Published in First for Women magazine.
New science reveals simple poses that instantly boost self-worth to put you at ease in any situation
Often, we don’t even realize it’s happening: We smile and nod politely as our cranky aunt schools us on the proper way to set a table, while our body subconsciously recoils inward—shoulders curve forward, arms cross and eyes cast downward. It’s an instinctual response meant for self-protection, but new research suggests this guarded stance only leaves us feeling more defeated and small. “We quickly change the way we feel just by altering our body language,” asserts communication expert Susan Constantine, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Reading Body Language. Crossed arms and hunched shoulders, for example, reinforces feelings of security. But just as slouching saps confidence, holding a “power pose”—a stance that opens up the body—can restore feelings of strength and calm in the time it takes to make a quick trip to the ladies’ room. “You may not feel so confident initially, but after a few minutes of putting on a power pose, you’ll have an adrenaline rush as your body starts telling your brain, I feel powerful. I can do this!” encourages Constantine. Indeed, a study in the journal Psychological Science showed that striking a bold posture boosted testosterone by 20 percent and lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol by 25 percent, bringing on a spike in courage in just 2 minutes. And that surge of fearlessness will attract more supportive company. “People gravitate to open body language because it’s a source of positive energy,” says Constantine. “Your nonverbals are saying, I’m worthy, and people treat you accordingly.” Read on for easy poses guaranteed to help you channel power and poise when you need it most.