Right now, whether you are aware of it or not, your body is adjusting to meet the demands of the moment, like shifting positions in your seat to get more comfortable, while reading this blog. Yet, most of the time we have no idea of what our body is doing or what micro messages it is communicating to us and to others. What’s miraculous about us as human beings however is that we have the ability to catch and influence these movements and either adapt, ignore, resist, or even move against them.
By being aware of your body movements you can increase your intelligence, alter your mood on demand, and improve your communications to others.
1. Movement awareness can help you think more clearly and turn up the dial on your smart meter.
Research shows that the brain can take cues from body movements to understand and solve complex problems. In 2009, University of Illinois psychology professor Alejandro Lleras, along with Laura Thomas of Vanderbilt University, conducted a study on problem solving and body movement. They set out to test if a person’s ability to solve a complex problem could be influenced by how he or she moves. They tested fifty-two University of Illinois students. The results showed that body motion affects higher order thought and complex problem solving. Lleras and Thomas reported, “People tend to think that their mind lives in their brain, dealing in conceptual abstractions, very much disconnected from the body. This emerging research is fascinating because it is demonstrating how your body is a part of your mind in a powerful way. The way you think is affected by your body and, in fact, we can use our bodies to help us think.”
2. Movement Awareness helps you create more happiness and less stress.
In Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy’s TED talk, Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are, she noted, “Power posing such as raising the arms above the head as when a player scores a touchdown, increases testosterone and decreases cortisol, the stress hormone. Contracted movements, on the other hand, diminish your personal power and, in turn, your effectiveness.” Movement awareness is a great sensor that can alert you when chronic, subconscious thinking patterns kick in. For example, you might notice your whole body becomes tense when you try to take control of a situation that you’d be better off letting go of. Or you might look down and see your leg shaking furiously, which could indicate that you are getting anxious or bored. Start observing your body movements and breathe, move, lift your arms up and wave your hands, open up your chest real wide, shake that tail feather, and watch your mood shift almost instantly. Don’t worry. Make an expansive move and be happy.
3. Movement Awareness helps you improve your presentation and response to others
We all walk around with our own “billboard.” communicating messages about what we are thinking and feeling. For most of us this is largely unconscious whole body communication. It includes vocal tones and inflections, physical gestures, postures, involuntary movements, breathing, pacing of speech, and numerous other subtle and not-so subtle signals. If you broadcast mixed messages, you’ll get mixed messages in return. That incongruence generally results in confusion, difficulty and self-sabotage. The messages we broadcast on our billboard can mean the difference between success and failure, intimacy and isolation, health and ill-health. Conversely, when we are conscious of our body movements, then we can be aware of what we’re feeling and communicating, and begin to function with natural confidence, power and efficiency, and connect more authentically with others.
Continue observing your movements with awareness, as a new tool to help you access your deepest truth in an efficient way, move you in the right direction and improve your thinking, your mood and your interactions with your self and others.
This article has been republished from Psychology Today.