Using Power Posing to Boost Your Self-Esteem

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Is it possible to reduce your anxiety and boost your self-esteem just by altering the way you stand? Was your mother right after all when she told you to sit up straight?

In past years, some criticism arose surrounding the effects of power posing, but research supports the benefits of sitting with correct posture and standing in a way that makes you feel powerful, assertive and motivated. Besides, you definitely feel it when you let your body remain in an uncomfortable or painful position for too long. Your back aches and your leg muscles get that resting on pins and needles feeling. Use power posing to boost your self-esteem and improve your physical health.

How You Hold Your Body Impacts Your Mind

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy did a TED talk in 2012 where she brought back the idea of the power pose as a successful way to jumpstart the body toward confidence. Cuddy expressed that how you hold your body impacts your mind, and her research revealed how those who sat in a high-power pose felt more empowered than those sitting in a low-power pose. A high-power pose means sitting in a more expansive posture, and Cuddy's findings suggested that power posing altered participants body chemistry during the course of her study. The hormonal effects included a decrease in cortisol, the stress hormone, and a boost in testosterone.

So, avoid leaning for too long and try uncrossing your legs. Mirroring another in rapport should happen naturally, anyway.

Good Posture Builds and Expresses Confidence

You don't have to strike a pose like a disco dancer or a superhero, either, to feel the positive effects of power posing. Start with good posture to build and express confidence and let it do the work.

Good posture increases your flexibility and core strength, and it's hard to express confidence when you're grimacing from a bad back. Keep your shoulders even with your chin parallel to the floor. Keep your spine in a neutral position, and don't overemphasize the curve of the spine by arching it or slouching. Your body weight should be evenly distributed in your feet.

Placing a pillow behind your back can help you naturally keep this posture as you sit. Try this technique if you ever have a phone interview and need to conquer a case of the nerves.

Finding Your Good Side and Loving Everything Else

Incorporate power posing more casually into everyday situations. Ever wonder why women pose with one knee bent and stand on the ball of her toes while balancing the weight on her other foot? While this breaks the "equal balance in both feet" posture rule, it lends more curve to the body and allows a woman to show that off, naturally placing a hand on her hip in a subtle power pose. 

You probably naturally have and use a power pose without knowing you do it. What's your good side? Look through your photos and notice when you're smiling, laughing and having a good time naturally. What pose are you striking? Practice less restraint in letting that part of yourself out into the world and release your inner Wonder Woman or Xena.

Jennifer Silvershein