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How Your Legs Secretly Tell Others About What You Are Thinking

How Your Legs Secretly Tell Others About What You Are Thinking

The only time I’m acutely aware of my legs, or what they are doing, is when I’m in spin class. Otherwise, I just accept that they exist. Walking and breathing are two things you do not typically have to think about; it just happens. Unfortunately, this usually means I don’t know what my legs are doing when I’m interacting with someone. This is not to say I have no awareness of my legs, just that I don’t often think about the position they’re in when it comes to body language.

I try to constantly be aware of how “closed-off” I seem to be in regards to my arms. Are they crossed? Did I intend for them to be? Am I balling my fists? But rarely do I find myself questioning which way my toes are pointed, if my ankles are crossed or whether I seem ready to jump up and head for the door.

The farther away from the brain a body part is positioned, the less awareness we have of what it is doing. This makes sense in regards to what I just said. I always think about my arms. But why shouldn’t I? They’re almost always in my field of vision. But only while I’m writing this am I realizing I’m sitting with my left leg in a figure four over my right.

So what does all this mean? When it comes to body language and the way you appear to others, flashing a fake smile can still appear sincere. Your legs, however, are likely to betray you if you’re trying to put on a false front. The following leg-related body language graphics can help you to me more aware of what you’re saying, even if you’re sitting quietly still.

Legs apart signify dominance

    When you stand with both feet firmly planted on the ground, distributing your weight evenly, it makes a clear statement that you have no intention of leaving. While you may think you take on this position all the time, think about it: are you standing on both legs, or do you tend to jut one hip out a little bit?

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    When a man uses this legs-apart stance, it often signifies dominance, as it highlights the pelvic area. It allows men to highlight their masculinity and show solidarity as a team by all performing the same actions.

    So, if you want a confidence boost, or just to appear confident, use this stance. But be careful not to use it in the wrong situation, it could make you look unnecessarily threatening or mean.

    The ankle lock means the person is nervous

      As a woman, sitting with your ankles crossed can be viewed as polite and feminine. However, when it comes to a situation such as an interview, sitting with crossed ankles can make you appear nervous. It’s the equivalent of mentally biting your lip.

      The gesture can show that you are holding back a negative emotion or uncertainty. When you withdraw your feet under a chair, it makes it look as if you have a withdrawn attitude.

      If the situation is reversed, and you observe a peer crossing their ankles and seemingly nervous, asking positive questions about their feelings can often get those ankles unlocked.

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      In fact, one study of 319 dental patients showed that 88% locked their ankles as soon as they sat in the chair to have work done. Patients who were only there for a checkup or teeth cleaning locked their ankles only 68% of the time. A whopping 98% locked up when the dentist administered an injection.

      While those patients were most likely quite nervous, as most people tend to be at the dentist office, if you find yourself copying this position, relax your ankles and uncross them. Even if you are nervous, undoing the position can help you appear a bit braver and more open.

      Figure four leg: the person is ready to argue

        This is a position you want to be aware of. Be it intentional or not, having a “figure four” position indicates you’re ready to argue and be competitive if necessary. While you may feel this position is justified in some cases, it’s important to know when you’re making this move in case you are not trying to give off an argumentative vibe.

        Like I mentioned in the beginning of this article, I found myself sitting in this manner while writing and I certainly wasn’t in an argumentative state. But because that’s the attitude this position gives off, I’m glad I now know how often I do it.

        This position is amplified if you use one or both hands as a clamp. It locks the figure four into a permanent position giving the sign of a tough-minded, stubborn individual who rejects any opposing opinions.

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          Standing leg-cross: different meaning for men and women

            The standing leg cross is for women what “legs apart” one is for men. It shows, very clearly, that a woman intends to stay exactly where she is; it’s authoritative. Additionally, it sends a message of denied access.

            When a man takes on this position, it also says he intends to stay where he is, but it also shows an insecurity for his groin area; he doesn’t want to be kicked!

            Legs Together

              This is a very neutral position, as it illustrates an indifference as to whether you plan to stay or leave. If a child does it when talking to a teacher, it demonstrates attention. Likewise, people can do it to show respect, such as someone meeting royalty. Therefore, this one tends to be a pretty safe stance if you are trying to avoid offending anyone.

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              The Direction in which your Feet are Pointing Indicates where you’ll go

                Looking at the position of someone’s feet can prove to be very telling. For instance, if you’re standing in a group, take note of where the person beside you has their feet. We tend to point our lead foot toward the most interesting or physically attractive person. Alternatively, when someone has their feet pointed toward the nearest exit, it’s a sure sign they are ready to leave.

                Stay Focused

                So what about you? While you were reading this, did you realize you do one or most of these?

                Try to remain present throughout your day and realize what your legs are doing in any given situation. You may be surprised at the messages you’re sending!

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                Brian Lee

                Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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                Published on November 28, 2018

                How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

                How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

                The woman in yoga pants sitting in a lotus position atop a rocky cliff, overlooking a valley draped in fog — this is the glamorized version of meditation you’ll come across as you search. Yet if you’re seeking meditation to calm your mind, a fantastic setting with no distractions is rarely available.

                So how to do meditation?

                The truth about meditation is it’s an everyday practice for anybody. You could be a mountain climber or you could be an accountant — either way, your home is just as good a place for meditation as any.

                Are you seeking to corral your racing thoughts and relieve a sense of unease, awkwardness, or uncertainty? Look to home meditation to cultivate a laid-back, creative, confident, and organized frame of mind. According to extensive scientific research, meditation relieves stress and anxiety, decreases blood pressure, improves sleep, and improves your ability to pay attention. [1]

                From start to finish, this article will give you quick, easy steps to follow so that you can meditate at home regularly. You’ll begin by assessing, identifying and altering things that need to change in your home environment. You’ll end by understanding the basics of meditation so that you can let yourself do what you already know how to do deep down in the hidden reality of your mind.

                You’re ready to let your mind be, and just be, in your own home — let’s begin.

                1. Find the Right Space in Your Home

                Where is your right space for meditation at home? Is it in your basement, your bedroom, your living room, or your study?

                The right space will be one with the least distractions built in to its purpose. In that case, it may be your bedroom. If you’ve set up your bedroom to be a place for sleep and only sleep, it will lend itself well to meditation.

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                The right space will also be a reasonably spacious one. Although comfort is not your goal, you need room to sit. Choose a space that is private, spacious, and quiet. If you don’t have a space in your home like this, create one. Free it from clutter and get it ready for you to meditate there any time.

                Ultimately, your right space is one you feel comfortable meditating in, the space you can enter with no other expectations.

                2. Improve the Feng Shui in Your Home and Meditation Space

                Feng shui means “wind and water.” It’s the ancient Chinese art of placement.[2]

                Feng shui improves harmony with nature. Adherents to the principles of feng shui believe all things have energy (chi). The focus of feng shui is to send negative chi (sha) out of the space and attract positive chi (yun).

                Here’s the truth about feng shui: it’s not complicated or hard. The following will influence feng shui positively in your home and meditation space:

                • Living things, such as plants
                • Beautiful objects, such as sculptures or even a well-polished piece of driftwood
                • Mirrors in symmetrical placement with the lines in a room
                • Mellifluous sounds, such as trickling water or wind chimes
                • Furniture away from walls
                • A centerpiece, such as a small table with books or an ornate lamp on it
                • Incense or something else that smells good
                • A lack of clutter and an attention to organization that emphasizes the usefulness, purpose, and essential being of each item in your house

                Given that feng shui is connected to Taoism and Buddhism, it will complement the meditative atmosphere you want to cultivate in your home.

                3. Eliminate Pervasive Distractions That Can Harm Your Wellbeing

                In part, meditation is about accepting the existence of distractions. When you meditate, you don’t judge and assign a positive or a negative value to distractions — the ticking of a clock, an itch, the barking of a dog — you let them occur and let them dissipate like waves.

                However, in the same way that feng shui removes objects that attract negative chi, there are certain types of distractions that don’t belong in your meditative space. You must remove them.

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                In a survey of 1,700 people who visited social media sites at least 30 times per week, 30 percent reported high levels of sleep disturbance and 25 percent presented symptoms of depression. [3]

                Those individuals who experience sleep disturbances or mental health issues due to social media are not setting boundaries between themselves and their connected devices.

                Part of learning how to meditate at home is learning how and when to set boundaries between yourself and your connected devices and social media accounts. If you need your phone for a timed meditation practice, but you normally receive social media notifications on your phone, set it on Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode during your meditation time.

                4. Flow into Meditation Through Time

                Next, set aside a time for meditation each day. It’s right to be structured and disciplined about your meditation time.

                Buddhist monks whose lives revolve around meditation are very structured and organized with their tasks each day. Structure provides the balance your being needs. Once you are meditating, your mind has no need for time. Outside of your given meditation time, you are completing tasks essential to the wellbeing of yourself and your home.

                Consider meditating as the sun rises. This is a quiet and contemplative time of the day when it is natural to set your day’s balance through meditation.

                5. Recognize the Rightness of Doing Nothing

                At home, you’re probably used to always doing something. When you do meditation at home, you are being, which is doing something and nothing simultaneously.

                Maryville University points out that successful people unplug by doing nothing. [4] Not only this, but they set the right expectations for the time during which they will do nothing.

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                We oftentimes look forward to the future by expecting something to happen and by expecting something of ourselves. To meditate from home, look to that time and that space by expecting nothing. You will not do any chores. You will not catch up on work. You will do nothing but meditate for a certain amount of time each day.

                This might sound crazy, but in taking on meditation from home, you’re not expecting yourself to improve and become a better person. As Ram Dass put it, you are expecting yourself to be here now.

                6. Choose from the Incredible Variety of Meditative Practices

                As I outlined in my post on types of meditation, there are many different and not-so-different types of meditation from which to choose.

                Many beginners find it right to choose guided meditation, for which there are apps, videos, and audio tapes available.

                If you are not necessarily a beginner but are merely moving your meditative practice into the home, you can facilitate a practice such as Nada Yoga — sound meditation — by placing a fountain in your space or listening to ambient alpha wave music.

                If you’re used to meditating outside of your home — perhaps you are drawn to the outdoors because of the sounds of nature — a practice like Nada Yoga can help you transition into your home space.

                7. Understand You Can Meditate Any Time at Home

                What if I told you to throw out all of the tips that came before this? Sounds crazy but that is how radical mindfulness meditation really is. We don’t think of it as radical because it is now ingrained in our popular discourse.

                Mindfulness meditation does start as a sitting meditation practice. It goes like this:

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                1. Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
                2. Focus on breathing. Inhale through your nose slowly and exhale slowly.
                3. As distracting thoughts arise, don’t judge them and don’t hang onto them. Let each thought go as you focus on breathing.
                4. Treat all physical sensations and feelings in the same way you do thoughts: register them, then let them go, returning to breathing.
                5. Extend this practice to everyday activity, remaining “in the moment” of the body’s activity with each new breath.

                As you practice mindfulness around your home, note the physical characteristics of the things in themselves. Note physical sensations: sounds, smells, textures, appearances, tastes. Stop now and then and do a body scan from head to toe, noting what each section is doing and how it’s feeling.

                Note thoughts that come and the emotions attached to them: let them go. Concentrate on the breath and the physical activities — including the details of the objects with which you’re interacting.

                You’ll notice that your home will lend itself to a meditative state when things are in order. This is where true feng shui originates. You will naturally sense how the arrangement of things affects the energy in a room.

                Clutter will disappear because mindfulness tells you to dispose of unnecessary things. Plants will bloom. Birds will make their nests in your backyard. Your home will smell pleasing and people will naturally be attracted to it and your presence.

                You’ve Reached the Beginning and the End

                Once you are able to do mindfulness meditation even as you are attending to the normal and abnormal requirements of your home, the mundane and the unusual, you are at both the beginning and the end.

                You are at the beginning because meditation never ends. Continue setting aside time each day to do sitting meditation in the space you’ve set aside. Continue practicing mindfulness as you attend to the energy of your house, your own energy, and the energy of those around you.

                You are at the end because you grasped what it means to do meditation at home: it means letting go of cares and concerns and being in your home as you attend to the right tasks. The right tasks are those necessary for being in your home.

                As you sit in your home, rise, open the door and you leave, you are calm in your mind because you are home.

                Featured photo credit: Simon Rae via unsplash.com

                Reference

                [1]Healthline: 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation
                [2]Marquette University: Feng Shui: The Wind and Water
                [3]Rutgers University: Social Media and Well-Being
                [4]Maryville University: How Successful People Unplug

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