How Your Body Can Dictate Your Brain and Emotional State

The link between the body and the brain is a complicated two way street and one that many of us don’t fully appreciate. Studies into the placebo effect and the existence of psychosomatic illnesses, demonstrate just how powerful the brain is at affecting the body in ways we aren’t aware of, but what may surprise you is just how much your body can also impact on your brain. Your body can have an effect on your thinking, on emotional state and on your confidence. Understanding this correlation and knowing how to use it to your advantage, gives you a powerful tool that you can use to take control of your emotions, to gain confidence and to alter the way others perceive you as well. Read on to learn more…

Facial Feedback

One of the most telling illustrations of this process is ‘facial feedback’. Facial feedback is a phenomenon, in which the facial expression we pull has been shown to impact on our mood. So while you might assume that you smile because you’re happy, the reverse is also true; smiling makes you happy. This then means that if you find yourself feeling depressed and upset, one of the best things you can do is to force yourself to smile. You won’t feel much like it, but after a while you’ll find your mood improves.

Grounding

Looking at someone who is very upset and worked up, you will often notice that they get ‘higher’ in a number of ways. They’ll stand taller, their voice will get more high pitched, and they will become more animated and tense. This of course doesn’t look good and will tell other people that they are over excited and possibly not very confident. Furthermore though, it will also cause them to get even more worked up as they get themselves in a flap (that’s pretty much how panic attacks happen).

If you find yourself getting tense and agitated then, something that can help is to try ‘grounding’ yourself. Breathe more deeply and in a more controlled manner, relax your shoulders, and try to slow everything down a little. This will make you look a lot more confident instantly, and as a result you will also feel more confident and relaxed. Control your body, and you can make yourself cool in a crisis.

Confidence

Changing your posture is a method that we all know for improving confidence, but it’s surprising just how effective it can be. If you are standing with your shoulders slumped, looking down and your arms practically dragging on the floor, then you won’t make much of an impact on the people you speak to and you won’t feel particularly good about yourself either.

Instead then, puff out your chest, stand taller and gently tense your muscles. Being taller than other people will instantly make you feel like you have an advantage, whereas the heroic pose will be beneficial due to associations that it carries for all of us. Then there’s the fact that looking up can make us feel more positive, which in turn can impact on our confidence.

Creativity

Many things have been shown to improve creativity and this includes altering your posture. According to research, a quick way to make yourself more creative and to come up with more good ideas, is to simply try lying down. Any ‘supine position’ (that means reclined) will apparently help you to be more creative, possibly because we’re more creative when we are relaxed. Also helpful is to try and shut out external stimuli, so if you need to come up with a good idea fast, try lying back and closing your eyes for a few minutes (but don’t go to sleep! =).

Energy and Mood

Of course your body ties in with your energy in all kinds of ways and this can have knock on effects on your mood, productivity and efficiency. If you are feeling down in the dumps and failing to motivate yourself then, one of the best things you can do is to exercise which will result in the release of ‘happiness hormones’ like endorphins and dopamine and which will get the blood circulating better around your body. If you want to exercise right now but don’t have the motivation to head to the gym, try jumping up and down on the spot for a bit and swinging your arms. It will be the last thing you want to do, but as soon as you’ve done it you’ll find you have more energy for a full workout. This is also a great way to psyche yourself up if you are about to go into an interview or give a talk.



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Adam Sinicki

Adam Sinicki is a full time writer who spends most of his time in the coffee shops of London. Adam has a BSc in psychology and is an amateur bodybuilder with a couple of competition wins to his name. His other interests are self improvement, general health, transhumanism and brain training. As well as writing for websites and magazines, he also runs his own sites and has published several books and apps on these topics.

Follow Adam on Linkedin: adam-sinicki, twitter: thebioneer, facebook: adam.sinicki and youtube: treehousefrog

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