As I stood in the Ballroom J of the JW Marriott in downtown Austin on March 15, 2015 getting mic’ed up, I felt something I hadn’t experienced since the state finals of high school Speech and Debate. The pit I felt in my stomach reminded me that I was about to present at SXSW to over 100 up-and-coming professionals on the topic of team building.
Even though I had prepared relentlessly for this moment, I still couldn’t quiet the inner critic that seems to be present for many of us.
Thankfully, I knew exactly what I had to do and immediately broke out in my best Arnold Schwarnenagger-style power pose. I’m not going to lie, at first it felt awkward and forced but after the first thirty seconds I began to smile and shift into a plethora of different poses, all more reminiscent of Hans and Frans from SNL than an actual body builder. The important aspect of this exercise was not the actual muscle being flexed, but it was the effects of the open, or power position, I was assuming. After a few minutes, I took a deep breath and walked out to greet the crowd with confidence and enthusiasm.
As we move into the winter doldrums it is more important than ever to maintain a positive level of body acceptance and demonstrate appropriate body language. Check out this two-step guide to using positive body language to change your mood and positively increase people’s perception of you!
Step 1: Power Pose into Positivity
In Dr. Amy Cuddy’s popular TED talk, she describes the science behind power posing. Ms. Cuddy contends that just by changing your body posture to an open, or confident, stance you can actually change your body’s chemistry. For example, power posing for two minutes will actually increase testosterone and lower cortisol levels. So the next time that you are feeling nervous or down about your body image, change your stance and begin power posing! Not only will you feel better, but it’s been proven that people’s impressions of you will dramatically increase due to your increased confidence.
Nervous about taking your vehicle in for maintenance in a male-dominated repair shop? Not feeling great about your “Mom-Bod”? Uneasy about participating in a Military Receiving Line? The answer to calm your nerves and raise your internal body perception is the same for each of these situations: power pose!