Our Body Can Change Our Mind

images-4In December we evaluated the difference between hearing and listening and discovered the power of channel 2 listening and it’s ability to tap into our senses. By asking courious questions to extend dialogue, we can deeply understand another by empathically listenening. So I ask, how is your Channel 2 listening coming? Have you noticed any changes in your ability to connect at a deeper more meaningful level with others? Have you noticed that you’ve been able to recognize and read their non-verbal communication?

“What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

imagesSo let’s take the understanding that 55% of communication is conveyed through body language to another level. Because body language reflects our attitude, emotions, thoughts, feelings, personality traits, and typically our verbal communication, this is important to understand and very useful skill to have.

“I speak two languages – body and English.” Mae West knew how to read people well and she also knew what sold – sex!

When I did some deeper research on body language I found the five C’s of body language. These components of non-verbal communication may be useful in improving our ability to read non-spoken messages.

Cues – are usually instinctive and can be internal or external. Cues can demonstrate what a person is thinking or feeling which relay to a shift in body language.

Changes – are the transitions that a person goes through such as open to closed. When you see these transitions look for the cues that triggered them.

Clusters – body language may be simple such as the crossing of legs and folding of arms yet often will appear as a group of movements. These signals typically convey the same meaning and the ensemble of the movements combine to provide the overall message

Character – we need to factor in the character of the other person. This can be used as a filter to understand an individuals moods and short-term emotions. When you can determine an emotional state you can better understand what their body language is saying.

Context – this can indicate how a person feels, thinks, and acts. What is going on in the immediate environment as well as what is going on in their lives, will shape the interpretation of body language.

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I’m a big fan of TED Talks – one of my long-term goals is to get up on a TED stage to provide a talk on personal mastery. (When I say long term its many years out!)  A favorite Ted Talk of mine was given by Amy Cuddy, a Social psychologist at Harvard, who partnered with Dana Carney to see if changing our “non-verbal’s” would help improve how we think and feel about ourselves. We know that our minds change our bodies but she discusses how also our bodies can change our minds through increasing our testosterone and the lowering cortisol hormones.

In her talk she reviewed the benefits of power posing and shared examples of those who were giving high power poses such as:

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And low power poses such as:

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Amy and Dana scientifically discovered that two minutes of power posing will change our body chemistry by either raising or lowering our testosterone and cortisol levels. High power poses saw a 20% increase in testosterone and a 25% decrease in cortisol. Low power poses demonstrated a 10% decrease in testosterone and a 15% increase to cortisol. (Testosterone is the dominance hormone and cortisol is the stress hormone.) Typically powerful people will have a higher level of testosterone and lower levels of cortisol, they are also able to react to and manage their stress more effectively. Amy has proven that just two minutes of high power posing can help us to be more comfortable, assertive, and confident.

Women feel chronically less powerful than men; in part this is perpetuated by our culture and the way we were brought up. Knowing that body language can affect how others see us and how we see ourselves is a powerful tool that being cognisant of can help us become more confident.

So what do you say….shall we take our knowledge of body language and power posing and see what positive shifts we can make in our personal and professional lives? I’m in!

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2 thoughts on “Our Body Can Change Our Mind

    • She is one of my favorites because of the real story of personal struggle she went through after her car accident. Two standard deviations to her IQ took away half of her intelligence! She went from AP classes to special education. Wow! Such vulnerability she shared with the TED audience and such a connection she created because of it. Powerful stuff!

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