As a former etiquette instructor, the importance of non verbal communication through gestures and other body language is widely understood. How we greet others sets a definite tone. In fact, I’ve often understood that the larger part of communication is conveyed through physical expression. How we stand, how we gesture and our facial expressions convey a great deal to others about our own self confidence.
In 1992 I remember listening to a new young motivational speaker named Tony Robbins. I as well as much of the country had been taken by the young, well spoken, handsome man who set the nation ablaze ( pun intended) with his Firewalk seminars. I remember listening to his audiobook, Awaken the Giant. It was the first time I had heard about Neurolinguistic Programming and I was fascinated. He shared the story about how he would redirect someone’s thoughts by gently changing the physical dynamics which in turn changed focus of their thoughts. Later as a teacher I used this often with my students in class. It was especially helpful when addressing student issues regarding disappointment, unhealthy student interactions.
I also often used body posture exercises in class to help students focus better when challenged with testing. We stretched, jumped, danced, played tactile games in order to better focus and stretch our minds. We also practiced breathing exercises as well taking in deeper breathes which increased the oxygen to the brain. Somewhere along our evolutionary path we have forgotten how to breathe!
Most important, we use our body to communicate to ourselves and for ourselves. If I’m feeling low or lethargic, I can switch it up quickly just through movement. Whenever I felt the need to get myself in gear, or switch up my mindset, I would turn on Pharrell William’s website 24-hours of Happy. Watching all the various dance scenes following one after another filled with the L. A. Street culture, professional or not, was so much fun!
Before I end, I want to once again return to our ever constant friend, Kindness, which has been addressed in several of my earlier blogs. It’s been a strange past week to be sure and I found myself needing to anchor myself more often with as many signs of Kindness as I could find. And, of course, they were everywhere. But I wanted to come back to a moment last Sunday during the SuperBowl when during the half time show, Lady Gaga, who many expected to make a political statement, took the very high road of opening her act with a gorgeous out-of-the-ballpark rendition of God Bless America. I can’t say I was a huge fan of this woman’s, but I certainly am now! In the meantime, during the week, I ran across a video taken a few years ago with Lady Gaga and the Dalai Lama. And well, it’s worth a share. Take a listen: