Saturday 27 August 2016


Reader Claire looks at the study of body language and how our gestures and posture can give away how we're feeling inside... fascinating stuff!

Claire says:
I have been doing some research on body language and the findings are amazing! Did you know that your body can tell a very different story to the words you may be speaking? And it's your body that is most likely to be telling the truth, as physical habits are often unconscious. Certain gestures can signal that we are uncomfortable, uneasy, afraid, angry, unhappy or mistrustful... and others will pick up on those signals, even though they may be quite unaware they are doing so.

So... take a look at the illustration to the left. The girl in the picture does not look happy or at ease. How do we know this? Her arms are crossed across her body as if to protect herself, and her legs look awkward, as if she is shifting uneasily from one foot to the next. Her expression is anxious, her lips turned down and her eyebrows slanted in worry. Her eyes slide away from our gaze. If I saw her at a party, I would guess that she was upset or uncomfortable, and I'd go and talk to her to try to make her feel better, although I would be wary in case she didn't want to talk - she is giving very strong stay-away vibes!

What about the illustration on the right? The same girl, yet she looks so different. Her expression is open, happy and friendly, and she is looking towards the person next to her in a direct way. She appears confident and relaxed and at ease... her arms are at her side, signalling that she does not feel threatened, and her stance is strong and yet casual, with one leg bent in a careless, easy manner. I'd definitely talk to her at a party because she looks fun and friendly and interesting, as well as interested in others. I'd also prefer to look like the girl in the second picture, if I was out at a party... and even though I often feel shy and awkward at social gatherings I now try hard not to let my body language betray any discomfort. Looking confident can help you to feel confident!

The next time you meet a new person and find you don't feel too sure of them, check their body language and see if you are reacting to that... defensive gestures, wandering eye movements or an impatiently kicking foot can make us feel that our companion is bored, disinterested or just plain anxious. Remember that body language is not the whole story - but it's certainly a large part of why we react to others the way we do!

Illustrations by Cathy Cassidy

Cathy says:
Fascinating stuff indeed! Does YOUR body language give a cool, confident impression to others, or does your body give away your uncertainty? Are YOU aware of picking up on these types of non verbal signals? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

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