How to Change Your Mood Instantly With Visualization – Part 3

by Tim Arendse on November 9

In Part 1 of the series, we learned how to change our mood instantly through visualization. In Part 2, we’re going to look at how to take even more control by paying attention to patterns and changing details for maximum effect. In Part 3, we’re going to look at how visualizing can change your body language and affect the people around you.


 

‘Why’s he looking at me like that?’

Nervousness set in. This wasn’t part of the plan. This stuff was supposed to work.

The service man folded his arms across his chest, a sign that he didn’t like what I was saying. Crap.

I’d recently read What Every Body is Saying and was coming to the realization that engineering your body language is easier said than done.

I bumbled through the rest of the conversation, and nearly lost my composure when the service man practically ran for the exit.

Body language is powerful stuff, and when you’re faking it, it shows.

 

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If I mirror them closely enough, maybe they won’t notice the difference.

Learning the Magic of Body Language

It’s been stated that body language makes up 60% of our communication, with your tone making up another 30%, and the words you use making up the remaining 10%.

To think that words made up a mere 10% of my communication was damning. I love words. I love reading them, writing them, speaking, and hearing words spoken. However, these figures suggest I’d be better understood by using powerful body language and tone, along with a series of grunts and gestures.

It was settled: I was going to learn body language.

A few books and dozens of awkward encounters later, I felt no closer to learning this apparently important skill. I gave up.

The dream lay dormant for years… until a friend introduced me to Amy Cuddy.

 

An Important Ted Talk

In a rather well-known Ted Talk, Amy Cuddy describes how “Your body language shapes who you are”. It’s a great video and if you haven’t watched it, put it in your schedule. It’s very worthwhile.

Basically, your body language affects your inner state and vice versa. Amy Cuddy claims that she can identify a person’s inner state as they walk into her classroom.

Even more intriguing is that a lot of body language can be found around the world. Amy Cuddy found that even blind people, who could not have learned such gestures from others, use the same body language. It’s hardwired into us.

 

Amy Cuddy giving her incredibly popular speech, "Your body language shapes who you are".

Amy Cuddy giving her incredibly popular speech, “Your body language shapes who you are”.

 

How to Change Your Body Language Instantly

The mind and the body affect each other. Striking a confident pose every morning for a couple minutes will leave you feeling confident. Feeling anxious on the inside is going to give you the closed body language of an anxious person. You can try consciously changing your body language, but if your inner world doesn’t match, it’s not going to last.

If you want powerful body language, you’re going to have to change your state. In Parts 1 and 2, we learned how to change our states instantly and amplify those states for maximum effect. If you’ve been visualizing already, you may have noticed your body language shifting depending on which state you choose.

In Part 2, I mentioned how visualizing a mountain makes me feel confident. Here are the changes that happen in my body when I do this:

  • My shoulders relax. They get wider.
  • My gait becomes a little wider.
  • I still walk purposely but slower
  • I look straight ahead, no longer nervously dropping my eyes
  • My voice becomes louder and clearer

I’ve also noticed changes in other people:

  • If I’m walking down an aisle where one of us has to move, they’ll move way before they have to.
  • People smile more often and seem happier to be in your presence.
  • They’ll start mirroring you.

Remember: your body is going to reveal your inner state and people are going to react to that with their own body language.

Shifty, nervous body language is going to repel people. Confident, unshakable body language is going to draw them in.

 

How to Combine Visualizations for Unique Body Language

When you step into a different state, you might need some balance. There’s nothing wrong with going into a state of deep calmness when you’re relaxing on the couch. When you’re in the workplace, being too calm can lead to people thinking you’re not taking your job seriously.

The solution is to combine your visualizations.

You can benefit from several states at a time. Here’s a recipe I like to use at work:

Focus + confidence + calmness

Think about the impression you’re giving people with that state: present, capable, and unshakable.

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Just imagine a hawk soaring about those mountains. What a view.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Visualize the states you want, one at a time.
  1. Combine the key components together into one visualization.
  1. Amplify that visualization, as described in Part 2.

Here are the visualizations I use for the recipe I described above:

  1. Focus – a hawk soaring through the air
  1. Confidence – a mountain
  1. Calmness – a glass orb filled with ocean water

When I combine them together, I get a mountain rising out of the ocean, with a hawk circling above. This is the visualization I use to blow up procrastination and get things done.

If you’re having trouble coming up with something, look to someone you admire and copy their state (I may or may not have copied my state from James Bond).

Often times you know what you want, but you can’t describe it with words. Visualization is the language of your mind and it doesn’t have limitations.

 

Final Thoughts

The opening pages of The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane details how Marilyn Monroe was able to turn her charisma off and on, with a simple shift in body language.

Although she was at the height of her stardom, she was able to ride on the crowded subway, without anyone noticing her. When she walked out onto the New York street, she “turned on” her charisma, and people immediately recognized her as Marilyn Monroe.

That is the power that your inner state holds. It can hide you from the world or it can expose you in the most brilliant way possible. You now know how to change your inner state and ultimately, your body language. The only question is, who are you going to present to the world?


 

You’ve learned how to take control of your inner state and even use it to change your body language. It’s time to get out there and USE these techniques.

Visualization is like a muscle and the more you use it, the stronger that muscle will become. You’ll start doing it instinctively, to get the results you want in day-to-day life.

Seriously, it’s a game changer.

Take care, Tim

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Tim Arendse

When he’s not playing with his kids, Tim is finding new ways to make his life more efficient. He likes to draw inspiration from unlikely sources, like Minecraft, and is willing to explore almost any paradigm if he thinks there’s something to learn. He also hates bananas, loves candy, and holds strong opinions about the best brand of beer.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Terra Dawn November 9, 2015 at 11:14 am

Love this! You’ve added two things to my to-do list for the day.

1) Watch Amy Cuddy’s video.
2) Pay attention to what mental visualization makes me feel more confident, and begin to repeat that visualization in the morning. Starting the day off with my confidence firmly in tact is going to go far.

Thanks Tim!

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Tim November 10, 2015 at 4:39 pm

Hi Terra,

Let me know how you like that Amy Cuddy video. It’s really good.

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Onesha Lena November 9, 2015 at 12:17 pm

This is such a beautiful article! I love Ted Talks so I will be watching Amy Cuddy’s talk. Visualization is something I’m going to work on also 🙂

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ashley November 9, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Wow this is just an amazing article. Most people really dont pay attention to what they are doing with their body language and they really dont seem to notice how big of a roll it really does play in our everyday lives. Try them out see what you learn from the people around you see how peoples reactions change – its really amazing thanks for the great article 🙂

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Tara Woodruff November 9, 2015 at 4:26 pm

Tim, This blog actually made me sit up taller Just now! I love that Ted Talk and Truly believe our physiology impacts our success! thank you for this beautifully put together and informative post.

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Tim November 10, 2015 at 4:41 pm

Our physiology most definitely impacts our success! It’s no coincidence that people with powerful body language end up successful in life.

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Amy Shaw November 12, 2015 at 6:31 pm

Aaand you just made me sit up taller, LOL.

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Tim Arendse November 16, 2015 at 9:42 am

Haha, funny how that works…

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Adewale Adebusoye November 10, 2015 at 7:07 am

Thanks for these tips! I have to put them into practice! Thanks so much for sharing!

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Carol Makowski November 10, 2015 at 4:35 pm

Visualization can be a powerful tool. Appreciate your examples of Marilyn Monroe as well as the image of the hawk, mountain and water. I took the time to watch the TED talk by Amy Cuddy. We always talk about how the mind influences the behavior, but not so much about how the body influences the mind. Very enlightening. Thanks for the post Tim.

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Carol Makowski November 10, 2015 at 4:37 pm

Sorry — I thanked Tim for the post, but it was actually Sandra who has the blog.

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Tim November 10, 2015 at 4:42 pm

There’s a few of us. 🙂 Sandra is a cofounder!

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Davina November 11, 2015 at 12:45 am

Brilliant post Tim. I also think mountains are mighty and breathtaking, so I’ll try and visualize that when I want to project confidence. Thanks for sharing these tips, I’ll be putting them into practice today!

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Brian and Felicia White November 11, 2015 at 4:12 pm

Definitely needed to be reminded our how important our body language is when it comes to our moods Tim! Will definitely take these tips to heart and implement them. Love what you said about standing tall and proud each morning for a few minutes to start the day out right. Very helpful post! Thanks a million!

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Dan November 11, 2015 at 4:13 pm

Thank you for these reminders. I studied both NLP and ‘body language’ back in the early 2000s. I guess what they say is true: ”what is easy to do , is easy not to do”. These things can work, but you have to use them and remember to use them, which seems to be an issue. I wonder if the missing link is some sort of ‘reminder system’ that reminds you to use them, in the appropriate situations , or just generally?

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Tim Arendse November 11, 2015 at 8:01 pm

Dan, that’s exactly what I find… I have a hard time remembering to do it.

I did a lot of gratitude journaling for a while and one thing I noticed is that my mind started to recognize good things happening. It made me a lot more present to those events.

What we could try is writing down three instances per day that this technique would have been effective. Maybe that will help us out?

Cool that you took NLP! Which school did you get your training from?

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Dan November 12, 2015 at 4:48 pm

I didn’t take formal training, I just read some of Bandler’s stuff, and read alot of ‘MetaStates’ books by L.Michael Hall (Hall is a former NLP practitioner who’s sort of in a feud with NLPers because he says his ‘MetaStates’ model supersedes NLP. It’s complicated … ).
My general results with NLP techniques are that they work for 30 seconds or so, but the bad feel/thought is often back very quickly. I found it too troublesome to keep doing the various routine/techniques. I’m sure there’s probably an answer to that, but I was studying it alone, and was somewhat convinced to move on to the “MetaStates” system, which has its own problems. .. etc etc.

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Sheena November 12, 2015 at 12:15 am

love the tips you shared here. thanks so much

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Jon November 14, 2015 at 12:02 am

Great series, Tim. Really good stuff. 🙂

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Tim Arendse November 16, 2015 at 9:42 am

Thanks Jon!

I hope we see more of your stuff around here, too!

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Sim November 16, 2015 at 6:36 am

Great three part series Tim!

I am going to try some of your suggestions and see how I go.

The one thing that stood out for me was the “Tiger Woods” thing and how he visualises a shot. I don’t know if I have been doing that exactly, but I just took up softball (similar to baseball) and I certainly gave myself encouraging words each time I batted and it seems to work. Just before the ball came close to my bat, I was saying “you can hit this, concentrate and you can hit it”. I was pretty proud of myself each time I went to bat I hit the ball (both last week and this week), especially since I have never played and quite a few people got strikes. So pretty stoked with that.

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Tim Arendse November 16, 2015 at 9:44 am

Thanks Sim!

I’m telling you, it’s powerful stuff. The biggest challenge is remembering to do it. If I were to add a Part 4, it would be about presence of mind.

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Alex November 18, 2015 at 8:10 am

This is awesome Sandra! I remember when i first learned from Tony Robbins that your state and your body language are interlinked. That changed my life as I could finally take control of how I felt.
Thanks for sharing this 🙂

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Sheena November 19, 2015 at 12:38 pm

im going to try this out. thank u

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Kahnie November 22, 2015 at 5:29 am

Nice post, very clear to follow and very helpful! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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Annalize November 25, 2015 at 3:53 am

This is very interesting, Tim, stunning post!

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Noel Rosos November 27, 2015 at 8:50 pm

I will surely be trying these tips out and look for that TED Talk with Amy Cuddy. Just reading through this article already made me say the word “amazing!”

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Stephanie D'Laroy February 6, 2016 at 10:11 pm

Great post, I believe action speaks a 1000 words. Visualization of your body language is very powerful. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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