When something tickles your funny bone, the way you laugh reveals more than just a joyful sense of humor. “Laughter and the body movements that accompany it are completely spontaneous and primal reactions — essentially all of a person’s walls come down,” says body-language expert Patti Wood, author of Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language & Charisma ($13.55, Amazon).
“Genuine laughter also stimulates many parts of the brain: The left side analyzes words, the right side helps us feel something is ‘funny’ and the back triggers the laugh,” adds Wood. “So the way someone laughs reflects her subconscious mind, which can give instant insight into a person’s true character.” Read on to discover what your chuckle reveals about you and how to read the laughs of those around you.
Kate Walsh Laugh Lean Forward
Lean forward? You're a go-getter!
“When you lift your head up as your chest and torso move forward, or if you rock back and forth while laughing, it displays a high level of confidence,” says Wood. “This movement exposes the front of your neck — one of the most vulnerable parts of the body — indicating that you often feel secure and have no reason to contain your boisterous laughter. In fact, unstoppable is your middle name.” This innate self-assurance has made you a pro at sticking to your guns, overcoming obstacles and leading others to success.
Hoda Kotb Laugh Clap Hands
Clap your hands? You're fun-loving!
You are an open book, and when something delights you, you’re sure to let everyone know. “If you clap while laughing, you’re an extroverted personality who likes to be seen — just think of how we clap when we’re showing approval or to get someone’s attention,” explains body-language expert Judi James. It’s a good thing you relish the spotlight because others look to you to set the tone — you have the ability to inspire and motivate with your endless enthusiasm.
Kate Hudson Laugh Hand To Heart
Put a hand to your heart? You're nurturing!
“Placing a hand on your heart while laughing is a sign that you value relationships, emotions and traditional rituals—all the things tied to the heart,” says James, author of The Body Language Bible ($11.50, Amazon). “This gesture also implies honesty and that your laughter is genuine.” The most important things in your life are your friends and family, and because you’re known as a good listener, those closest to you seek out your comforting presence when they need a shoulder to lean on. You are the glue that keeps your loved ones together.
Demi Moore Laugh Hand Over Mouth
Cover your mouth? You're a problem solver!
Detailed and precise, nothing escapes your notice, but being noticed yourself isn’t a priority for you. “Hiding your smile while you laugh shows shyness and a tendency to want to guard yourself against showing vulnerability,” says James. “You are private and don’t like to completely let go in front of others.” A deep thinker who is most comfortable in your own company, you love to solve puzzles that others find impossible. You always think before you speak — and usually only do so with a small circle of confidants with whom you feel you can truly let you hair (and hands) down.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.
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