Photo of two children hugging
March 20, 2024

How the body can speak louder than words

By Stephanie Lyon 

I like words and I like to talk. I was that kid who got in trouble for talking too much in school. When I feel passionate about something, I can get “on a roll.” I have received A LOT of feedback over the years to slow down, pause, and breathe!  

I wasn’t surprised when I attended a communications workshop that taught me that talking isn’t always the best way to communicate. I learned about the concept of “mirroring” — matching someone’s body language or language patterns — as a way of connecting. We were given homework to practice with someone, and I chose my teenage son. 

Instead of demanding he put his phone away and make eye contact with me, I sat next to him, mirroring his posture. He was looking at his phone, and I looked at mine. To my surprise, we spoke few words and had a deep, authentic, emotional connection. He shared something important to him that he had been keeping from me. And, when he stood up, he asked me for a hug. It was like magic! 

Our bodies have a remarkable ability to communicate even when no words are spoken. From a clenched fist of frustration to a warm embrace of affection, our gestures often speak louder than words. Even subtle micro-movements in facial expressions are clues to thoughts and emotions someone is experiencing. Understanding these nonverbal cues can help us decode the true meaning behind someone’s words and respond more effectively.  

Our bodies also hold the power of presence. They are right here with us, right now. We can use our bodies to hold our attention on the present moment instead of slipping into thoughts of regret from the past or worrying about what may happen in the future. And when we practice being present in our bodies, we can be present and focused with others, deepening our connections with ourselves and others simultaneously. 

Next time you want to create a connection, pay attention to what your body is saying. Practice subtly mirroring the posture, gestures, and facial expressions of the person you’re with. Practice noticing your body presence by focusing for a moment on the sensation of your feet touching the floor. In the end, you might get a hug of appreciation for your time spent being fully present with someone.  

Stephanie Lyon is a certified life coach and the facilitator for The Learning Well’s InSight 1 workshop, set April 23-26 in Medford. The workshop focuses on communication through a variety of styles, including the mirroring technique she describes above.  

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  1. Thank you for this! Yesterday I mirrored my son when he was upset instead of asking him a bunch of questions and with in a few minutes he snuggled up to me telling me how much he loved me 🙂