Did you know that your body language shapes who you are?

What do we give away without even realising it?

Our body language, including the way we stand or sit can affect the way others see us and how we see ourselves.

Our non-verbal postures convey some powerful messages to others but what’s even more surprising is how much they can influence how we are feeling about ourselves.

There are some good reasons to start looking more closely at the way we hold our body and the habits we have as they could be having a much greater impact on your life than you think and may influence how others respond to you, the choices you make and the way you are feeling during your day.

An American social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, who lectures at Harvard Business School, has come up with some surprising findings in her research on ‘power posing’ which is the intention to stand in a posture of confidence, even when you are not feeling confident. Her research on body language suggests that we can change other people’s perceptions and perhaps even our own body chemistry simply by changing our body positions.

Standing with a sense of power helps us function in a more positive way. There are lots of studies that indicate that how we stand, move, think and feel have an impact on the way we respond to stressful situations and have all kinds of other consequences on how we ourselves and others see us.

With this sense of power we may experience changes in our thinking and behaviour and other benefits such as improvements in creativity and performance.

These exciting findings start to increase awareness of the extent to which the effects of our own non-verbal behaviours may impact on our ability to be present, to be effective communicators and to approach stressful situations with less anxiety and more confidence.

So the next time you’re in a tight situation, feeling worn down and stressed by the pressures of life notice how you’re standing and make the choice to test this research out by standing up straight, adopting an open, relaxed and expansive posture. Spread yourself out and connect with your true self.

You could find yourself feeling happier, more optimistic and confident, more creative and more likely to take action when you need to.

Rachael Elliott

Clinical Psychologist

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