I don’t know about you, but I often find that building a business can often lead to me being pushed outside of my comfort zone. I have faced numerous situations over the years where I’ve felt so uncomfortable or lacked confidence, because I had to do something that was scary – something that pushed me outside of my comfort zone. One memory stands out for me in particular… it was a few years ago and I was giving a speech and I had worked myself up into such a nervous wreck! I stood up there feeling (and looking so uncomfortable!) it was a disaster. So I decided that I never wanted to feel like that again. I wanted to learn how to master my mind so that I could handle the situations I faced to the best of my abilities; I wanted to excel, not crumble.
My learning led me to lots of mindset techniques – I quickly learnt that my thoughts; the words I was using; the story I kept playing over and over in my mind were largely determining how I responded to the situations I found myself in. So I discovered how I could take control and programme myself for success, not self-destruction! But in some situations I found it hard to change the story in my mind! Even though I would try to think of something positive, the fears, doubts, worries, disastrous scenarios would creep back in, leaving me feeling unsure of myself.
So after more researching and learning I discovered the power of posture. I read studies and research which showed that the way you hold your body can have a massive impact on how you’re feeling. I also learnt that it was possible to change your state of mind and trick yourself into feeling more confident simply by changing your posture… AMAZING!
I found out about a study in the European Journal of Social Psychology (Brion, Petty, & Wagner 2009) that looked at how posture influences self-confidence. Participants were asked to hold one of two postures – slumped sitting or sitting up straight. While holding the posture, they completed a mock job application, listing their own strengths and weaknesses that would be relevant for the job. They then rated the degree to which they believed themselves to be a good candidate for the job market, a good interviewee for a new position, a good performer on-the-job, and a satisfied future employee.The researchers found that posture had a significant effect on these ratings. Sitting slumped over was associated with lower work-related self-confidence than sitting straight up.
This research demonstrates just how powerful our postures are – the way you hold your body influences your mind.
Back in 1988 research was carried out by Strack, Martin and Stepper, which found that positioning the muscles of your face in a way that mimics natural emotion expressions can shift your mood. They discovered that putting a pen between your teeth engages the muscles of smiling and this, would you believe it, increases happiness.
There has been so much research on this topic and the findings are really quite astounding… it made me realise that I could use my body to help me feel more confident, more sure of myself and more powerful within myself in situations which pushed me out of my comfort zone. In fact, I could use posture techniques to help me feel more confident whenever I liked! If I’m feeling down, I change my posture; if I’m going into a meeting and feeling a bit unsure of myself, I change my posture; if I have an important call to make, I change my posture.
Here are some powerful postures you can use to help give you a boost of confidence (and one ‘how not to pose’):
Before a big meeting, call, speech (anything!) stand for a few minutes in one of these postures… I’m not going to lie, I felt a bit silly doing these poses for camera and sometimes I feel a bit silly doing them before a speech or something, but it’s worth doing if it helps! As always, do what works best for you.
It’s a simple idea, but one that I’ve found to be very effective! I hope it helps you too.
Would love to know what you think about this and if you’ve used postures before to help you feel more confident – leave a comment below.