Ten Ways to Improve Your Body Language and Feel Happier

“The human body is the best picture of the human soul.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

People can tell a lot about you by your body language. As Martha Graham said, “The body never lies.”  In fact, body language – – including your posture, the way you stand, sit, or walk, and your facial expressions – – can be a powerful tool that helps you be more successful and happier.

Recent research proves that fact and shows that body language has more far reaching implications on your mood and happiness than previously thought. Body language can even change your hormones and essentially mess with your mind, according to a recent Harvard study.

Perhaps your body language is bringing you down or lifting your spirits without you even realizing it.

For example, the study showed that when you stand in a posture of confidence by standing straight, putting your hands on your hips, and opening your shoulders, your testosterone levels increase while cortisol levels decrease. When you sit up straight, you feel more energetic and in control. You are also more likely to think positive thoughts and call to mind good memories. If you smile and laugh more, you feel happier. If you walk with a spring in your step, your energy level increases. On the other hand, if you walk hunched over, it can zap your energy.

That’s why it definitely pays to be aware of your body language and make necessary changes. These changes will not only make you feel better, but will help you communicate more effectively with others, improve your relationships, and be more successful in your career.

What if you tend to slouch and cross your legs like me? The good news is that you can change your body language and reap the benefits with just a bit of practice. Take note of how you sit, stand, walk, and communicate with others. Visualize how you could look more confident, happy, and relaxed. Observe and learn from others whose body language and attitude you admire. Then try practicing in front of a mirror. Don’t worry, no one will see you.

To get you started, here are 10 ways you can improve your body language:

  1. Keep your muscles relaxed.
  2. Slow down your movements.
  3. Don’t fidget, touch your face, shake your legs, or tap your fingers on a table.
  4. Loosen your shoulders and move them back slightly. You will feel less stressed and more calm, composed, and peaceful.
  5. Don’t be like me and constantly cross your arms or legs. Not only is it not good for your body, but it makes you seem defensive or guarded. Keep your body open and you’ll begin to feel more confident and comfortable in your own skin.
  6. Lighten up. Smile and laugh more. Research shows that you can trick your brain into thinking you’re on the road to happiness.
  7. Quit slouching. Sit and stand straight.
  8. Keep your head up and look ahead when you walk. It will put you at ease and in a better mood.
  9. Move happily too, with a spring in your step and with a relaxed swinging arms.
  10. Have a positive attitude. How you feel will come through in your body language and can make a major difference in not only how others see you, but how you see yourself.

Take one or two of these tips and work on it every day for a few weeks until they turn into new habits. Pretty soon you won’t even have to think about standing up straight or smiling more. Make your whole body say you are happy and self-confident and positive feelings and actions will follow.


Julie A. Gorges is the author of two young adult novels, Just Call Me Goody Two Shoes and Time to Cast Away and co-author of Residential Steel Design and Construction published by McGraw Hill. In addition, hundreds of her articles and short stories have been published in national and regional magazines, and she received three journalism awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association while working as a newspaper reporter. Julie currently lives in southern California with her husband, Scott, and has two grown children and three grandchildren.

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4 Responses

  1. I’ll give these a try, Lord knows I need all the help I can get these days. 🙂

  2. Cat Michaels says:

    Thanks, Julie. I’m guilty of tightening my neck and hunching over the keyboard, so thanks for the reminder to relax the shoulders. I also suck in my tummy when driving for the duration of red lights for a quick isometric workout on the abs. It’s not a relaxation technique, but I feel better knowing I’m building muscle tone instead of stressing out in traffic.

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