Do you often find yourself slouched, your arms crossed in a meeting, or slumped with your elbows on the table on a date?
According to social psychologist Amy Cuddy, author of Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges (Orion), the non-verbal signals you’re giving off could be causing you stress and holding you back in all aspects of your life.
So how do you begin to change those non-verbal signals? Well, there is a simple technique that can help you carry yourself in a more confident way, which in turn, would have a positive effect in various areas of your life – it’s called power poses.
Find out how to power pose like a pro:
Why it works
‘How you carry your body shapes how you carry your life,’ explains Amy, whose two-minute ‘Wonder Woman’ daily posture tweak can leave you feeling more assertive, confident, and comfortable within yourself. ‘Ultimately, expanding your body brings you to the present and improves your performance, she explains.
Read more: 8 morning yoga poses you should master
Researchers at Harvard University confirmed this simple, no-tech life hack – holding your body in a ‘high power pose’ like Wonder Woman for just two minutes each day – has a huge impact on hormone levels.
Testers had a 20% increase in testosterone, a decrease in cortisol, and were 86% more likely to take risks. So they feel more powerful but less stress-reactive, perfect for an important job interview or date.
This strong, open power pose is instinctive of feeling powerful in the moment – think how animals make themselves appear physically bigger to show their dominance.
Holding the power pose is like tricking your mind into thinking you are confident until you start to feel it yourself. As Amy says, ‘Don’t fake it ’til you make it. Fake it ’til you become it.’
How to pose like Wonder Woman
Hold this two-minute posture first thing in the morning after getting out of bed, while in a lift, or even in a toilet cubicle:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and hands on your hips (channel how Beyoncé holds herself on stage).
- Think about your body becoming a capital ‘A’ shape, with your feet firmly planted on the floor.
- Breathe slowly and deeply until you feel centred and stronger.
- Raise your chin, but not to the point that you are looking down your nose at people.
- Place your hands on your hips, elbows out. You can even do this with just one hand on your hip while you’re brushing your teeth.
Top tip: If you can’t pose due to a lack of space, or people are watching, try striking a Wonder Woman pose mentally. Be a superhero in your own head!
Be in the moment every single day
Want to feel in charge and in control throughout the day? Add a reminder on your phone to check that you’re not using low power poses. Check your posture every hour, or leave Post-it notes around the house or office to remind you.
Low power poses
- Crossing legs and arms, either while you’re standing or sitting.
- Touching your neck with your hands.
- Sitting with your arms crossed into your lap.
High power poses
- Hands behind your head with elbows outwards, leaning backwards.
- Standing over a desk with palms flat on the table, arms wide.
- Sitting with arms and legs uncrossed and wide (think ‘man-spreading’!).
- Using ‘open’ gestures. Don’t fold your arms – keep them outstretched with your palms showing.