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November 20, 2016

Confident Body Language

Confidence or more particularly the Self-Confidence is one of the core requisites of the social and professional lives. It’s not at all secret that exactly how crucially the exhibition, expression and display of self-confidence matters in our lives. How much confidence you have in yourself is how much others can have it in you. Correct?

Right from very normal and casual social interaction to extreme conflict; confident body language can make an enormous and a long lasting difference. Confident exudes and speaks loudly and clearly through body position, orientation, posture, voice and facial expressions.

After all, why showing, displaying, expressing or exhibiting Confidence is so much critical while interacting? Many people might give up responding to an under-confident, timid and uncertain person because it feeds to awkwardness. Nervousness is nothing but an inability to deal with and face people courageously. Also, low-confidence simply means increased level of vulnerability.

People might try to avoid a person because they can’t predict that how an under-confident or fearful person would react. Worst part of being under-confident is that few people with anti-social and evil mentality would try to dominate, overpower, take control of or even harm such person.

Nervous, Afraid, Cold?
If state of under-confidence or cowardliness is really harmful then most probably you might be thinking that being always aggressive and showing off aggression is a very good alternative. Not at all!

We cannot remain aggressive on constant basis. Unwarranted or unnecessary aggression leads to terror, aggression, hostility, withdrawal and retaliation in others.

If it’s really necessary to do so then friendly and co-operative people would tolerate or go along with an under-confident person but not certainly i. e. an aggressive one. So very important questions we’ve here are - How to be or look like a Confident person? How to display Confident body language?

To understand same, we need to study our basic physiology very closely. Our core defensive mechanism works more precisely and stealthy in relation with and through different body parts and sections. Until we don’t learn it thoroughly, we may not understand crucial importance of confidence in body language. Despite of having a very powerful brain, wisdom and aptitude; we cannot stay unharmed or safe all the time. We all are vulnerable and our body is not much stronger. We have to admit that human body is weak and it needs to be protected.

Grizzly bear standing on legs
Even if it's best in the entire animal world, bipedal anatomy (i. e. ability to walk on two limbs/feet) makes body more vulnerable. Why exactly? Walking on two legs exposes torso and abdominal area.

Thus these two major sections of body can easily be targeted by others. Most internal organs are covered by bones and muscles but there are some parts which are covered by only a thin layer of skin.

Front side of neck and sections of torso (upper body) which are not protected by rib cage i. e. stomach, abdomen and venereal (genital) area the most vulnerable. Any serious impact any injuries to these sections can lead to impairment, paralysis and in worst case - death too.

So aren’t other organs or body parts important all all? If you lose your eyes, hands or legs during attack or fight; you may still remain alive but you may not be lucky after being attacked on most vulnerable areas. Let it be historical and modern era, level of confidence in soldiers boosts when armors and helmets are allowed to put on.

So if you keenly observe any person under threat, you would find that it unconsciously tries to cover some of or all mentioned vulnerable sections. Also, the person tries to take cover of something to protect them. Then How exactly a confident person looks, appears and acts? Definitely, it’s entirely opposite to the ways a person remains defensive and withdrawn.

In terms of social interaction, appearing confident or bold is neither being vulnerable nor aggressive. i. e. attaining golden mean of both unaccepted extremes by co-operative, peace-loving and friendly society. Being confident is to face different people, entities, situations, setups and challenges without lack of self-control, fear and uncertainty.

Mostly importantly, it’s about facing the situation and people with enough courage, calm, comfort and easiness. Although many people mistake confidence with aggressiveness, confident body language speaks loudly and clearly to eyes of observers.

Open torso and abdominal region
Being confident and exhibiting the same in presence of people simply means letting the most vulnerable sections of our body keep undefended or exposed even if they’re covered by the cloths of any kind.

Confidence exhibited by a person passes a message to others that the person is fearless, friendly and in-control and thus expecting no injuries to its physically vulnerable hot-spots.

As the person isn’t intended to attack others, they would also remain friendly and harmless towards same. In other words - If you don’t carry a sword in hand; you don’t need to wear an armor.

In the normal conditions, people would to like defend, punish or retaliate only hostile and aggressive person. Any non-hostile and non-aggressive person would definitely be spared. Isn’t it correct?

Avoiding to go unnecessarily aggressive and defensive/submissive is the real key to let people perceive you more positively and if not - harmless and thus as a social person. Most important element of confidence display is to remain composed and comfortable with yourself. Before showing off that how much confident you are, you should feel same inside yourself in the first place. So how exactly confidence is or should be displayed through body language in public? How we can exhibit same following good manners? What things we can avoid as best?

First of all, avoid adapting postures which don't let you feel comfortable while walking, seating and standing. Don’t hunch in your back, don’t slump at neck, don’t cross your arms on chest or pocket your both palms of both hand at once. Avoid shifting posture and making hand gestures erratically and frequently.

Do maintain proper and sufficient eye contact while interacting with others. Especially during verbal interactions, it’s really good to maintain direct eye contact with people almost 75 to 80% of the entire time span. However, culture and society-wise eye contact norms should be followed for better results.

Do you really want to remain in-control of yourself along with appearing equally impressive? Please do remember few basic things that I’ve mentioned over here. Very first personal advice from me is to never cross your arms over your chest if it’s not required. Crossing arm over chest is a defensive or self-doubting stance.

It might be your signature pose (“I, me and myself!”) for photographs but your crossing arms over your chest in public should be avoided especially till the moment you don’t find very need to defend or protect or defend yourself. Avoid clenching fists, gesturing arrogantly and pointing by fingers toward others. Also, don't intrude in private space of others.

Arms crossed over chest
Keep your both arms straight, away and parallel to your torso. Don’t pocket both of your arms at once. Also, don’t pocket the arm alongside of which most important person stands, walks or seats alongside of you.

If it’s possible and easy for you then keep both palms facing towards your body while standing and walking. If you’re seating in a chair having armrests then put both of your arms on them.

Never hold end of the armrests tightly but let your open palms rest on them comfortably. While sitting in a chair, expose your upper body to others and avoid creating any physical barrier between your torso and others. Keep your shoulders wide but don’t let chest puff profoundly.

If you’re sitting in a chair without armrests then you can rest your forearms on your thighs or entwine fingers of both palms near abdomen. Women may not be able seat with squared shoulder and fully exposed torso like men but they definitely can show confident stance along by following local standards and norms.

Best posture to be adapted by women is an upright torso, one leg put on another and palms either put on thighs or fingers of both palms entwine near abdomen. For both both men and women, placing or keeping both legs parallel to each other on ground is good.

Change starts from within
What if you assume yourself as an under-confident person and thus missing-out interesting and meaningful interactions? Well! It’s time to take yourself more easily and positively. Until you’re not comfortable with yourself then it’s nothing but a compromise. In result, you may not be able to express yourself in a healthier manner.

It’s also worthy to remember that you can change yourself and ultimately the way people look at you. Unlike makeup we put on put on our faces, shift in nature cannot happen instantaneously but gradually and partly. After all, we’re not robots to change overnight in appearance, configuration and functioning.

It you want to make a great improvement in your self-confidence; routine exercise and fitness training is a very good option. It not only assures health or immunity but also gives you better sense of self-control. If you’re really afraid of other people due to any physical and psychological weakness, do join self-defense or martial art classes.

Confidence builds bridges and not walls among individuals.

Techniques you learn there would definitely increase level of confidence and also decrease vulnerability. Still, you need to learn to control your defensive impulse while reading emotions on faces and bodies of people, as accurately and quickly as possible.

Related Articles:
1) Good posture is Healthy 2) Positive Body Language 3) Face to Face 4) First Impression and Body Language 5) Power Postures 6) Body Language of Extreme Psychopath

April 24, 2016

The language of eyes

As far as I remember, I couldn’t watch a single horror film or TV show, from the beginning to end. After growing up, I began to hate and express loathing towards disgusting faces and scenes that dominate most of the horror movies and shows. I don't waste my time in watching horror on screen, even if it's entertaining(?).

Now, I can exercise my choice to walk away from television screen, switch it off or simply hop to next satellite channel whenever a horror movie/serial is broadcasted or played by somebody. My eyes, ears and brain are free from getting horrified, expressing loath and feeling disgusted. Total relief from mental torture!

However, it wasn’t so easy in childhood days when all others in my family wanted to watch horror movie/serial and I needed to keep myself away from horrific or disgusting scenes. Having just a single large television set kept in a hall, I had no other choice but to stay put in presence of my family members watching and listening to horror.

Whenever any horror movie/serial was being broadcasted, I used to put cotton balls in my ears and try to look away from television set. As I clearly remember, I used to bury my eyes in books kept nearby purposefully. There's a great coincidence in body language that fear is as primitive as eyes and their movements are controlled the primitive brain.

Blocking Eyes? Scared?
Just by keeping my eyeballs away from television, I used to avoid extremely anxiety and stress which might have caused by watching the horrifying and disgusting scenes. My eyes were giving away my honest yet fearful intentions to defend myself from psychological distress

Although my senior family members used to call me “Coward”, I never feel bothered about it at all. At least, I never had any characters from any horror movie/serial in my dreams since I didn’t watch them in the first place. Smart strategy it was then and it is now - Simply avoid looking at what might invite stress.

From expressing different emotions, intentions and feelings to signaling attention and orientation, our eyes unconsciously give away various kinds of and very important clues to the outside world. To put simply, eyes do or can reveal much more than what a person says, doesn’t say at all and tries to prove or disprove.

From the very first moment of your entry into this world to the last moment you’ve interacted with anybody or even looked your own face into a mirror, eyes have mattered way too much into your life. Didn't they? Through movements of muscles that surround eye sockets, even blind people convey their emotions e. g. frowning in anger.

Eye of Horus (Egyptian God)
After all, why our eyes really are so communicating? In the world of creatures, human eye is considered as one of the most marvelous organs or body parts if its structural complexity and functionality is considered. Also, unlike most of other organs, eyes are directly connected with brain to an area called which is called as Visual Cortex.

Additionally, eyes are the only sensory organs that start developing in womb quite earlier, right from 4th week after conception. Right after face, eyes are considered the most important element in every facet of human interaction, so much so that merely images and emblems of eyes can trigger array of emotions and feelings.

Before development of ability to speak or the very facial muscles that help in expressing emotions, our remote ancestors and all other creatures had to depend on their eyes for communication along with other movable body parts. They had to use eyes, area surrounding them and other parts of face to send different clues to members of their groups as efficiently and timely as they could.

Through millions of years of development and adaptation (evolution), human eyes became capable of doing so many things than just seeing things e. g. expressing respect or supremacy, signaling interest or aversion, giving away lust or rivalry, seducing or derogating etc.

Different types of eye contacts with different
intentions, emotions, motives and moods

Like computerized eye-trackers, most of us choose to pick and encode signals given away by eye balls and pupils only. In Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) techniques, “eye-ball response assessment” or decoding cognitive states by detecting movements of eye balls is most popular.

These readings might be accurate but they are highly controversial in main-stream scientific community. After all, eyes don’t just give away cognitive but range of clues which we’re going to see next. I’m quite sure that most of them are first time you might be reading about.

While reading or decoding language of eyes, we have to consider different areas or sections like sclera (white part of eye ball), iris (darker part of eye ball), pupils (darker spot in center), ocular muscles (muscles that surround eye balls), eye lids and eyebrows. Even in some cases, position of neck is also need to be considered.

Before going to clues, we must know what different kinds of clues are or can be given away by eyes. Clues can be broadly categorized as A) Physical B) Social C) Psychological D) Cognitive E) Courtship. Let’s go through them one after another with few examples.

A) Physical Clues: Since input through eyes dominates all other types of sensory inputs reaching to brain, they also give away how and what our brain feels about or rates the physical environment around us. How comfortable we are in given physical environment is unconsciously conveyed by our eyes and its surrounding area. Also, eyes give way clues if our body is suffering from any internal or external factors such as injury, exhaustion or unrest.

A very good example of same is our unconsciously response to light, air flow or harmful entities. When harsh light or wind current hits our eyes, we simply squint or protect our eye balls by tightening muscles that surround eye balls.

Eye lids are partially or fully closed if required. Eyebrows are also pulled down to provide additional protection to eye balls. If extreme conditions, we cover our eyes with palms, look down or move our face away.

Eyes also give away if we are experiencing intolerable pain e. g. badly aching tooth or broken bones. Response to pain and physical sufferings is given away by squinting, pulling eyebrows down and shedding tears. When I compare photos of my face taken at the time when I was suffering from intense back and neck pain with those taken after end of sufferings, I clearly see that area around my eye balls appears more relaxed.

B) Social Clues: Each of us is an integral part of human society which is filled with people having varying socio-economical statues, authorities, resources, belongings, experiences, skills, age groups and physical capacities. Superiority (or dominance), Equality (or equi-dominance) and Subordination (or sub-dominance) can loosely be translated as Respect or Authority, Friendship and Insignificance respectively.

The way one person makes an eye contact with somebody or the way it puts itself into relative physical position (elevation and distance) while looking at other person(s) conveys how the person wants other person(s) to regard him/her. It might be irrespective of how other person(s) really regards him/her. Eye contact made by a dominant, powerful or superior person is exactly opposite to what a subordinate, powerless or inferior person does.

Egoistic, dominant and powerful persons make unhindered, straight, steady and elongated eye contact (with no smile). Most often, they raise their chin to express their confidence and lower it down to derogate or frighten. Often, they maintain considerable physical distance from subordinates and if possible - place themselves on high elevation.

Running eyes from tip to town of subordinate is also done by bossy or type A persons. Imagine a king sitting on a high throne, looking over officers in his court.

C) Psychological Clues: As eyes collect visual clues to be sent to brain, they are also involved in expressing few basic emotions. In fact, facial expressions related with various emotions and feelings are incomplete without eyes. On the other hand, only eyes and its surrounding area are capable of giving emotional clues even when other parts of face are hidden or invisible to an experienced and skilled observer.

Surprised child
Muscles around eyes and eyebrows convey basic emotions like fear, anger, surprise and sadness. While expressing both fear and anger, we pull our eyebrows close to each other and downward only to give protection for eye balls while eye balls appear to be larger in size. However, inner ends of eyebrows move upwards and away from each other in fear.

In sadness, eye balls appear to be normal size and eyebrows aren’t pulled downward but only their inner ends move upwards and away from each other. While expressing surprise or shock, eyebrows go upward and away from eye balls since brain needs to collect more and more visual clues coming through eyes. Just eyebrows can convey fear, anger, surprise and sadness.

D) Cognitive Clues: Eyes are gateways to enormous information, knowledge and intelligence because only vision collects more than 70% of entire data which is processed by and stored inside brain. Our eyes give clues about how much we are interested, attentive, focused and even in dire need of collecting visual information coming from any entity, person or situation.

It starts with looking at something covertly or overtly. Our eye balls and especially pupils (darker part of eye balls) are re-directed towards the entity. If we are comfortable about and not afraid of the entity then we keep looking at same continuously without squinting, blocking our eyes or moving our eye balls somewhere else. If we’re focused then we bat our eye lids very less.

If we aren’t able to understand, figure out, grasp or clearly focus on something then we squint and pull eyebrows closer to eye balls. Not understanding something clearly leads to stress which is conveyed by tensed eyebrows and muscles around eye balls. If something arouses us or fires up neurons inside our brain then our eye balls appear bigger and eye lids are pulled wide apart.

E) Courtship Clues: If we find somebody (belonging to opposite gender) interesting or appealing then we don’t hesitate to look at the person. In fact, we crave to have glimpse(s) of that person at multiple times. Additionally, we want to let the person know our interest (irrespective of that person’s interest in us) by attracting its attention towards us in many different ways e. g. gesturing or touching our own body.

Come-Hither look
Who you’re looking at can easily be detected by the direction and angle at which your irises are set. More you covertly or overtly look at the person; more it shows your developing interest about same. Unlike man’s direct gazing, woman can observe man of her interest by glancing him sideways. They are master in using peripheral vision so their observation remains almost undetected for most of the time.

If both parties are mutually interested then they start to look at each other briefly and then look away repeatedly for a considerable amount of time. Come-hither look in which a person looks at person by dropping its chin (and closing eyes partially) is a classical signal of invitation for intimacy. When both persons want to move ahead and initiate courtship then they start looking in each others' eyes. That’s why eyes play a pivotal role during courtship.

Apart from broader classification/categorization of clues mentioned just above, we’ll see some well-known nonverbal give-aways too.

1) Rubbing eyes: Primarily, rubbing of eyes is done to clear away dirt, dust or stickiness from eyes, which we often need to do after getting up from bed in morning. It is also done if a person gets tired of something and wants to take a short break.

2) Blocking eyes: Generally, blocking of eyes is done when we don’t want to look at something, which might be disturbing, distressing or frightening. Also, if we don't want others to look into our eyes (to read our mind) then we simply block them.

3) Gaze aversion: Gaze aversion is done when we don't want others to know that we're looking at them. It is also done when we loose interest in something or somebody. Instantaneous gaze aversion indicates shyness, anger, nervousness or withdrawal.

4) Sleepy eyes: Sleepy eyes convey lack of energy, lack of enthusiasm, lack of freshness and sadness. When we get bored of something or somebody, we staring at same with partially closed eyes. Sleepy eyes suggest weakness, illness or psychological disorder too.

5) Enlarged pupils: Size of pupils is directly controlled by brain. When our brain needs more visual input, our pupils get enlarged. Enlarged pupils convey excitement, arousal and increased level of activities inside brain.

6) Downward gaze: Downward gaze indicate lack of confidence, nervousness, shyness or self-involvement. Downward gaze also suggests embarrassment, insult, loss or sadness. Also it suggests (temporary) social withdrawal.

7) Line-of-sight gaze: Line-of-sight gaze indicates interest, attentiveness, confidence, courageousness, enthusiasm or social involvement. Line-of-sight gaze is considered very normal and also more (socially) acceptable among all other kinds of gazes.

8) Upward gaze: Upward gaze indicates imagination, visualization, fantasizing, thinking, creativity and also (temporary) withdrawal from social interaction. Looking up also indicates stubbornness, contempt, dislike, boredom or preying to almighty.

9) Closed eyes: When we close our eye, world around us cease to exist. Loosely closed eyes with no stress around eye balls indicate peacefulness, contemplativeness or meditativeness. Tightly closed eyes indicate high stress, pain or internal conflict.

10) Shifty eyes: Shifty eyes or unsteady gaze suggests confusion, fear, stress, craziness or lack of confidence. Unlike steady gaze or direct eye contact, shifty eyes during face to face interactions are considered less trustworthy.

11) Blinking eyes: When eye lids start opening and closing rapidly in cycles then it's considered as absolutely abnormal. (Rapidly) Blinking eyes suggest fear, nervousness, guilt, anger and instability. Blinking also suggest hyper neural activities.

Eyes smile too!
If you really want to become master the language of eyes then you have to become a very good observer by being highly attentive towards (minute) details. You must be mentally present in any given situation and have your eyes (and ears also) completely fixed on the person you're observing.

Ability to pick and decode different clues and signals given away by eyes with respect to the given situation is really important but also very challenging for many of us.

I'm quite sure that it ultimately would open a portal to your social development. More you try understanding people; more you become confident, prosperous, peaceful, secured, strong and satisfied. What else you might want?

Related Articles:
1) Just by looking at Hands and Eyes 2) Importance of Eyes 3) Are you Jealous?