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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 16-Mar-12


Friday 16-March-12

How you look changes what they say

When you are talking with other people, do you ever think about your facial expression? Do you even know what it is like? Most people have no idea what others see when they look at their faces. Expressions are subconsciously created and rapidly as we experience different emotions. Body language overall says much about what you are feeling and your face even more so. The face has about 90 muscles, 30 of which are just for expressing emotions.

Learning to read body language is a very useful skill. Reading your own is important too, and especially knowing what your face is doing, because that is where most people will be looking. Because we are always communicating with our bodies, when we are with other people they are also always responding. And of course we are responding to them, and so on.

A good place to start with body language is a constant awareness of the facial expressions and the shape and dynamics of the rest of your bodies of those around you. Try to work out what they are feeling and wonder why this is so. Notice how their different postures changes how other people respond to them.

Also and carefully note your own body language, including your facial expressions (this is particularly difficult). Ask yourself, without judgement, what you may be feeling to creates these body shapes. You may also wonder why, and what has caused these feelings. Think back to your train of thoughts. Also note how you are responding to others.

Again also note how people respond to you differently based on your body language. We are often unaware of the signals we are sending and attention to these can help enormously. Knowing body shape, arms, etc. is not too difficult. Harder is to know the shape of your face, where 90-odd muscles are at play. A way you can get more skilful at this is to look in the mirror as you make faces and notice on the inside how it feels. If you can see yourself as others literally see you, then you may understand far better why they respond as they do.

Avoid trying to manage your body. You cannot control all your muscles and trying to do so only ends up with control of some and you sending mixed messages that indicate attempted deceit, which of course you do not want to do.

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