Can Body Language Really Boost Confidence?

By Clare Burgess - Hypnotherapist -

body language pose copy

Feeling confident makes us feel good, doesn’t it? Confidence helps us to achieve what we want and feel good about ourselves which helps our overall wellbeing.  Here are some thoughts on how your confidence is physiological as well as in your mind.

The mind and body are linked and so it is probably no surprise that your posture and body language express how you are feeling. We pick up unconsciously on how people are by their nonverbal communications from their body. You only have to watch actors at work to see how a slight change in posture can dramatically change how you see them.

Did you know that this nonverbal communication of your body language and posture changes how you feel and think about yourself?

Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy explains how practicing certain ‘power poses’ or positions for a few minutes can change how you are feeling. You can hear about her research in her Ted Talk called ‘Your body language shapes who you are’.

“Amy Cuddy’s research on body language reveals that we can change other people’s perceptions — and even our own body chemistry — simply by changing body positions.”

There was also a recent research project at the San Francisco State University which reportedly had 110 college students walk in a ‘slouched’ way or skip down a hall. The students who slouched reported lower energy and mood than those who skipped.

Learning to embody confidence

I often use Neuro Linguistic Programming techniques with my clients to guide them to embody the emotional state they’d like such as confidence. Practicing embodying the state you want helps build a connection in your unconscious mind of how you’d like to be. It’s also a great tool to use in the moment to help change the way you feel.

So for example, if someone wants more confidence when speaking in front of an audience, as part of our work together, I might guide them through similar steps to the exercise below. Have a go yourself, and you might be able to notice that embodying how you want to feel really helps elicit that emotional state:

  1. Think about the state you’d like to have and what you would need to feel the way you want to be in that moment. For example: confidence, calm, relaxation
  2. Stand with your eyes closed and remember a time when you felt one of these states. Try to think of time when you felt this the most eg: the time you were most confident. So that if you were to score out of 10 it would be over 8 for how confident you were. Now use your breathing and posture and whole body, recreate your stance and body language whilst remembering yourself being that way. Do this for each resource state you wish to elicit
  3. Now imagine someone you know who exhibits this type of state. Still with your eyes closed and using the power of your imagination, pretend you were standing like them. Embody how they hold themselves or use their body
  4. Now imagine yourself being this way in a future event. Stand or breathe how you’d like to be in that future event

Practice this as often as you want or as Cuddy says: ‘Fake it until you become it”.

To read more about Clare click here.

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