What is Gesturing and How to Practice It

What is Gesturing?

Gestures can be movements to show what we are thinking or feeling. Gestures can show when we feel angry, happy, sad, and other feelings.

We use gestures every day, sometimes without even thinking about it. When we are being moved out of our resilient or “OK” zone, we can use gestures to help us stay in our zone.

By choosing and using gestures that help us feel calm, happy, or relaxed, we can change the thoughts we may have that are moving us out of our zone.

Using calm, happy, or relaxed gestures can get our brains to remember times when we felt calm, happy, or relaxed. We can use our bodies to change our thoughts!

 

Some examples of calm, relaxed, or happy gestures may be:

    • Smiling.
    • Clapping.
    • Hand flapping.
    • Rubbing your hands together.
    • Spinning.
    • Tapping a surface or parts of your body.
    • Humming.
    • Wiggling your toes.
    • Putting your hand on your chest.

Gestures can be big, whole-body movements or they can be small, simple movements.Cartoon of a boy smiling, hands clapping, a man with his hand on his chest, and a foot.

Not everyone’s gestures will look the same. It’s important to find gestures that work for you.

You may already do gestures to help you feel calm, happy, or relaxed and not even know it. If you’re not sure what gestures to use, you can try different ones or ask someone who knows you well if they see you do anything that seems to help you relax.

Gesturing Practice:

Cartoon of a woman breathing with her hand on her chest.

Gestures can be movements to show what we are thinking or feeling. Gestures can show when we feel angry, happy, sad, and other feelings.

By choosing and using gestures that help us feel calm, happy, or relaxed, we can change the thoughts we may have that are moving us out of our zone.

It is helpful to practice gesturing so that when you are faced with challenges you can easily use them to help you stay in your resilient or “OK” zone.

 

Examples of gestures that may help you feel calm or relaxed:

    • Smiling.
    • Clapping.
    • Hand flapping.
    • Rubbing your hands together.
    • Spinning.
    • Tapping a surface or parts of your body.
    • Humming.
    • Wiggling your toes.
    • Putting your hand on your chest.

Using the answers you wrote above, spend a few minutes practicing these movements. When you are done, notice how you feel. Does any part of your body feel different or more relaxed?

Keep practicing these gestures or movements throughout your day. This will make it easier for you to use these skills when you feel like you are being moved out of your resilient or “OK” zone.

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Other downloads

Name Description Type File
What is Gesturing Gestures can be movements to show what we are thinking or feeling. Gestures can show when we feel angry, happy, sad, and other feelings. pdf Download file: What is Gesturing
Practicing Gesturing Gestures can be movements to show what we are thinking or feeling. Gestures can show when we feel angry, happy, sad, and other feelings. pdf Download file: Practicing Gesturing

This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.