We’ve all heard about how important it is to pay attention to what our body language, or non-verbal communications are saying to others. What we forget to take into account is what our non-verbal communications are saying to ourselves. Body language isn’t simply a form of communication; it can also affect our thoughts, our feelings, and our physiology.
Your body, yourself
You may not realize it, but your body language can influence your feelings of power and dominance. For example, when people stretch out and take up space, like leaning back with their legs outstretched and their hands behind their heads, it creates a feeling of dominance. Raising their arms up into the air like runners do when they finish a race, creates a feeling of power.
Conversely, when people feel powerless they make themselves smaller. They wrap their arms around themselves, cross their ankles, or hunch over.
It’s been established that how you carry yourself or hold yourself in any given moment has a direct correlation with how you feel, and assuming powerful, confident postures can make you feel more powerful.
How powerful people are physiologically different
Powerful people are generally more confident, more prone to see the bright side even in negative situations, and they’re more apt to take risks. Physiologically they’re different too. Powerful people have higher levels of testosterone – the dominance hormone, and coritsol –the hormone that gives you the ability to mitigate stress. So the questions are, can your body postures affect your hormones? If so, does it take years of practice?
The answer to the first question is, yes, your body posture can affect your hormones. And no, it doesn’t take years of practice to see results. You can actually see results by adopting power poses for a couple of minutes a day.
Increase your power through power poses
A power pose like standing with your legs about a hip width apart and your hands on your hips, or sitting with your legs extended in front of you while leaning back with your hands behind your neck can increase your levels of testosterone and coritsol.
You can use power poses to recharge your power levels during the day, or before a job interview, before giving a speech, before a sales call, or before an important meeting,
Even if it feels like holding power poses is faking power, do it anyway, because while you’re faking it you’re also forging a path for yourself to make it.
As Amy Cuddy says in the amazing Ted Talk, Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are, “Don’t fake it till you make it, fake it till you become it.”