In a post on the connection between relaxation and learning, I suggested that relaxing our hands was a good way to open our minds to new ideas. This post looks at our hands in a different way – to communicate thoughts, ideas and emotions. I will firstly introduce body language as a topic in general and then allow you to test your understanding of the meaning behind the way we use our hands.
From the very first moment we begin to interact with others, our bodies are in communication. We are telling each other the way we feel about them and the way we feel about ourselves. We are communicating our physical and emotional states; are we feeling happy or sad, strong or insecure, stressed or relaxed, are we lying or telling the truth – all through our movements, expressions, tone of voice and other forms of body language.
The language of hands
The way we use our hands is one way we reveal ourselves to others. Being aware of the way we use our hands and observing the hand movements of others is a way to learn more about ourselves and others.
A word of caution – the meaning of body language cues will differ depending on the place and purpose (context) of communication and also the words that accompany them, so listen carefully to what is being said as well as the way it is communicated.
Take the quiz below to see how well you can read the body language of the hands.
Based on an article published in Psychology Today titled What the hands say is often louder than words! written by Joe Navarro in the Spycatcher series.
Supplemented by material from Body Language, by Susan Quilliam, Carlton Books 1995.
Where to from here?
Try to develop your powers of observation by consciously paying more attention to your own body talk. Observing your own hands is a good place to start. Notice how you respond in different situations and then observe the hands of those around you. Are their actions different or similar? Why do you think this is?
Post a comment and let us know.
Future posts will explore other areas of the body including the language of the face, arms, legs and skin .