We use defensive body language to figuratively protect ourselves against aggression, which isn’t always physical either. In fact, the vast majority of the body language we will see, and appropriately label defensive, is that which stems from emotional roots. Defensive body language is a set of postures that make the body feel protected, secure and comfortable in awkward situations. Defensive body language is also similar to submissive body language in that the postures are aimed at protecting vulnerable parts of our bodies, or in size reduction turning our bodies into smaller targets.
Aggressive body language is nearly the mirror opposite. Here the body prepares for a real or figurative attack as it becomes loose or tenses up and tries to appear larger and more threatening. Aggressive body language can happen by clenching the fists, finger pointing or flared nostrils more technically termed “nasal wing dilation”, and much more as we will see.