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September 20, 2022

Our Hands Speak Louder than Words

I’m in bed, and in deep thought while simultaneously trying to relax and meditate opening the day with a morning prayer:  “May Source align me with my purpose and allow what is meant for me to find me effortlessly.”

My hand wonders to my chest as I gently place my palm upon my heart. Intuitively I know the answer is: “you are aligning with what your heart desires and your hand upon your heart means you are being in a state of gratitude.” I could sense and feel it too.

Feeling ready to take on the world, I leave for work and my gaze wonders into all directions as I watch the hands and the posture of others. Intuitively I observe the body language, where their hands found a home and where they were placed as I capture the moment in my mind. They may be sitting by themselves or having a deep meaning conversation with someone; I assume, and this is what I found:

A lady sitting with a scarf around her neck, not that it’s a particularly cold day, but she fiddles and adjusts the scarf every few seconds while her fingers gently sooth her vocal cords as if to find the right words, or maybe she’s finding it difficult to choose the words her soul yearns to express, so she holds back. I notice she takes a deep breath, swallows as if to muster up the courage. The scarf acting as a protection barrier between her and her perceived enemy. I say enemy as she appears to be out of her comfort zone and the scarf bringing comfort to an uncomfortable situation.

Another sitting with friends with his hands on his lap, rubbing his finger nails one by one and then switching to the other hand. He was smiling and laughing but you can sense that he’s reserved and holding back. Instead of using his hands to express himself, he was left nodding, and half smiling, throughout the entire conversation, especially when he agreed with something being said. His hands were hidden out of sight as if using them would mean being himself and he can’t do that just yet, so he uses his hands to pacify himself making him feel comfortable in his not so comfortable environment.

When we are happy, our body wants to float, elevate as excitement rise. We feel bubbly, our mouths curl upward into a big grin, and instead of our feet being on the ground we move faster having a bounce in our step. Our hands rising to the sky as if attached by a dozen helium balloons, that’s when we know we are truly happy and excited about a particular outcome.

Our body language have a lot to say when you know how to read it. We use the body to express ourselves in so many ways as we can see the joy and the excitement others feel, or the fears they may be experiencing through looking at their smile, their frown lines, the way they use their hands, or how they stand or sit. But we also use the hands to pacify ourselves.

A girl twirling her hair between her fingers because she is reminiscing of the good old times or simply thinking of a happy memory and being in deep thought. Or the gentleman in the corner of the train biting his nails because of the nerves he may be feeling and it’s as if biting his nails is giving him something to do as well as adding to the experience and the outward expression to show how stressed he really is, but it’s all done subconsciously as we may not be aware that we are even doing it in the moment.

Our limbic brain contributes to the experience through using our hands so we use the hands to pacify and sooth ourselves like a baby wanting its Dummy. Some examples are:

  • rubbing the nose / massaging the nose
  • biting the upper lip
  • stroking the chin
  • massaging the ears and pulling on the earlobes
  • twirling a pencil
  • rubbing the fingers
  • playing with jewellery like the twisting of a ring or pulling on a necklace

In nonverbal scientific literature, pacifiers are often referred to as adaptive behaviours, and as mentioned, this is a collection of things that we do to enhance our life experiences to demonstrate comfort, or demonstrate and deal with discomfort, all of which are nonverbal cues to what we are experiencing.

This is only the tip of the iceberg as 90% of communication is nonverbal.  It was Albert Mehrabian, a researcher of body language, who first broke down the components of a face-to-face conversation and found that communication is 55% nonverbal, 38% vocal, and only 7% consisted of words.

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