I was recently interviewed by Lorraine Courtney about the power of body language for August's edition of Image Magazine. Here are my thoughts...
How we carry ourselves has a direct impact on how we feel. This is the essence of Amy Cuddy's TED talk , which explains how tweaking your body language "could significantly change the way your life unfolds". We have all experienced this when we put on a new outfit or get a new hair cut- we feel fantastic and so communicate that though our body language. The key to adjusting our body language is to become more in tune with how we carry ourselves. Practice by looking into a full length mirror and asses your posture. Once we get used to 'standing tall' it naturally follows that we carry ourselves with confidence.
To be assertive, confident and comfortable, fake it until you believe it. We can all succumb to feelings of insecurity and a lack of confidence at times, but it's really important not to let these feelings determine you. Amy Cuddy's advice is excellent: Fake it 'till you believe it! Consciously carrying your body in an open, strong and comfortable way, will send cues to the brain that you feel confident and at ease.
I see many clients who struggle to maintain a sense of inner confidence. This can only come from feeling comfortable in both body and mind. Initially, these clients unconsciously tend to be hunched up, physically looking and feeling small. This can lead to all sorts of back and neck pain, caused by the stress and anxiety they are carrying in their body. Through speaking, they untangle the knots (both physical and mental) that have been restricting them.
I really enjoy watching people open up physically as they begin to look and feel more confident. This has the inevitable knock on effect of clients achieving the goals and desires which in the past had eluded them due to a lack of inner confidence; getting the promotion they were looking for, forming a healthy romantic relationship, or just feeling more happy and comfortable in their body.
Top 5 tips on how to get body language confidence:
#1 Be aware of your deportment.
Start each day by aligning your body: Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, in through the nose and out through the mouth, to stretch, roll back your shoulders and look up.
#2 Get connected with and pay attention to your body.
Throughout the day, get into the habit of assessing your posture. Ask yourself: How am I carrying myself? This will remind you to stop hunching, uncross your legs or arms and sit or stand tall.
#3 Make eye contact.
Often when we are feeling insecure or under confident, we avoid looking people in the eye. Making eye contact immediately exudes a message of confidence and It has been scientifically proven to encourage and persuade people.
Studies have shown that negative facial expressions send a signal to your brain that what your doing is difficult. Your body responds by releasing cortisol, which raises your stress levels. Instead smile- you will instantly feel less stressed, seem more confident, and when you smile, other people feel less stressed too!
#5 Do Amy Cuddy's two minute challenge!
Allow your body to configure your brain to cope the best in any situation. Find a private space and take up a 'power pose' for two minutes. This will automatically increase your testosterone levels (power hormone) and reduce your cortisol levels (stress hormone).
To read the full article check out August's edition of Image Magazine.
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