As humans, we are deeply connected to body language. Slumped shoulders, a stiff posture, wide eyes, these signs communicate things to us about the emotions of the people who carry them. For a long time, it was believed that this connection between your mind and your body only went one way: the way you felt changed the way your body looked.
But recent research into nerve and muscle feedback has provided evidence for a two-way connection: your body language can change how you feel. So far, the research has focused on making people smile more, or frown less, and then having them report their mood throughout the experiment. As you could probably guess, doing either one makes people feel happier and emotionally lighter.
But if you ask me, you can already extend this kind of body-to-mind therapy to your mind-body routines, and for more than just smiling. Think about how you want to feel, and then picture what body language goes along with that. It's like being an actor.
If you want to feel strong and confident before a workout, stand up straight and puff out your chest. If you want to calm down, lay down and let your shoulders relax. If you want to feel good about your new weight loss routine, smile! Maybe you could even hold a chopstick between your teeth like they did in the experiment to create an artificial smile.
Most importantly for your wellness, be mindful and pay attention to the emotions that your body language is communicating. Not just to others, but to yourself as well. Subconsciously, your mind will pick up on your shoulders slumping, or your back hunching, or your feet dragging. Flip those signs of sadness around into body language of happiness and confidence, and your mind will catch on sooner or later.