Mastering Body Language with Aaron Alexander
"We are communicating with our bodies all the time, but few people pay close attention to what their physical body is saying."
How do you use your body to communicate and influence people? Can you use your body to influence yourself?
An accomplished manual therapist, author, podcast host, and movement coach, today’s guest Aaron Alexander has over a decade of experience coaching clients from Olympic athletes to Hollywood actors to improve their health and streamline their daily movements. On today’s show, he’ll be exploring how optimizing our body function, posture and movements can affect our communication and improve our brainpower.
If you haven’t already listened to my earlier conversation with Aaron about boosting your brainpower through movement, you can check it out here!
In today’s conversation, we talk about how improving your physical communication affects how others perceive you, and how you perceive yourself. We’ll give you some quick tips and rules you can apply to improve your posture and boost your brainpower and talk about some great research into how our bodies and breathing affects our brain. We’ll leave you with a bunch of quick challenges you can try to get started with building a happier body and brain.
OPTIMIZING BODY LANGUAGE
- Keep the 55-38-7 rule in mind. This rule is based on a study by UCLA Professor Albert Mehrabian that determined 55% of our communication comes from our body language, 38% from our voice tonality, and 7% from the actual words that come out of our mouth.
- If we can find congruence between these three aspects of communication (what we speak, the tone of our language and the way that our body moves), it starts to spill into not just the way people perceive us, but the way that we perceive ourselves.
- We are communicating with our bodies all the time, but few people pay close attention to what their physical body is saying.
- Paying attention to your body leads to doors opening for you because people are magnetized by people who are really “in” themselves.
- Body language affects how people perceive you, but also how you perceive yourself.
HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR BODY POSTURE
- Many cultures around the world spend more time closer to the ground. Try spending more time there whenever you can.
- On your next flight, throw a sweatshirt and water bottle behind your back and neck to avoid your posture becoming hunched over—by doing this you are redesigning the chair to match a strong stable spine.
- Try remembering this rule, whether you’re on a flight or sitting in an office: for one hour of sitting, do five minutes of wandering around.
- Use movement as part of your Pomodoro Technique (the study system in which you do 25 minutes of effort, then take a small break). The walk can help consolidate your learning from your 25 minutes of effort.
- The study mentioned: San Francisco State University research about body posture affecting memory recall.
- Different ranges of body posture can be helpful in communication if you apply it appropriately. A good way to create rapport with somebody is to mirror them.
- To boost your body and brain, get a pull-up bar in your life and try hanging on a bar for a total of 90 seconds each day
- You can start off with support from a chair, and break the 90 seconds into 15-second intervals.
- Hanging helps to open up your ribs and breath, and changes the structure of your shoulders by taking you out of the folded-over mold we get from daily life.
- You can try putting your bar between doorways in your house, which will help you to remember to get into the habit of hanging.
BE AWARE OF YOUR POSTURE AND BREATHING
- Book mentioned: Shoulder Pain? by John M Kirsch
- The research mentioned: Amy Cuddy’s research on body posture
- Pay attention to your breath. The way that you breathe affects your autonomic nervous system, which affects the health of your body.
- If we’re soothed and calm, our breath is calm /
- When you are walking down the street, pay attention—is your breath up in your shoulders? Is it easier for you to breathe in than out? Is it easier for you to breath in one direction over the other?
- Breathing out activates our parasympathetic nervous system, which is the “rest and digest” system that calms the body. Whenever you are in a stressful situation, try emphasizing the out-breath and exhaling for a longer period of time.
- Add sounding as your breathe out serves as a workout for the nervous system.
- You can try humming and learn more about its correlation with nitric oxide release. Example study: Humming Greatly Increases Nasal Nitric Oxide
- Simple, free tactics to help your health don’t get promoted because they don’t involve sales. Some quick things you can try: getting outside, taking cold showers, getting some sun.
CHALLENGES FOR YOU TO TRY
- Get a pullup bar or use a tree branch to hang for a total of 90 seconds each day. Make it fun!
- Spend 30 minutes on the ground each day.
- Try checking your emails and/or using your computer outside while getting some sun!
- Try looking out into the distance rather than just at screens, it will help you to relax.
- Start paying attention to your breath. Check in with yourself and be conscious of your breathing patterns.
- Check out Aaron’s new book here: thealignbook.com
- Take a screenshot, tag us (@jimkwik and @alignpodcast) and tell us your favorite aha! moment from today’s podcast.
*Please note, this episode is educational only and is not intended to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.*
Related Kwik Brain Episodes You Might Enjoy
Episode 22: How To Calm A Busy Mind (And Prevent Brain Burnout)
Episode 65: Movements that Boost Brain Performance with Aaron Alexander
Episode 82: Workouts That Boost Your Brainpower with Shawn Stevenson
Episode 100: My Top 10 Takeaways from Kwik Brain Episodes