Could the key to being happier and more successful really lie in a few simple stances?
Most of us are aware that feeling confident helps us to achieve our goals. When we believe in ourselves, we are much more likely to impress during a key interview, give a great public speech or convince our boss we really do deserve that pay rise. And confidence we’re told, lies in the mind: in being more aware of and silencing self-critical thoughts whilst fostering a more positive attitude.
But what if we could locate the source of inner confidence in our physical bodies? According to social psychologist and Harvard Business School Professor Amy Cuddy, certain poses directly influence our actual body chemistry and impact upon how confident we feel. It’s all part of what experts call our “nonverbal communication” – which in practice, means learning to fake it til you make it.
Holding one of these key poses for just two minutes, claims Cuddy, stimulates testosterone production (the hormone linked to dominance in the animal and human worlds) and decreases that of cortisol (the stress hormone that can cause jitteriness and feelings of anxiety). Her TED talk on this very subject has been watched by more than 36 million people to date so her findings have definitely struck a chord.
So here’s a run down of what to do and what not to do (warning: you may need to retreat to the office bathroom to practice!)
1. The Tall and Proud: The instinctive sign of triumph. Picture an athlete crossing the line as he or she wins the race, their arms above their head, outstretched in a ‘V’ sign. Do this standing still and feel your confidence rising.
2. The Wonder Woman: The name really says it all. Stand with your feet firmly planted on the floor, hip width apart. Place your hands on your hips, pull your shoulders down and back, lift your chin – and feel the power.
3. The Boss: One for those who work from home or if you get to the office before anyone else. Perhaps. This involves sitting in your desk chair with your feet up on the table and your hands clasped behind your head. Whatever your job title, you’ll feel as powerful as the boss.
4. What to avoid: All of the above power poses involve owning the space around us with the position of our bodies. Anything that looks and feels closed up – arms or legs crossed, drooping shoulders, having your head in your hands or even just hiding your hands in your pockets – sends a negative message of low self-confidence to onlookers.
Now help ease your body into a state of cool confidence with these product picks…