Canyon Ranch Blog

What Your Body Language Says About You

We may think that speech is our most impactful form of expression, but research shows that body language might play a bigger role than you may expect—one that could be a hidden source of tension or misunderstanding in relationships, both at home and at work.

One popular study found that when it comes to expressing your likes and dislikes, 55 percent of what you communicate is conveyed through body language; the words you choose and the tone of your voice account for 7 percent and 38 percent, respectively. Other research notes that non-verbal behaviors may account for as much as 70 percent of what we communicate. When you are aware of the way you move, body language can help you get your point across, like when you give a warm smile or open your arms to make someone feel welcome. But when you’re not aware, you may send signals that don’t match what you’re feeling or thinking.

The next time you’re speaking with someone, take a moment to be conscious about whether or not you’re engaging in any of the body language below. While there are exceptions to all of these cases—why you’re moving your body a certain way, what others are thinking when you do so—you may find some of the possibilities interesting and helpful during your interactions.

 

Furrowing Your Brow, Tightening Your Jaw

Others May Think…you are confused or angry.

It may be your body’s response to processing information, but these signals can make it seem like you are upset or unclear about what someone is telling you.

Try This: First, look in the mirror while you consciously relax your forehead and jaw. See the difference and note how it feels. Then, the next time you’re out, take the time to check in with yourself to make sure your face is not tensed. And if you do find yourself confused or angered about something, talk about it. Explaining what you’re feeling rather than making a face is the best way to get on the road to reconciliation.

 

Crossing Your Arms

Others May Think…you’re anxious and lacking confidence.

Keeping your arms wrapped in this way is reminiscent of a hug, and it may give the impression that you feel the need to be comforted, or that you don’t want to talk.

Try This: Let your arms fall to your side, or cross them behind your back. This sends a message that you are calm and open to communication with others. (If you are in fact in a situation that makes you feel apprehensive, changing your arm position can also help give you a boost of confidence.)

 

Overusing Your Hands When You Speak

Others May Think…you are out of control and not worth being taken seriously.

Gesturing when you talk is natural and generally seen as a sign that you’re a warm and agreeable person. The problem arises when your hand and arm movements become wild, or when you rely too much on gestures that can be viewed as accusatory, such as finger pointing.

Try this: Keep your hands low and use one gesture per thought. If you’re in a social setting, try holding a drink in one hand to help you limit your gestures.
Sitting Slumped at a Table

Others May Think…you are not important.

While you may think you appear polite, a shrinking-violet stance—with arms and legs crossed and shoulders pulled in—may convey that you don’t have much to contribute to the conversation, or that you are unsure of yourself.

Try This: Open up your shoulders and put a hand on the table, or lean forward. Taking up a bit more space shows that you are present and ready to participate.

Tapping Your Feet, Bouncing Your Leg

Others May Think…you’re bored or losing patience.

Fidgeting in this way can give the impression that you are restless and can’t wait to be done with a conversation. This can make others uncomfortable—think of how you feel when you are trying to engage with someone whose mind seems to be elsewhere.

Try this: Before you enter a situation where you’re likely to bounce your feet, silently remind yourself of your habit. Having it top-of-mind will help thwart your fidgeting. (Crossing your ankles helps, too.) If you feel like these repetitive movements are beyond your control, speak with your doctor about other possible conditions associated with these symptoms, like Restless Legs Syndrome.

10 Surprising Tips for Managing Stress
Explore a new way to get back to a place of peace
Read More
The Calming Effects of Candlelight
A simple flame can soothe and center you—learn how to use candlelight as part of a ...
Read More
Bank a Better Night of Sleep
Restorative restful sleep is key to staying healthy and energized
Read More
8 Ways to Reach Your Healthy Weight and Stay There
Find out if you’re doing all that you can to achieve your goals
Read More
10 Ways to Boost Your Immune System
Do what you can to keep your body's natural defense strong
Read More
Massage for Pain Relief
Learn which type of rubdown is best for what’s hurting you
Read More
Managing Seasonal Lows
If you suffer from winter sadness, try these ways to lift your spirits
Read More
Spirituality & Your Health: A Q&A with Dr. Finley
Nurturing this connection can support your wellness journey in powerful ways
Read More
11 Stress Relievers for a Healthier Brain
Sound strategies for managing negative thoughts and supporting positive brain changes
Read More
The Big Benefits of Losing Small Amounts of Weight
You'll reap rewards even before you reach your ultimate goal
Read More
15 Things You Can Do to Live Longer
Do what you can to maximize your odds for a longer and healthier life
Read More
7 Myths About Drinking
Learning the truth about alcohol can help you make healthier choices
Read More
Book Online or Contact Us
Book Now Contact Us

Questions & Reservations

Tucson, Arizona +1 800 742 9000
Lenox, Massachusetts +1 800 742 9000
Kaplankaya, Turkey
SpaClub®, Las Vegas +1 877 220 2688
Groups: +1 877 862 0583
SpaClub®, At Sea Queen Mary 2: +1 866 860 4662
Oceania Cruises: +1 877 329 1924
Regent Seven Seas: +1 877 329 1924
Celebrity Cruises: +1 844 860 4662