Many of us think of reading somebody else’s mind as a sort of control mechanism.
If you can figure out their next move, you can manipulate them or anticipate their future actions.
In reality, it can be far more practical and personal.
Reading someone else’s mind allows you to be there for them, understand their point of view, and relate to them on a deeper level.
Here are 6 easy ways to read someone’s mind easily.
1. Body Language
Body language is another clear indication as to what somebody is thinking. If their forehead is creased they are stressed. How are they sitting or standing; what is their posture?
When primates in the wild show strength, they open up, arms out wide. They stretch out and pound their chests. In fact, their cortisol hormone levels decrease, reducing stress.
Like wise, if you bunch up nervously your cortisol levels increase. When cortisol levels increase, sleep deprivation, weight gain and a host of other issues can result. Caffeine has many medicinal properties but when abused, it can lead to cortisol spikes, thus weight gain and sleep deprivation may follow.
Thus, you can learn a lot about a person’s mental state from their body language, posture, and energy levels.
2. Watch their breath
How are they breathing?
If somebody breathes through the base of their spine it means they are relaxed. If ones breathe is shallow, they are tense.
If you want to know someone’s mental state, observe their breath.
If their breathing is choppy, they are most likely nervous which means they don’t want you to know something. They may be shy, anxious, or hiding something from you.
If someone has a relaxed breath, you know that their mental state is calm which typically means they are being truthful.
3. Read their eyes
The eyes can also be revealing. The pupil is said to be a portal to the mind. Some studies have shown that when one thinks hard, pupils dilate. Interestingly, when the brain is overloaded the pupils will constrict.
Also with pupils, when you first meet someone they widen. If they widen but then constrict, it means they are not really interested in you. If the remain dilated, it means they are excited to be with you.
4. Listen to their tone of voice. Not the words, their tone
The tone of voice can also tell everything. Also, the speed of the voice. Slow is calm, fast in nervous.
The words are not as important as the energy behind them.
This does not even need to be explained because you know what a certain tone means. But sometimes we must really tune in and listen to get answers.
5. Spend Time With Them
If you want to know what makes somebody tick, spend time with them. Spend an afternoon and you’ll learn a lot. Spend a week, month and year and you might both be reading each others minds.
When spending time with someone, it will become obvious how they will react to certain situations. No matter if the thoughts and feelings are nervous, brave, happy or sad it is won’t be difficult to notice when you know the person well.
This is why it amazes me when a parent claims they did not realize anything might be wrong with their child if the child does something wrong. “Everything was normal” they might say.
This is usually an indication that the parent was not spending enough time with their child. If they were, no words would need to be spoken for the parent to know something is wrong.
Other times we might be in a relationship with somebody for a couple of years and still not know what they are thinking. This can create stress in a relationship because it’s hard to know how to act when you don’t know what your lover or friend is thinking or feeling. But still, generally speaking time is a device that allows one to tap into the brain of another.
6. Make sure you aren’t fueling their mind with your energy
Everything depends on you. If you approach a situation nervously, your friend will reflect that tension. Approaching a situation in a relaxed state, we can absorb the other persons energy and recognize it for what it truly is without much guessing.
It is important to note that we all have the ability to ask how somebody feels. Beyond the polite “how’s it going” throwaway question (which is always answered with “good” type response) it is ok to dig a little deeper. Maybe you can try to read their mind and ask a more specific question such as, “you seem relaxed and in a good mood…?”
Open ended observations like that can open up real dialog as opposed to simple customary banter.
As a little exercise, if somebody does ask “how’s it going” feel free to offer up something real. Stop and examine your own feelings for a couple seconds, then tell them. Self awareness is critical when attempting to be more aware of others around you. The less aware and centered you are, the less you will be able to read another person’s mind.
Originally written by Jesse Herman and published on Powerful Primates.