When happy, one smiles. 😊
When angry, the brows naturally furrows. 😡
When ashamed or insecure, we droop our shoulders and look downwards. 😔
Emotional state → Physical state
These are natural physical "reactions" to our emotions. It doesn't take much to discover that our emotions control our physical responses, hence the term "reaction" which suggests that our physical state responds to our emotions.
You might wonder if our physical expressions are a product of social norms that we learned from observing others. a study has gone one step further to prove that it could be just part of nature. This interesting study recounted how an athlete reacted by punching both fists skywards in a classic display of triumph, with a unique difference in that this athlete is born blind and had no visual reference to such physical reactions. Hence, the researchers concluded that we are "programmed" with a set of physical responses to help us covey our emotions. After all, non-verbal communication was found to take up a whopping 55% of how we convey ourselves!
Physical state → Emotional state
I would suppose what is lesser-known would be that... our physical state also affects our emotional state! If we follow the argument that we are genetically coded to have our physical actions tied to our emotions, then this connection should work both ways!
Experiments have found that when volunteers kept their brows furrowed, they were more likely to interpret the sentiments of a sample text as negative. And the opposite is true, those who kept their brows up and far apart are more likely to interpret sentiments of the same sentences as positive.
So how do we make use of this interesting finding?
We can try to "hack" our emotional states at times by adopting the ideal physical stance that represents the emotional states that we want to achieve!
Here are some examples:
If you are nervous before an interview (of course everyone would be), instead of closing up (e.g. hunching, folding our arms) like how we instinctively do when we feel insecure, adopt a more "open stance", such as keeping shoulders pulled back, feet apart, will help you feel less insecure and even more confident!
When you are frustrated at something/someone but will like to keep your cool, relax your brows and release the tension at your forehead. You will at least feel that the fire will stop escalating.
When you are unmotivated and will like to hype yourself up, physically get your heart pumping (e.g. do a few push-ups or star jumps) and you will instantly feel a wave of "can do" energy.
Hope these hacks work! Try them and let me know. 😉
Your choice of expression actually affects your emotions!
Posting late since work is getting busier (it's a happy problem)! Nonetheless, keeping the commitment to "just show up". How's everyone doing. Do remember to take care and have a wonderful week.