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Body Language: Are you a Lion or Gazelle?‏

July 22, 2015

The lion lays and waits. She watches silently with twitching legs and bated breath.  
She studies, observes, and watches. For what? She watches the herd to find the weak.
No language is uttered, in fact silence is better.
No distractions from what she seeks. She seeks the weak. She finds her prey.

 

We humans are evolved, sure. It makes us feel important to think we are so separate from animals around us.  Any scientist, or naturalist, or keen observer will notice otherwise. We simply talk more. And we’ve found that talking doesn’t mean nearly as much as we’d like to think.

 

We still learn like the lion. We watch, we notice, we learn, without language (the verbal kind anyway).

 

 A human predator still stalks like a lion(a less refined, less skill lion, but animal regardless).

 

While the predatory human watches you do they see a worthy adversary or limping lunch?

 

You body language tells your story more clearly than your words. We as humans think we’re quite skilled at hiding our true emotions but it is simply not true. The body gives away your secrets.

When you are readying leaving work late tonight, you notice you’re the only one left in the building. You hear the hum of the lights that you never notice, and realize how far away you parked. Now dark, that walk seems frightening and you begin to over analyze every noise. Without processing these thoughts your body begins to convey your fear. Your shoulders roll in, you slouch some, your face tightens, your pupils constrict, your breath becomes shorter, your steps become quicker. The predator now sees a panicked gazelle who is easily eaten, you’re already separated from the herd. The best time to dine.

 

BUT I DON’T WANT TO BE EATEN (or harassed, or cat called, or assaulted, or pick pocketed..ect).

 

SO BE A LION. Quit presenting yourself as an easy meal, an easy victim, an easy target. Grow a damn mane.

When you find your self being”SWITCHED ON” (see Blog Entry: Self Defense & Psychology: Stuff GOT Real) and become aware that you are in a potentially dangerous, or just stupid situation, you should immediately become aware of your body language and become assertive,  strong, and capable (at least on the outside).

Cognitive psychology is based off the symbiosis between your thoughts and actions. You can change your thoughts which control your actions or change your actions which effect your thoughts. Your body language can do the same thing.

 

You don’t need to BE CONFIDENT, you just need to LOOK CONFIDENT which in turn actually makes you more confident.  Elongate your spine, pull your shoulder blades together, hold your head upright and look around you, don’t cower or avoid eye contract.  Control your breathing and think about your potential action.  Remember, nothing at this time has actually happened and any fear you have is anxiety not reality.  Your body language change is to reduce the chance of anything happening to you.  Walk like you WISH SOMEBODY WOULD.  The result will  be that you are no longer an effective target, lunch, or victim for someone to choose.  You are a lion in their eyes (even if you really are a Gazelle) and a lion wont fight a lion unless they absolutely have to.

 

Finally, you should practice this often. When teaching pissed off teenagers, it never seemed to work to tell them to try out a new coping skill when they were flaming mad and ready to kill someone. No, you have to “practice in peace to bleed less in battle.” Next time you feel insecure at a job meeting, when hanging out with a new group of people, or on a date for the first time, be a lion.

 

There is beautiful and obviously intelligent Ted Talks: Amy Cuddy.

 

She talk here about the “Wonder Woman Pose” you know, legs wide, fists on hips. By standing in a power position like this one and others and by looking in the mirror you can gain confidence.  She explains more, but basically the mirror image tells your brain; well hell, she looks confident, I guess she is confident so lets let out some neurotransmitters to make her FEEL confident. Then your body is flooded with Serotonin which naturally makes you feel is a big bad ass who can take on the world. That’s a handy little feeling when your scared of a lion eating you. Practice this. Try if out. Worse case scenario you become the weirdo in the bathroom at work channeling your inner superhero and that just sound like fun really.

Be aware of how you present your body to others and be a God Damned Lion.

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