Sunday, April 29, 2007

Experiment: Posture

For this experiment you will need a little notebook. Keep it with you at all times for the course of three days. Every time you notice a big shift in your emotional/mental state, record it in the notebook. Write down the time and describe the shift in your mood as well as any possible catalysts. When you feel very happy in the morning after a coworker makes a special effort to greet you, write it down. When you start to feel miserable around lunch time after missing a call from a friend, write it down. When an hour later you are on top of the world again for no apparent reason, write that down too. Pay attention to the myriad of little mood swings, however subtle, that you cycle through in one day.
On the fourth day, you will add a little detail to your record keeping. In addition to cataloging the time and emotional state, describe any particular physical postures, twitches, or ticks that accompany the various states. For example you might write-
1:00pm Happy = twirling hair. While walking to the drugstore in the sun.
1:30pm Angry = Hands thrust into pockets, chin lowered. After waiting in a long line.
2:30pm Lonely = Biting lower lip, shoulders hunched. While driving to post office.
And so on…
Try to recognize re-occurring postures so natural to you they will be hard to spot. Make an effort to observe yourself without judgement. Imagine that you are studying yourself as an actor would study a character in order to play that character more realistically. Keep notes this way for three more days. On the seventh day act out the postures you have recorded in your notebook.

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