Now, if you find it difficult to put things into words or suffer from an ongoing case of 'foot in mouth' disease, this may come as a bit of a relief. If you think I'm just being rude, read on... I promise, I'm not that kind of girl.
What I'm getting at is that, according to Gregory Bateson, the English anthropologist, social scientist and linguist, about 92% of communication is non-verbal – which means that in spite of the fact we place so much importance on the spoken word, what comes out of our mouth is only a very small part of the story.
Body language is also something we know we can consciously manipulate to have an impact on someone else, for example by subtly mirroring their posture to establish rapport or using particular gestures while public speaking to enhance and add power and validity to our words.
But how often do you use your own body language as a way of understanding and managing yourself more effectively?
Your body will tell you what really matters
Emotions aren't thought processes. They come from the body. We don't decide to feel threatened, ecstatic or full of rage - they're spontaneous responses felt first, analysed second. In fact, from hot flushes of embarrassment to body-shaking anger to waves of deepest desire, feelings often spring up quite unexpectedly and take us by surprise.
Notice when these strong emotions arise. They are likely to appear at times when your key values and beliefs are being threatened or called into play. Consequently, emotions can indicate what's running you, what really matters.
It's beliefs and values that shape your decision-making, the way you communicate and how you live your life. Once you recognise what they are, you can decide whether they help or hinder you.
What rocks your world or rocks the boat?
We're often told to focus on a goal in order to find success – but how do you know if that goal is the right one?
Give yourself some space, think about that option, visualise it, hear, taste and breathe in the moment of achievement and if you feel your body light up from the inside out, feel heat in your chest or a quickening heart beat, you're probably on the right track.
By paying more attention to your internal physical state, you'll get some big clues as to what you need to do to get happy.
Next time you feel a strong negative emotion – sadness or anger for example – rather than hoping it will go away or trying to ignore it, take a moment to locate it in your body. You may be aware of heat in your chest or butterflies or mild sickness in the stomach. Focus on that part of the body. Be aware of the sensations and see what they tell you about those feelings. Chances are, you'll gain some clarity about the situation and feel calmer and more in control too. The body likes to be listened to.
Are you in a right state or a wrong state?
You've got a demanding day ahead of you. Would you rather be calm and centred or stressed and agitated? A simple question just to remind you that you do have the choice.
Get to know the signals in your body that tell you when you're not in your most productive or comfortable state. Focus on yourself for a minute and you might notice that your breathing is particularly shallow, there's a tightness in your chest or you just don't 'feel right' or steady inside. Your body is telling you that you need to help yourself out.
So start learning a few strategies that will replace negative with positive. Running, cycling, dancing, singing, meditation or generally getting creative are great ways to set a positive mental state. Sixty seconds spent breathing deeply, relaxing your shoulders, releasing tension and focusing on your goal can give you a meeting, a morning or even a day of calm, concentration and focus.
Get the body going, the rest will follow
You may not feel great, but 'pretending' that you do with some positive body language can be the start of something good. Look up, smile, pull your shoulders back, sit up straight or even stand up... These are movements that open up the chest and let the air in. They remove constrictions around the throat, neck and spine and give you a sense of being stronger and more in control.
You may also notice that there are specific gestures or postures that work really well for you. I find that pressing my fingertips lightly together gives me a sense of self connection. I don't really know why, except that, for me, it's a metaphor for self-reliance and focus. I also find that standing with my feet shoulder-width apart rather than together makes me feel steadier, not just physically but mentally too.
Ask a friend to watch you as you talk about something you're passionate about and tell you afterwards what they noticed about the gestures you use – and the next time you want to feel that same enthusiasm or recapture that passion, use those gestures again and notice what happens. You could even try exaggerating them slightly.
By getting curious about your own body, you not only engage in a more fulfilling dialogue with yourself but also tap into a world of physical resources that can literally change the way you experience your world.