How to Subtly Influence Perception Using Nothing But Your Body

It’s not what you say. It’s how you say it.

Photo by Andrea Rio on Unsplash

Why snakes don’t make promises late into the night

As you know, we share certain features of our physiology with animals. Our dorsal vagal circuit, responsible for digestion and excretion, is also found in vertebrates like snakes. But all the sophisticated things we do, from singing to conversation, depend on the ventral vagal circuit, which is unique to humans.

Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash

“Nothing comes unannounced but many miss the announcement. So it’s very important to actually listen to your intuition rather than driving through it.” -Terence McKenna

Our bodies cannot help but advertise our inner life. If you consider an iceberg, conversations happen at the very top of the ice shelf, while there are several layers of pre-linguistic methods of communication lying beneath it. This is where autonomic signaling happens. This is why intuition is a reliable source of wisdom — it’s the synthesis of contextual cues and autonomic messaging.

Add more words to the end of your sentences

According to The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory, slow exhales are the primary route for activating the ventral vagal (social engagement) circuit. This is because slow exhales increase the impact of the ventral vagal pathways on the heart. “During the exhalation phase of breathing,” Porges writes, “vagal motor fibers send an inhibitory signals (i.e. vagal brake) to the heart’s pace maker that slows the heart rate.”

Meet in person

“Truth can never be told so as to be understood and not be believed.” -William Blake

Most human communication takes place on registers so subtle that it just can’t be replicated with digital tools. We communicate so much with the space between our words, the modulations in our tonality and the movements of our eye brows.

Talk to me like I’m your cat, dog, and infant son

When you talk to animals, and even to babies, you probably speak in a higher voice, with more variation in your intonations. Although you do it automatically, changing your pitch may actually be your body’s way of signaling that you mean no harm.

Play more peek-a-boo

This is more than just a game of covering your eyes with your hands and scaring children. Polyvagal theory describes a series of “neural exercises” that optimize the regulation of your autonomic state.

Forget will power, resistance, mistakes, cause and effect, bandages, petrochemical fertilizers. Reprogram your subconscious mind

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