One day, Colin came into my kindergarten movement class with a quivering lower lip and a frown on his face. I noticed he was puffing out his chest and clenching his fists as he slowly walked toward me with his chin pulled in. He was about to have a meltdown. He took a big breath, getting ready to let out a sob. I didn’t know why, but I could see how.

Colin’s inner state was clearly visible in his outer expression. As I recall this incident, I am smiling warmly, for I still appreciate the raw honesty of Colin’s expressive body language. By experiencing his dynamic body shape, it was easy to recognize how upset Colin was and that he was, literally, about to cry for help.


Empowering Self-Influence: What Body Shapes Do You Make?

We all make many different body shapes throughout our day, as well as over our lifetime. Learning to recognize the forming of your own, as well as another’s current dynamic body shape, is the first step to empowering self-influence. Recognizing this is also the first step to supporting age appropriate social-emotional development and empowering life-long learning.

As we develop through different stages of our lives, we can learn to influence how we function and feel — how we shape and relate to ourselves and our world.

What are Dynamic Body Shapes?

Dynamic body shapes are not static shapes, but rather pulsing, living, active patterns of behavior that you create. When I use the term “Dynamic Body Shape”, I am referring to both the outer expression as well as the inner experience and intent of the body shapes you make.

  • Your outer expression — body shapes you make as you move through the world around you.
  • Your inner experience — body states and the physical way you influence your feelings and emotions

How you shape your outer expression affects your inner experience, and how you shape your inner state affects your outer expression.

Continuum of Body Shapes

We make big and subtle changes in our body shape in relation to many things such as how tired or hungry we are, our reactions to others or our circumstance, or what we want to communicate to others and to ourselves.

Below are a few examples of dynamic body shapes people make with different levels of excitement and intensity. What shapes do you make? And how does that affect how you feel?

In upcoming posts, I will continue the story about Collin, and we will look more closely at some aspects of dynamic body shapes and how this relates to emotional experience, expression, and development.

Where are you along this continuum of excitement and intensity right now? What body shapes do you make? How do you feel?

Super Low to Medium Levels of Excitement & Intensity

High to Extreme Levels of Excitement & Intensity


Widening and Narrowing Your Focus
Cycles of Excitement and Intensity

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