Body language is an exciting tool and I often refer to it as such because I can use it like a wrench or screwdriver and sometimes even a hammer whenever I need it, but sometimes even just for fun. Body language helps in sales and around the office or during an interview, but it can also help in dating and in personal relationships. Body language helps us predict the emotions and thoughts of the people around us. Body language is “intuition.”
The brain and body are closely linked and it is difficult to “untie” them from one another. Telling a lie is difficult when holding honest gestures, such as palms exposed, and similarly, it is difficult to have a negative attitude while dancing. The actions the body performs tends to bleed through into the mind and create positive or negative feelings. Even laughing, done for no good reason, can put someone in a good mood because it helps release all sorts of positive hormones. This is good news for the body language reader!
The limbic brain is responsible for much of the nonverbal language emitted by people because it reacts naturally to the world around us. The limbic brain is the primitive brain, the emotional brain. In other words, the limbic brain controls emotional body language so it’s our best gauge to indicate what the body is really feeling. It is the limbic brain that controls the arms, feet, hands, head, and torso when someone is feeling embarrassed or ashamed, sad, fearful, excited or happy. The limbic brain is hardwired into our nervous system and goes back in time with us through our evolution. The neocortex is the new brain, the rational brain and it works to do what we consciously want and can sometimes act to suppress our limbic brain.
As you read body language, you will eventually come across someone that tries to convince you that their body language has no meaning and is just “a function of comfort.” And they will be correct, when discomfort is present, we do things to rearrange our bodies to feel more comfortable! Often this requires our bodies to put up shields like crossed arms, tucking our chins in, crossing our legs or shoving our hands in our pockets. We’re comfortable because these gestures provide relief to the negative and positive stimuli we encounter in our environment. This is what makes body language difficult to fake and easy to read.