also change the way you feel about yourself. Whether you're in a long-term relationship or are still looking for the "right one," this can be an invaluable tool.
HERE'S SOME BODY MOVEMENTS TO CONSIDER
Your breath tells others, as well as your own body, whether you are trapped, need to defend yourself, are in love and much more. Each emotion has a breath pattern as well as a posture and facial expression. The fastest way to tune into your emotional life, as well as to change it, is to tune into your breathing pattern. Here's an example: Don is a young, hi-tech entrepreneur--super brainy guy who spends a lot of time at his computer. He came to see me because people kept telling him he made them nervous, but he wasn't sure why. The most prominent aspect I noticed of Don's demeanor was his breath. He took short, rapid, shallow breaths, followed by a periodic long gasp, very reminiscent of the breath of someone in terror! He had no idea he was doing that, and no one had been able to recognize this habit.
There is a phenomenon called "entrainment" often observed in piano stores. If you hit the "C" of a piano, the other pianos in the store will vibrate in the key of C. Two cells beating at a different speed, in different petri dishes, will eventually begin to beat together. Around Don, people felt stressed and uncomfortable without knowing exactly why; they were...