How do you increase confidence with body language?
This is a question I’ve been fascinated by recently. I’ve been rereading one of my favourite books, Higher Status, by Jason Capital. Jason explains 12 signals in the book that showcase confidence. It’s a fascinating read for anyone looking to improve confidence, present themselves in a stronger way, and feel good. Jason doesn’t only cover body language in the book, but other aspects such as your voice and destiny.
Alongside this, I’ve been looking and listening to the likes of Amy Cuddy, Tony Robbins, and Elliott Hulse on how motion and body language change an individual’s mental state. I’ve been jigging my routine, as always, to make sure I am including as many body language exercises as possible.
As someone who coaches in the self-esteem and confidence area, I don’t look at body language alone: mindset, our actions, and our habits need to be addressed equally if we are to improve.
But, today, let’s address the impact changing our body language has on confidence.
Below are several exercises we can practice for increased self-esteem; through continual habit, they will not only make us come off as more confident and in control, but feel more confident within ourselves:
The Power Pose
This is best outlined in Social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on the Wonder Woman power pose and body language. The idea is that when an individual stands in a pose like Wonder Woman (hands on hips, upright, and looking up), a boost in testosterone and “feel good” chemicals is felt. Alternatively, cortisol (the stress hormone) levels within the body are reduced. Personally, I always start the day with this pose.
The Power Walk
Remember those days in drama class where you were told to walk across the room with your head down and then again with your chest lifted up? You felt a difference, right? Capital emphasizes how important this is in his book, too.
A powerful walk is one that is upright, slow, calm, and focused on where you are going. A rushed, nervous, and head-down walk portrays a lack of confidence.
I practice this walk two to three times a day on its own for a few moments. But, then I try and bring my awareness to it whenever I am walking; it doesn’t just make you look confident but, most importantly, it makes you feel confident.
Let’s be honest, do you find it easier to approach or talk to someone who’s smiling or someone who looks grumpy and miserable? The smiling person, right? That’s usually because we view them as more approachable and enjoying life.
Smiling also sends a message to the brain that we are ready to be happy. The body starts to produce more feel-good chemicals, such as endorphins (which are also produced in exercise).
I combine practicing my smile with my morning power pose but also schedule smiling into my day at least a couple of times for one minute.
This is perhaps more challenging, but like anything, it can be improved with practice or continual habit improvement. Holding good eye contact with someone shows you have confidence and are grounded. Over the last couple of years, it has certainly changed the way others have perceived me.
There are many ways to incorporate this into practice. One is to look at yourself in the mirror and hold a gaze. The second is to consciously hold eye contact with someone in a shop, cafe, or restaurant for a couple of seconds or more. Try and do this as much as possible.
If you’re uncomfortable doing this with strangers, start with people you know. If you’re uncomfortable with people you know? Well, sorry, you’ve got to start somewhere, or else you won’t get more confident with your eye contact. Start with shorter durations in your head.
The above are a few examples of how body language can change the confidence you portray to others but also how you feel yourself. Subconsciously, we are always picking up signals from one another regarding whether someone seems friendly and confident. Consciously make an effort to work on your body language with a little practice.