You may not realize it, but the way you hold yourself and move can reflect who you are as a person. At the very least, your body language indicates how you feel inside at a given time. It’s natural for our facial expressions to mirror the emotions we’re feeling, but our posture and gestures also reflect what’s going on in our minds.
For example, those with high self-esteem tend to have an upright posture and walk tall, while those who lack confidence slouch or shuffle their feet when they walk. Your body language can also signify that you’re feeling uncomfortable in your environment, which could lead people to think that you are experiencing unspoken issues or negative feelings about them.
We should all be more mindful of our body language because we might be sending out messages that conflict with our intentions. Without realizing what we’re doing, we’re also missing opportunities to add more substance and validity to our verbal messages.
Let’s explore some common body language signals that may reveal how you are feeling.
You make nervous, abrupt movements
Fidgeting and making brusque movements can indicate that you’re insecure or uncomfortable in your surroundings. This could be due to something happening right at that moment or because you feel out of place in general.
You are slumped over or resting your hand on a surface
This type of body language may be seen as non-threatening, but it reflects low energy and sadness. This can be upsetting to others because they might assume that you aren’t interested in the conversation or that you’re not happy with their company. If you find yourself in this position, sit up and lean forward so that you can demonstrate a level of interest.
You have a closed-off expression on your face
When you wear a closed facial expression, it conveys that you aren’t truly listening to what another is saying. Either that or you don’t care, but these messages tend to go hand-in-hand.
This is not to be confused with a blank face, which, just like frowning, can demonstrate unhappiness.
You avoid eye contact
This is a universal gesture that indicates that you are shy or anxious. It can even come across as deceit or lack of intelligence or confidence.
When someone breaks away from direct eye contact, they might not feel comfortable as they’re hiding something or lying.
You cross your arms
At times, you may unintentionally close yourself off to others even though your body language signals to others to keep their distance. Crossed arms or even legs can indicate that you feel defensive, resentful, or closed off, which can be perceived as distrust or dislike.
On the other hand, you might stand with your arms crossed but your shoulders down, chest open, and chin up. This posture exudes confidence, directness, and sincerity. However, note that to some, it may signal dominance.
Should you change your body language?
You don’t have to change your entire body language or have it preoccupy your mind to the point where it interferes with staying present in conversations. But being aware of how some common gestures come across will help you become more conscious of the signals you are sending out.
If being aware of your body language doesn’t change how others react to you, try not to take it too personally! Just because you’re working on it doesn’t mean others are always aware of their behaviors and reactions.
Finally, keeping these points in mind when communicating with others will make a big difference in how you feel inside. Being mindful of your body language will help express who you are and what you truly mean to say.