Have you ever noticed how your mood is reflected in your body posture? Or that, the body postures associated with particular moods are much the same for everyone? Because of this we are often able to recognise a person’s mood before they even speak. We can tell that if someone is confident, depressed or nervous just from the way they are standing, the way they move and from their facial expression. It’s so universal that we take it for granted.
Most people assume it is our thoughts which lead the way – which cause the body to adopt the posture which reflects the mood they create. Yet in fact, the opposite can be true too – the body posture adopted by a person can influence their mood! There is a constant process going on in which the brain “reads” the body posture and then adapts the mood to one which more suits it. I do a lot of work with people wanting to feel more positive or to improve their confidence and one thing I often do is to teach them how to use this phenomenon to help them. It’s particularly useful for specific events such as interviews or speeches.
Why not try it at home? Stand with your shoulders rounded down, your arms hanging loosely by your sides, your head tilted forward and down and your eyes looking at the floor and with your facial muscles totally relaxed walk around slowly with quite short steps and say to yourself “I feel fantastic!, I feel so good!”. How genuine does that feel? Next, stand tall, with your shoulders back and relaxed, your head straight and looking directly forward or slightly up, take a deep breath and allow your chest and shoulder muscles to relax as you breath out, smile and say to yourself “I feel fantastic!” I feel so good!”. Notice a difference?
Just being aware of this can help you feel more confident as you walk in a room and lift yourself on those days you’re feeling a bit low. By noticing your posture when you are stressed, you can use this to relax more.
Still not convinced? Next blog I’ll describe a small piece of research which you can again try at home. Meanwhile, as Val Doonican said – walk talk, walk straight and look the world right in the eye!