We relax when we don’t feel an immediate threat.

We relax when we don’t feel an immediate threat.

Identifying relaxed body language helps us find people that belong, or that feel they belong, in a given situation. Those that are relaxed do so in environments they “own” and control and the higher is a persons’ status, the more diverse will be these environments, although situational novelty also plays a major role in comfort. Even low status people have a variety of locations in which they feel relaxed because being relaxed is a function of feeling that no threat is present and this is based largely on experience.

Relaxed body language is any body language that lacks muscle tension, the body is loose and the arms and legs move freely and naturally swaying with any motion. The torso may sag slightly to one side, or slump, but is not held by irregular tension. Thus, the body holds regular open body postures, with the arms and legs uncrossed. A leg might even be tucked under the body, to be sat on, showing that one is not prepared to leave and doesn’t expect to be caught off-guard. Breathing is steady and slow and can even become deep showing even more relaxation. Smiles happen in coordination with the eyes and the lips are not simply stretching across the face. The eyebrows are stable or move along with speech rather than frowning and the eyes gaze rather than stare and blink at a regular rate. The forehead will have no tension and we should watch for wrinkles which is an easy give-away to tension. Lines and wrinkles in the forehead quickly showing fear.

Taking on a relaxed position and postures when around others, such as slumping in your chair or tossing the legs up on a desk can be a way to increase your status. Other cues indicating a relaxed body includes leaning further back far in a chair, sitting deep inside a comfy sofa (versus sitting at the edge in a ready position) dangling an arm over the back of the chair, opening up the legs instead of crossing them, generally taking up more space and more open body positions.

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