How to Use Body Language for Personal Empowerment
Whether sitting through a presentation in the boardroom or laughing at YouTube videos of politicians, you have likely witnessed the power of body language. Body language can assist you with everything from acing your interview and landing that great job, to making new friends. Our body language affects how we relate to others and how they perceive us, but what about when it comes to our own confidence? Can we use body language to “psych” ourselves up? Does our body language change how we perceive ourselves?
In a now-famous TED Talk, Amy Cuddy explains that the body’s movements can shape the mind. In fact, just two minutes of “high power” poses showed a 20% increase in testosterone in both males and females of the test group. The high-power people also showed a significant decrease in the stress hormone cortisol.
The “low power” group experienced the opposite effect: a decrease in testosterone and an increase in cortisol. This is a fascinating bit of information, and it means that just two minutes of changing your body language can change not only your body’s hormonal response, but also your confidence level.
Here’s that aforementioned TED talk by Amy Cuddy:
The “How-To” of Power Poses
A power pose is a stance of confidence, of expansion.
Take up more room than you usually would. This can mean getting into a “Wonder Woman” pose with your feet spread and hands on your hips, or raising your arms above your head in a victory pose like you just won a race.
If you are among others and need something a bit more subtle, try sitting or standing up taller and spreading your arms out slightly. By taking up more room, you’re subtly conveying your comfort in an area, your control over the situation, and your confidence in yourself. People pick up on body language implicitly, and you will also feel more in control.
Power poses may be adopted in so many situations that are otherwise daunting or difficult, like before a job interview, when you’re worried about confronting someone or during a squabble with your friend or S.O., when you’re giving an important presentation at work, or to soothe your nerves on a first date. It’s kind of incredible the difference it can make.
Tiny tweaks can lead to big changes. So, the next time you need to up your empowerment level, go ahead and try that Wonder Woman pose in your bathroom mirror, in the elevator, or in that public restroom stall. I won’t tell anyone, I promise!