Posted by: Jo Banks
There's a very quick and easy way to change how you're feeling...
There is an inextricable link between our physiology (how we hold our bodies/our facial expressions/tone of voice etc) and our emotions. Our physiology goes far beyond just body language and is a true indicator of how we are feeling. In fact, our physiology and our emotions are so closely linked that if we want to immediately change our ‘state’ (how we are feeling) we can do it rapidly through changing our physiology.
Let me explain; if I said to you, “Behind that door is someone who is incredibly depressed, tell me how they look” you would be likely to say that their shoulders are slumped, they are looking down, their gestures are laboured, their breaking is shallow and they keep sighing. If I said, “Behind that door is someone who is happy and excited, how do they look?” you would probably say that they are animated, they have a big smile on their face, they are standing up straight with their shoulders back and their tone is sharp and quick” ... It’s very easy to guess what someone is feeling by their physiology.
Now, the fantastic thing about actually knowing this is that in any moment you can change your emotions by changing your physiology. It really is that simple. We can't, no matter how hard we try, display the physiology of one emotion whilst feeling another ie we cannot feel depressed whilst we display positive/happy physiology. We can't feel tired whilst we display energic/non tired physiology, it’s impossible!
When I first came across this concept, I remember I’d done a 14 hour day and was driving home thinking of how tired I was and how much I had to do when I got in. I remember groaning to myself and thinking, “How am I going to get all that done when I’m so tired … and I have to be up again at 5.30 am, it's 9.30 pm now and I still have loads to do!” Then I remembered to change my physiology to change my emotions. I then noticed my body language and I was aware that I was a little slumped in my seat, with my shoulders drooped, I was frowning and my mouth was turned down and I kept huffing and puffing and I was thinking of the tasks ahead with dread. I immediately sat up straight, put my shoulders back, took a big deep breath in and … smiled.
Wow, what a difference it made! I felt far more energised and the tasks ahead seemed far less daunting and I’ve got to be honest, I was astonished. Had I not tried it, I wouldn’t have believed that something so effective could be so simple. The next morning when the alarm went off, instead of moaning and groaning and getting annoyed at the alarm, I sat up in bed, took a big deep breath in and smiled. It was like a revelation. I’ve always found it difficult to get up in the morning, now, I have to say, it’s a breeze.
Since that day, whenever I find myself slipping into any old negative physiology patterns, I sit up straight, put my shoulders back, smile and take a deep breath. It’s so simple, but makes a massive difference. I use it all the time with my clients too and they are astonished at how quickly they can change their state just by changing their body language, breathing and facial expressions.
So here’s today’s exercise; for the next 3 days keep an eye on your emotions. If you start to feel any negativity, observe what you are doing with your physiology and change it. Put your shoulders back, sit/stand up straight, take a deep breath in and smile. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you move from negativity to positivity and the more you practice this, the better you will be at it.
Trying to stay positive just through positive thinking alone is very difficult; the thing about positive thinking is that you have to think about it! If you continually adjust your physiology when you notice any negative emotions/thoughts, it will greatly help in changing those old patterns of behaviour and move you towards more natural positivity.
I’d be interested to know how you get on with this, so let me know how you get on, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us for a free, no obligation consultation on how we can help you live a more positive life.
Visit the website for Jo Banks' first book, Thoughts Become Things now available in paperback and Kindle formats.