by Art Piccio . March 11th, 2014
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.