Body Language Articles
Here you will find articles about how body language can help you understand human behavior. Learn about the ways you can pick up on what a person is thinking is feeling and be more sensitive to those emotional states. You can also learn about how your body language makes people feel and other ways you can reveal your emotions to people.
Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA
Human beings express themselves in a multitude of ways, one of which is verbal speech. Another way that human beings commonly communicate is through body language. You can often tell what someone is thinking or feeling based on their body language. Think about eye contact - if someone is looking into your eyes, it is likely that they are listening to you or trying to understand what you are saying. If someone is on the Autism spectrum, however, they might have difficulty making eye contact. It doesn't mean that they aren’t listening to you. It merely says that eye contact is a challenge for them. The same can also be true for those who live with ADHD. They may get distracted, and their eyes may become fixated on something else, but they might still be listening to what you are saying. Understanding what else goes into communication can help you determine how someone else is feeling.
“Are you lying to me?”
Though everyone’s body language is a little bit different, it can give you insight into how a person feels. If someone is lying, for example, you might be able to tell by observing their body language. Detectives and police officers often use techniques to figure out if a person is telling the truth or not. Let’s go back to eye contact - usually, when a person lies, they may quickly look away and fail to look into your eyes. If someone shifts their eyes after being asked a question, they are probably lying. Here's where it is important to note if a person does have ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) or ADHD. If they do, looking away may not mean that they are lying to you. It could just be that they are uncomfortable or distracted.
How Body Language Helps People Understand Each Other
If you are interested in someone romantically, you likely want to develop a connection with them. One way to tell if a person “likes you like that” is to notice if they touch you. Sometimes, a person who has a crush on you will express it through the way that they position their body relative to yours. They might turn to face you and “open up” their body. By opening up their body (uncrossing arms or posture), they are showing that they feel safe with you. Once you feel them emotionally move towards you, can reciprocate their action by taking the conversation to a deeper level. Paying attention to body language is an integral part of developing relationships with others.
Anxiety and Body Language
Anxiety can be a difficult mental health issue to understand if you have not experienced it yourself. Picking up on a person's body language can help you to understand their struggles. For example, if you are in a crowded area and you notice that your friend is tense, shaking, or that they appear to be agitated, that body language indicates that they are getting anxious. So, what can you do as their friend? One thing that can be helpful is to turn to your friend and say “How are you feeling right now?” If the person is about to have a panic attack (or if they are already having one), they may not be able to answer your question, but their answer or their body language will let you know if something is not right. Then, you can take the opportunity to get them a glass of water or direct them to a quiet area. Asking what a person needs, rather than assuming, is crucial in this situation.
Learning Body Language in Different People
If a person has their arms crossed and they are scowling, what do you think that means? Likely, it says that they are angry or frustrated. Sometimes, when a person is angry, they need space. If you push a person when they are agitated or angry, they may explode on you. Observing their body language can help you prevent this from happening. If you notice that a person is angry or entering a state of rage, know that you do not need to argue or discuss the matter that is upsetting them right away. You can take a break from the conversation or leave the area and take a walk to give them a chance to simmer down. Body language can also tell you if a person is sad or depressed. If you appear lethargic or scowl a lot, others may pick up on this and see that you are slipping into a depression. It’s important to take care of your mental state and picking up on your own actions can be helpful in the pursuit of what you need.
Seeing an online counselor can help you to understand what you are experiencing. When you work with a therapist, you can learn about how your actions impact others. When you meet with your counselor during a video chat, they will be able to pick up on your body language. Body language is a great medium to use to express what you are feeling to them. If you’re doing gestalt therapy, your therapist may lead you to practice mindfulness meditations. This method of treatment helps you to experience body awareness. You can learn a lot about yourself by observing your physical body. A mind-body connection can be used to improve your mental health. Online counseling is a great way to help you learn more about yourself and develop your mind-body connection. Consider searching through BetterHelp’s online database to find a licensed mental health professional that will suit your individual needs.