Biz Features

Feeling Useless? Strike a Pose. No. Really.

by . March 11th, 2014

How Posing and Stretching Can Help You Succeed at Your Business

Ashley on Train Tracks
It’s fair to say succeeding at any enterprise would be far more difficult if you lack confidence. For many, mustering up enough to get through the day can be a huge challenge. Strangely enough, there’s now very strong evidence that shows all you might need to start the day right is a nice, long stretch.

A growing body of evidence suggests that our facial and body expressions are in a feedback loop with our emotions. In other words, expand and stretch your body out to fill out space, and over time you should feel more confident. Occupy less space then you should feel less confident over time.

Can faking it really help you make it? Social psychologist Amy Cuddy gave one of the few TED Talks actually worth sharing:

Recap: Taking just 2 minutes a day stretching your body to take up as much space as possible can:

  • significantly boost self-confidence
  • lower stress and anxiety levels.

But surely, power poses are an purely an effect of being dominant and not the cause of it? Other recent studies apart from those cited by Amy strongly suggest they’re both.

Forcing an expression or a pose can result in having the mindset associated with it. Patients who’d recently received Botox injections for instance, have reported they’ve become less emotional over time. Our non-verbal body language isn’t just an effect of our mindsets and emotions, they also help cause them.

Other Benefits

While stretching yourself out and striking a pose can change your mindset and help you become more confident, it will also affect how other people perceive you. As Amy says in the talk, non-verbal cues can make all the difference not just in convincing yourself, but others as well.

Non-verbal cues can make all the difference when you’re asking for a dates, or are hiring or trying to be hired by someone. They influence how nice other people will be to you, and can predict the outcomes of elections. Even weirder, emoticons can be used to influence outcomes in online negotiations – for better or worse.

Striking “high power poses” may be a scientifically sound approach to better entrepreneurial success – but it’s not easy. It takes a lot of effort and willpower to make it happen, up until at least your brain strengthens the neural connections that make this easier.

4 Ways To Make Striking that Power Pose Easier

4.) Dress for Success

It’s long been known that power dressing helps put you “in the zone” for whatever role you want to play. Now we have the studies to prove it! If previously you only ever dressed up when expected to show up in public or to meet clients, make sure to dress up as best you could given the circumstances – even on days off. You’ll be surprised about how much better you feel!

3.) Exercise

Exercise can help you look and feel good, reinforcing your “confidence feedback loop”. Some kinds of exercise – such as swimming and yoga – also help develop your posture, which does wonders for your power pose.

2.) Sit up straight!

When working, set a quiet hourly alarm to remind yourself to sit up and stretch, as well as take care of everything else that hampers productivity, such as eye strain, back and wrist aches, and so on. Not only is this good for your confidence, you’ll be preventing repetitive stress injuries as well.

1.) Hang in There!

We won’t lie. This is going to be the toughest part of it all. You will fall off the wagon. But so long as you’re on it more often than you’re off, you’ll be making progress.

Header: Billy Wilson Photography via photopin cc
Meeting: kevin dooley via photopin cc




Arthur Piccio manages YouTheEntrepreneur and has managed content for major players in the online printing industry. He was previously BizSugar's contributor of the week. His work has appeared multiple times on The New York Times' You're the Boss Small Business Blog. He enjoys guitar maintenance and reading up on history and psychology in his spare time.