When we feel strong and powerful we feel and move differently. This is reflecting in our physiology, our posture and how we communicate. Think about people in positions of power who command respect. Leaders, artists, winning athletes radiate confidence and dominance. Imagine if they were slouched over, spoke with an uncertainty, or moved timidly and tentatively. It’s likely that their influence and impact would be different and you may question their competence less.
So, when we feel powerful we act in such a way and it influences how we feel. It also impacts how other interact with us too and how much influence we have on them. You may hear how other athletes/ fighters/ teams get ‘psyched out.’ You may have had an experience where you let someone’s excellence affect your own performance.
Body language is relevant to our performance in all areas of our life beyond the gym. Think about an interview situation, if your body language is closed and apologetic, or your anxiety is reflected in your tone and pitch of your voice, it can lead interviewers to think that you don’t know your stuff. If you don’t believe in yourself, then why should others trust and give you the job or be influenced by what you say?
Whether we like it or not, we are affected by our own physiology and that of others. Our physiology is affected by our thinking and our emotions.
Much research has been done into this and there is a powerful and insightful Ted talk by Prof Amy Cuddy which explains the science in relation to this, you can watch it via this link.
But in short, or if you can’t be bothered to watch the film atm. What the researchers show it that you can fake it until you make it. So, if your body language is affected by your mindset, then you can change your mindset with small or big tweaks to your posture.
There were certain “high power poses” which researches proved had an impact. They were slightly different for men and women, but it was basically about taking up space.
So, for women it was the wonder women pose. Hands on hips, just like me in the picture, post event win. You may recognise the pose as something that you do naturally when you’re highly focused or in boss mode. Think about the start line of a sprint race.
For guys it was slightly different, feet wide, arms above the head. Basically, taking up more space. The snatch position is a high power pose too, opening up and spreading out the body. Check out the Ted Talk for more info.
So, in a competition environment, become aware of how much you do the low power poses. Slouching, apologising, look down anxiously, making yourself like a small animal of prey. If you find yourself moaning, stop.
Stand tall and straight. Do activities which encourage you to move in this way. Breath, do Yoga. Smile, walk around with grace, strength and confidence. Move how you move when you are going about your life with confidence and ease. Stand with your hands on your hips if that’s right for you (like pre-lift).
Re-inforce these postures throughout the day and then top them up with one of the power poses which is most authentically you pre-race or event. It may seem odd, but you actually do these poses anyway when you gain success, so why not consciously do them to set yourself up for success.
As always, I’d love to hear if these blogs are helping you and any other topics which you want me to write about.
Thanks for reading, Em.
p.s Tag me in on your power posing pics!