Abundant Optimism

Helping people regain and keep an optimistic outlook in challenging circumstances and improve their creativity, mind, and skills.

Become More Optimistic Through Body Language

By Tamara Martfeld

If you have ever looked at a comic strip, watched a movie or television show, or gone to the theater, you have seen the universal signs that a character is sad, depressed, or otherwise “down”. They have a sad-looking face. Their shoulders are slumped. Their head is hanging low. They are dragging their feet. In some cases, the whole body is slumped over.

When you are exhibiting the same signs of sadness or depression, it takes a toll on the mind. Even if you start out in a good mood, your body language will pull your emotions down. The body and the mind are connected. In addition to gaining sad or depressed emotions, you will notice the body hurting, straining, and becoming tired faster.

Changing your body language will lift you up and give you a more optimistic outlook. Throw your shoulders back and your chest out (comfortably, not exaggerated). Lift your head up and align it with the body. Stand tall like a dancer. Dancers stand as if a string is pulling them up by the head. Look straight ahead, not up (don’t push your chin out as if you are looking down on someone). Put on a happy face with a big smile. Walk with pride and confidence, even if you feel neither at this time.

It is hard to believe until you try it, but these simple changes in body language will trick your mind into thinking things are better. Give it at least half an hour to take effect – the time can vary from person to person. Any non-physical problems will not go away, however, they will tend to not seem quite as bad. Many times these simple body language changes will make everything around you seem brighter. Again, the mind and the body are connected.

Some physical problems will be reduced or eliminated by these body language changes. If you start in a full deep depression posture, as you change your body language you will notice headache pain reduced or eliminated. Neck strain will go away. Back strain will cease. Your body will get more oxygen because your lungs are no longer depressed by your posture. Muscle tension will be reduced or eliminated. You will have more energy. You will not get exhausted as quickly. With the extra oxygen you may find that your thinking is clearer. In general, you will feel better.

This can become a positive cycle. As you feel better, your emotions improve, and as your emotions improve, you feel even better.

An added benefit can be that any harassment you are experiencing may be reduced or eliminated. The body language showing sadness and depression is also the body language associated with many victims and easy targets. By changing the body language you look more confident and less as a victim, and this change may direct harassment away from you. I have read many self-defense-type articles which state that those who harass, bully, and attack tend to do so to people who look like victims.

These simple body language changes can make a big difference in your life. If you are truly sad or depressed, I suggest setting up a reminder of some sort to check your body language about every half-hour until you get into the habit. If you are very depressed, please see a professional even if this works well for you.

Have a wonderful October, and watch out for those goblins toward the end of the month!