What’s so amazing about posture? Where do I start? It affects your mood and your clarity of thought… it also is an extremely powerful part of body language, so it affects the way everyone around you perceives you.
If you are having one of those days where your outlook, your whole attitude, is negative, you can shatter that negativity. If you are having one of those days when you have trouble focusing mentally, you can brush away the blurriness. If you have a meeting with an important client, and you’re nervous, you can shake the nerves and never let him see you sweat. You can do all of this through the power of posture.
You have heard it said for years how important body language is in how others perceive you, and probably have an intuitive understanding of its importance in anyway. But did you know that you subconsciously listen to your own body language?
Take note of your posture right now… what mood or feeling does it reflect? When you stand with your arms crossed, in a defensive posture, you are not only conveying that defensiveness to others, you are conveying it to your subconscious, which then reinforces those feelings. If, on the other hand, you are sitting back, feet kicked out in front of you, with a big smile on your face, you are telling your subconscious to reinforce THOSE feelings.
It doesn’t even matter if you are feeling completely the opposite way in your conscious mind, except in that it becomes harder to maintain the posture of the feeling that you DO want. You can alter your mood from sad to happy, angry to calm, nervous to calm, distracted to focused, or any other change you’d like… including going from a positive mood to a negative one, though there generally isn’t much call for that.
Being aware of your posture allows you to much more easily exert your will over your emotions than trying to wrestle with them directly. All you have to do is drop the posture, the body language, or the emotion that you want to weaken or cast out, and adopt the posture of the emotion that you want to strengthen or create.
So that leads to the question: How do you know what to do, how to position your body, to get the mood you want? It’s really not that hard… first of all you’ll have a natural feel for the posture of most emotions. Past that, however, you can use your imagination to figure it out: You can either imagine yourself in a situation that would make you feel that mood (which, if you keep at it long enough, will actually push you toward that mood, too), or you can imagine someone you know of who projects the attitude you want. Now look, with your mind’s eye, at the posture that whomever you are imagining has… and put your body in that same posture. Simple, right?
Now comes the hard part… the mood/attitude change doesn’t happen immediately. You have to maintain your awareness, and your attention, on your posture. You have to use your will to force your body into a posture other than the one it naturally wants to adopt based on what you’re currently feeling, rather than on you want to feel.
You’ll have to maintain this focus for a few minutes. Fortunately, however, it gets easier and easier, because your mood moves along a scale, not in an absolute switch. That means that even though you may not actually be feeling the way you want to yet, you’ll be getting closer and closer, making it less of a struggle to maintain that posture.
If you can keep your posture suitable for the mood you want, without slacking off, it should take less than five minutes for you to make a major change, from one end of the spectrum to at least a good ways toward the other end. Minor changes can sometimes be accomplished in 30 seconds. Once you’ve made the change, just maintain your awareness of your posture enough to keep from sliding back to another posture, and you will maintain the mood you want, as well.
Take note of your posture again now… has it changed? It often will just because you are made aware of it… you will consciously change your posture to remove the elements that you know signify things that you don’t want to feel, or at least don’t want to show.
So… be aware of your posture, and choose to have it reflect the emotion, attitude, or mood that you want to feel.