Power Stances to Improve Your Day

Are you looking for a way to improve your confidence, attitude, and personal success? Want a scientifically proven way to increase the quality of your daily life? Well, here it is. The no prescription, money, or diet required method to making your feel more powerful and in control of your life: power stances.

What Exactly is a Power Stance?

According to the research of Amy Cuddy, a social scientist at Harvard Business School, there are two factors that determine both how we perceive ourselves and others and how they perceive us. These factors are our levels of competence/power and our overall warmth/trustworthiness. The amazing thing about her research is that she has discovered that people have the power to control those things about themselves, which means we have the power to change our level of success and personal satisfaction, regardless of what other people perceive.

The method she used to improve personal power in her research was through a change in physical posture. In her well-received TED Talk she called this the “matter over mind” principle. Her research showed that by adopting a powerful, physical stance, in a “fake it ‘til you make it” exercise, actually had a positive influence on the attitude of the individual and on the perception of the individual by others.

How Does It Work?

In her research, Professor Cuddy identified 8 powers stances that you can use both by yourself and in social situations to boost your self-confidence and your chances for success. These poses trigger a physical change in our body; a surge of the hormone testosterone, which increases our feelings of success and satisfaction, and a decrease in cortisol levels, which reduces our stress levels and helps us manage difficult situations better.

Pose 1: The Marissa Meyer Pose

Marissa Meyer, CEO of Yahoo, posed for a Vogue photo shoot where she was lying on her back, arms behind her head, in what Cuddy calls an “open” pose. Open poses are more powerful. When we feel confident we are more open, we don’t close in to protect ourselves. This pose is actually recommended for sleep. When you lie down to sleep at night, don’t curl on your side in a fetal position. Try this open pose instead. It can help you wake feeling bigger and more powerful.

Pose 2: The Mr. Clean Pose


We’ve all seen the “Mr. Clean” commercials, where a Sinbad looking man in white clothes winks at us while his arms are crossed across his chest and his shoulders are rolled back. People don’t often consider crossed arms as a position of power, but having the shoulders rolled back makes all the difference in the world. This is position, coupled with keeping your head up, exudes confidence and power.

Pose 3: The Loomer Pose


This is the position for closing the deal, delivering the final piece of advice, or finishing your presentation. This posture position forces the body forward as a point of emphasis for your words. The arms are open; the chin is raised as your body leans forward but your eyes stay level with your peers.

Pose 4: The Obama Pose


This position, named for our current Commander-in-Chief, may look laid back, but is anything but. This is the position to use when you are introducing an idea, pitching a new product, or inviting a conversation. In a seated position, with the legs raised and crossed loosely at the ankle, bring the arms up and clasp the fingers behind the head. This pose accomplished two things. It makes you appear relaxed and comfortable, while maintaining a position of power. This can inspire you to take appropriate risks in both business and relationships. It can help you feel more confident in having that conversation or sharing that idea that has been nagging at your brain.

Pose 5: The Performer Pose


This is a pose for you to practice somewhere private. This is the universal pose that all human beings make, subconsciously, when the perform a great feat. With feet at shoulder width, stretch the arms up over your head in a “V” shape and tilt your chin up. This is the “I just won the race!” position. Imagine yourself soaking up the adoration of fans who have watched you accomplish something great. The pose itself can make you feel great. Hold the pose for 2 minutes to allow for the hormone change to take place.

Pose 6: The CEO Pose


This is the pose for interviewing, whether it be your kids or a potential employee. While in a sitting position, lean back just a bit, with your arms reaching out along the back or arms of a chair or perhaps on a desk if you are turned sideways, and your feet resting on the floor. One ankle could be resting on a knee. This is a relaxed but “in charge” pose. You feel comfortable in your space, you are open to the other person, and not using your desk or table as a shield, but as a marker of success.

Pose 7: The Wonder Woman Pose


If you ever watched Wonder Woman as a kid, then you already know this pose. You could just as well call it the Superman pose. Stand with your feet wide, shoulders back, chest out, and hands resting on your hips. This pose says “I’m confident, I’m comfortable, and you should feel safe with me.” This is a good pose when you are having a conversation with someone you respect or who you want to respect you.

Pose 8: The Squinch Pose


This pose uses your eyes to their best effect. Accomplish this pose by bringing your lower eyelids up and looking directly at the person you are communicating with. This isn’t the same as squinting or winking at someone, which could go all kinds of wrong! This is a thoughtful, serious look. The kind that makes you think of a professor quizzing one of his prized students.

Try these poses today and see if it improves your confidence and self-esteem.

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