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Eight Hacks to Read Body Language

Eight Hacks to Read Body Language

These are some of the hacks to understand body language. Mastering the art of reading body language can certainly help you get along with people more easily. However, the level of accuracy is debatable since each human has his or her unique way of acting and reacting. While relying entirely on body language is not recommended, having some cues does no harm. Knowing these makes you proactive when communicating with any stranger or the new person you meet from next door.

How about being able to actually read and decode people’s gestures? It would be fun and useful, right? Here are eight hacks to figuratively read what is written between the lines.

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  1. Closed arms and legs: Keeping arms and legs closed signify that you are not open to new ideas. It signifies that you are a closed person mentally and physically. In order to refrain from sending such signals, make sure to keep your hands open as well. Keeping your legs crossed is a turn off since it comes across that the person is reluctant to adapt or welcome change. This also reflects being defensive and closed. When sitting, make sure not to keep your legs crossed since it doesn’t send a friendly signal.
  1. Hold the gaze: It might sound cliché but it is absolutely true that establishing eye contact becomes tough when the person is bluffing. If you desire to know whether the person before you is lying or hiding something, look straight into his or her eyes and establish strong eye contact. The bluffer often becomes self-conscious under such a direct gaze making it easier to read him or her.
  1. Nodding excessively: While some of us involuntarily nod while attending a lecture or listening to something that is intriguing, some nod excessively. Excessive nodding signifies that the person wants you to know that he or she is attentive. It also conveys that he or she is slightly anxious wondering what you might think.
  1. Fidgeting: You must avoid fidgeting. It is seen as a sign of nervousness- as if you are nervous and to cope you are trying to distract yourself by indulging in physical movement.
  1. Where they look: In a group setting if you wish to gauge the level of bonding that people share, then you should try cracking a joke. While everyone bursts into laughter, check who looks at each other or gives a high five. The people who instinctively look at each other while laughing are the ones who are either close or interested in each other.
  2. Look straight: Whenever someone is talking to you it isn’t easy to gauge whether he or she is keenly interested in the conversation or is merely doing it out of formality. Look at their toes. If they are pointed towards you it means they are keenly willing to converse with you. However, if their entire body is turned towards you but the toes are in some other direction then chances are they are not as interested as they are pretending.
  1. Tapping the feet: A lot of us subconsciously tap our feet which is highly undesirable. It is a sign of incredible boredom and unwillingness to pay attention. Make a conscious effort to avoid the tapping of feet because it is not just annoying but also affects your reputation as a listener. Hence, avoid it at all cost.
  2. Pointing with index finger: You may not realize it, but when memorizing a song, dialogue, or scene inside your head, you probably make some gesture with your index finger. In some cultures, pointing at objects with the index finger is unacceptable. In American and European cultures it is considered rude to point at others.

Featured photo credit: Diary of a reluctant blogger via diaryofareluctantblogger.com

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Bhavik Sarkhedi

Founder of Write Right - A Content Marketing Company

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Last Updated on June 6, 2019

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

In 2011, the Finnish Tourist Board ran a campaign that used silence as a marketing ‘product’. They sought to entice people to visit Finland and experience the beauty of this silent land. They released a series of photographs of single figures in the nature and used the slogan “Silence, Please”. A tag line was added by Simon Anholt, an international country branding consultant, “No talking, but action.”

Eva Kiviranta the manager of the social media for VisitFinland.com said: “We decided, instead of saying that it’s really empty and really quiet and nobody is talking about anything here, let’s embrace it and make it a good thing”.

Finland may be on to something very big. You could be seeing the very beginnings of using silence as a selling point as silence may be becoming more and more attractive. As the world around becomes increasingly loud and cluttered you may find yourself seeking out the reprieve that silent places and silence have to offer. This may be a wise move as studies are showing that silence is much more important to your brains than you might think.

Regenerated brain cells may be just a matter of silence.

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     A 2013 study on mice published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function used differed types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on the brains of the mice.[1] The silence was intended to be the control in the study but what they found was surprising. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence per day they developed new cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning.

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    The growth of new cells in the brain does not necessarily translate to tangible health benefits. However, in this instance, researcher Imke Kirste says that the cells appeared to become functioning neurons.

    “We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons, and integrate into the system.”

    In this sense silence can quite literally grow your brain.

    The brain is actively internalizing and evaluating information during silence

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      A 2001 study defined a “default mode” of brain function that showed that even when the brain was “resting” it was perpetually active internalizing and evaluating information.

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      Follow-up research found that the default mode is also used during the process of self-reflection. In 2013, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Joseph Moran et al. wrote, the brain’s default mode network “is observed most closely during the psychological task of reflecting on one’s personalities and characteristics (self-reflection), rather than during self-recognition, thinking of the self-concept, or thinking about self-esteem, for example.

      “When the brain rests it is able to integrate internal and external information into “a conscious workspace,” said Moran and colleagues.

      When you are not distracted by noise or goal-orientated tasks, there appears to be a quiet time that allows your conscious workspace to process things. During these periods of silence, your brain has the freedom it needs to discover its place in your internal and external world.

      The default mode helps you think about profound things in an imaginative way.

      As Herman Melville once wrote,[2]

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      “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.”

      Silence relieves stress and tension.

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        It has been found that noise can have a pronounced physical effect on our brains resulting in elevated levels of stress hormones. The sound waves reach the brain as electrical signals via the ear. The body reacts to these signals even if it is sleeping. It is thought that the amygdalae (located in the temporal lobes of the brain) which is associated with memory formation and emotion is activated and this causes a release of stress hormones. If you live in a consistently noisy environment that you are likely to experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.

        A study that was published in 2002 in Psychological Science (Vol. 13, No. 9) examined the effects that the relocation of Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University notes that children who are exposed to noise develop a stress response that causes them to ignore the noise. What is of interest is that these children not only ignored harmful stimuli they also ignored stimuli that they should be paying attention to such as speech. 

        “This study is among the strongest, probably the most definitive proof that noise – even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage – causes stress and is harmful to humans,” Evans says.[3]

        Silence seems to have the opposite effect of the brain to noise. While noise may cause stress and tension silence releases tension in the brain and body. A study published in the journal Heart discovered that two minutes of silence can prove to be even more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music. They based these findings of changes they noticed in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.[4]

        Silence replenishes our cognitive resources.

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          The effect that noise pollution can have on cognitive task performance has been extensively studied. It has been found that noise harms task performance at work and school. It can also be the cause of decreased motivation and an increase in error making.  The cognitive functions most strongly affected by noise are reading attention, memory and problem solving.

          Studies have also concluded that children exposed to households or classrooms near airplane flight paths, railways or highways have lower reading scores and are slower in their development of cognitive and language skills.

          But it is not all bad news. It is possible for the brain to restore its finite cognitive resources. According to the attention restoration theory when you are in an environment with lower levels of sensory input the brain can ‘recover’ some of its cognitive abilities. In silence the brain is able to let down its sensory guard and restore some of what has been ‘lost’ through excess noise.[5]

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          Summation

          Traveling to Finland may just well be on your list of things to do. There you may find the silence you need to help your brain. Or, if Finland is a bit out of reach for now, you could simply take a quiet walk in a peaceful place in your neighborhood. This might prove to do you and your brain a world of good.

          Featured photo credit: Angelina Litvin via unsplash.com

          Reference

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