Understanding body language is invaluable. Wells and I love talking about body language and using it to improve our lives. The reason we love it so much is because it is not only powerful, but simple. By making a few small changes in your body language, you can improve your health, create a more optimistic attitude, and open yourself up to more opportunities with other people while creating a more powerful and positive presence in their lives.
Open Your Body
Try this little experiment:
- Sit down and cross your arms while tucking your chin down towards your chest, looking at the ground
- Next stand up, open your arms, spread your fingers as wide as you can, and look up at the ceiling while smiling. Yes, actually smile. You might feel like an idiot at first, but trust me, this is cool.
- Now go back and forth between these two sets of postures, one open and one closed. Do it 3-4 times.
Notice how you feel. Which feels better? If you are like most people, opening up and smiling feels much better, not just because you feel happy, but because there are positive changes going on in your body when you open up.
Open Your Heart and Lungs
Opening your body also opens up your heart and lungs. Here are two exercises you can do that will specifically target these 2 major organs:
- Flap your wings up and down like a bird. Start by standing up and holding your arms by your side. As you raise your arms towards the ceiling until they are pointed straight up, initiate a slow inhale. As you slowly lower your arms back to your side, exhale. The key here is to match your movement with your breathing. This specific exercise stretches your upper body, opens up and expands the lungs. Do this consistently and you will notice a considerable difference in your ability to take full, replenishing breaths.
- Do the same motion of “flapping” but back to front. Hold your arms out in front of you, like a zombie would in a movie(Think Frankenstein). Now start to bring your arms backwards until your upper body and arms are forming a “T”. Coordinate your breathing while you do this. Inhale when you bring your arms back, giving yourself a nice stretch, and hold your breath for a few seconds before bringing your arms back to starting position along with a nice relaxing exhale. This exercise opens not only your lungs, but also your heart.
Why are these exercises important?
Most of us have something called muscular armoring in our bodies, particularly our chests. Have you ever had a broken arm or leg that required a cast? In this situation, your limb is in a fixed position for many weeks, and sometimes months. Once you get the cast off, you have trouble moving your healed limb and regaining its old mobility and flexibility. You have to move it around slowly and practice.
The same thing occurs with our heart and lungs, but our rib cage and chest muscles are the cast. When we don’t move our chest enough, or in the right ways, a resistance builds up. This resistance and muscular armoring literally restricts our heart and lungs from performing at their fullest potential. When you take off the cast of muscular armoring by loosening and working out your chest muscles, you free up these 2 major organs.
- Your lungs are responsible for pumping oxygen into your body. You can go weeks without food, days without water, but not more than a few minutes without oxygen. The urge to breathe is even stronger than the sexual urge to reproduce. Most people don’t think this way, and as a result their lungs are severely underutilized, depriving them of the oxygen that fuels everything in their life. Oxygen is carried by the blood to all of your muscles, organs, brain, and cells in your body. Learn to use your lungs correctly and you learn to nourish your entire body with life giving oxygen.(The lungs do way more than just this but for now just try to realize how important oxygen is to your livelihood)
- Your heart is responsible for pumping blood through your body. Like I just said, blood carries the oxygen to your muscles, organs, brain, and cells in your body, and gets rid of the waste products such as CO2 that are expelled from your body. Your heart is the engine that fuels this process. Do these exercises to free up and relax the muscles around your heart, allowing it to do its job and increase your quality of life in the process.
Open Your Life to The Opportunities Out in the World
When you think of someone who is a positive and powerful force out in the world, do you think of them as curled up in a ball, arms crossed, frowning, and making themselves as small as possible?
What comes to mind for most people is someone who is spread out, smiling, open body language making them more inviting and open(think of a good friend opening his arms inviting you to hug them), and giving their gifts to the world.
Think of the difference in mindset between these two people. The first person is looking dejected, depressed, and defeated. The second person is looking open, happy, victorious, confident, and not focused on himself but on the world around him.
When you adopt either of these postures, you take on the same mindset. If you are walking into a business meeting or meeting someone new, do you think it’s better to project openness and confidence or to be closed off and timid? Most of us have all had these interactions and the people we meet that are open and confident are the ones we remember, because they are projecting positive energy with their body language. The timid, closed off people are most often forgotten, simply from their body language. They close themselves off, they are not putting themselves out there to be remembered, content to hide in the corner wrapped in their own self-consciousness.
Practice being open. Whether it’s smiling, keeping open hands and arms, or simply focusing on another person as opposed to being wrapped up in your own self-concern. You will not only present yourself as a more powerful and positive social influence, but you will create more happiness and openness in your own life. People pick up on this, and they love to be around positive, influential, confident people. Simply by opening yourself up to the world and to others, you open yourself up to the confidence others will have in you. People will trust you more, ask you to take part in new adventures and opportunities, and give you their attention and affection simply because of the positive impact you have on them.
The message here is simple. Open your body language, and you open yourself up to the world and to others, to good health, to giving your gifts in the form of your presence and receiving the gifts and opportunities that others have to offer.
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