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Body language: the meanings behind our body posture and movements

Updated on November 14, 2013

The meanings of our body postures and movements

Knowing the meanings of our body postures and movements can enhance our communication, successfully, with other individuals.

By reading a persons body language you could enhance your understanding of his or her true thoughts and feelings. This happens because the subconscious mind usually shows the true thoughts of a person by particular movements that person makes or by his or her body posture.

What is Body Language?

Through our body language we communicate by passing information or revealing our emotions through the conscious or unconscious movements of our body or facial expressions. It is important to note that body language may predict however, it may also hide emotions.

Body language is based on the meanings of our body movements and facial expressions. Several messages that the human body sends are natural, others learnt, while others are passed down from generation to generation or through other different ways. For instance, a person may have a certain body posture due to genetics. On the other hand, a certain hand movement might have a social basis.

Tonya Reiman analyzes all of the components of body language...

Basic movements, expressions and hand gestures

Most of the basic communication movements, expressions or hand gestures are similar around the world. There are however cultures in which certain hand gestures may have two meanings.

We laugh when they are happy or having fun, we cry when we are sad and we are grumpy when angry.

An up and down movement of our head meaning “yes”, while moving our head from right to left means “no”.

When we are confused or don’t understand what another person is telling us we usually raise our shoulders. This movement is usually accompanied by the rise of our eyebrows and our palms facing up.

Gestures, meanings and cultures


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    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 5 years ago

      I am very glad that you have found this subject interesting Glenn. By knowing the meanings behind certain body postures, or gestures, can really help you gain a better understanding of another persons emotions or thoughts. I believe it is vital to know at least the basics of body language as it can be beneficial in a number of ways. Thank you so much for reading!

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 5 years ago from Long Island, NY

      This is extremely interesting. I have known about body language for a long time. But I never realized that different gestures can mean different things depending on which country one is in. It really is important for a traveler to get an education in this.

    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 5 years ago from Jamaica

      You can't hide your true emotions. It is always going to come out some way.

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 5 years ago

      Thank you for your comments rajan. Each culture has gestures with specific meanings, it is good to have knowledge of these to improve any interactions. You can really understand many things concerning an other person by only paying attention to the body language of that person. Sometimes a person may say something, but his or her body language might give another message.

      Thank you again for reading and voting. Truly appreciated.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very interesting and informative Chris. True body language speaks a lot about what we are conveying to the person at that moment. It is also very necessary to understand some other body language that is specific to other cultures so as to interact better with them.

      voted up and interesting.

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 6 years ago

      brandim and EuroNinila thank you both for you kind comments, I find the subject of body language very interesting as it can help us better understand other individuals emotions, thoughts and actions. I am really glad you have enjoyed this hub. :) Thank you for reading!

    • EuroNinila profile image

      Fotinoula Gypsyy 6 years ago from NYC BABY

      Great hub, very interesting and great videos! It's interesting that cultural differences pertaining to body language can even confuse the very same inhabitants of that country! Body language is overall a good topic to know, for yourself to express to others the way you want to be seen and for others, to read them. Especially if you work with people from all over the world like I do, it is important to really understand body language and the cultural differences involved as to not offend anyone. Loved this hub!

    • brandim619 profile image

      brandim619 6 years ago from Bloomingdale, IL

      This was interesting to me because when I was in college I studied the subject of body language several times. Now that I have a baby girl, it was nice for me to see this and to be reminded that body language is a great way to read someone's mood. I'll have to remember to read the signs when she's crying and can't tell me what's wrong!

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 6 years ago

      Kamalesh thank you very much, for your very kind and encouraging comments. Really appreciated and am glad that you have enjoyed this topic :)

    • Kamalesh050 profile image

      Kamalesh050 6 years ago from Sahaganj, Dist. Hooghly, West Bengal, India

      The hub is Wonderful, Brilliant, Fabulous, Fantastic, Splendid and all other adjectives that could be added on!

      Enjoyed it very much and of course the videos are really great. Very well done my friend and thank you for sharing such an very interesting hub. Keep up your good work.

      Voted Up + Awesome+Useful+Interesting +Beautiful.

      Best Wishes, Kamalesh

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 6 years ago

      Thank you for reading and commenting Albion :) Truly appreciated!

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 6 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hello Chris. great observations here. One I see a lot of is when a celebrity or well known person is asked a question. When out of there comfort zone, the reaction is always a scratch to the back or side of the neck. Or a scratch to the head.


    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 6 years ago

      Thanks TENKAY :) I am glad you enjoyed it!

    • TENKAY profile image

      TENKAY 6 years ago from Philippines

      haha I love this. The videos are interesting. This is a very interesting topic Chris.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 6 years ago

      Thank you for your very kind comments and votes Seeker :). Body language could reveal much about people indeed. I am happy that you have found it interesting.

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 6 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      This was a fascinating hub. I had no idea that very simple body language could say so much about a person, this is so interesting!

      Many thanks for sharing and really enjoyed this hub! Voted up interesting + awesome!

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 6 years ago

      Thanks for stopping by breakfastshop. I am really glad you have found this subject interesting :)

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 6 years ago

      Thank for a very interesting hub. I have always found the subject of body language fascinating.

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 6 years ago

      Yes, it is said that "the eyes are the mirror of our souls". Thanks for popping by and commenting WannaB Writter

    • WannaB Writer profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 6 years ago from Templeton, CA

      Body language is especially useful when people don't talk much. Conversing with someone who may be silent for several minutes makes one very dependent on reading body language. I always look at the eyes.

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 6 years ago

      Thank you for commenting and popping by to read my hub jpcmc! I'm glad you enjoyed the videos :).

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Communication is really close to my heart that's why i was drawn to it. Many individuals fail to communicate properly because they say something but their body says something else. Nice videos!

    • dmop profile image

      dmop 6 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

      Very well developed Hub you have here, Voted up and awesome.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 6 years ago

      Body language is a silent language that portrays the individuals's thoughts. As you mention, there are different cultural meanings to hand gestures and we need to be aware of this when speaking with someone. The video points out that the feet tell you where they want to go. I have to confess that I have not paid attention to this but will watch this next conversation I have with someone. Thanks for sharing.

    • CR Rookwood profile image

      Pamela Hutson 6 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Fascinating hub with good videos. Thanks!