Victoria Gimeno. Director Institutional Relations. IE University
8 June 2016
Our face or posture not only reflect what we’re feeling inside, but can also be used to change how we feel. That’s why by changing your body posture, you can change your emotions and your identity.
We all know the expression, “the face is the mirror of the soul”, but the body also reveals a great deal about what’s going on inside our heads. Our feelings are reflected in our gestures, in how we move, in our posture. If we see somebody with their shoulders slumped and their head down, we know that they are sad or feel burdened. Those WhatsApps with their emojis expressing happiness, pain, joy, fear, laughter, are a big help!
In the same way that our feelings affect our posture unconsciously, revealing our concerns, our posture and gestures can also change our feelings.
We’ve said many times on this blog that language is a powerful tool, as is our body language, because it reveals so much about us, about our feelings, about how and what we are thinking.
Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist and associate professor at Harvard, carried out an experiment showing how body posture affects feelings and even our bodies’ hormonal levels, suggesting that if you adopt a posture that reflects power, by holding your head high and keeping your shoulders back, your thinking will reflect that feeling of power. If you smile, you change your feelings. If you frown, the same applies.
Sometimes in coaching sessions I move people around from one place to another, I get them to laugh and to talk about themselves positively, to adopt a confident posture, and I teach them how to change their feeling of empowerment through body movement. Another simple exercise I recommend is to walk the last few blocks to work, taking steady, strong strides, breathing deeply, confidently, and adopting an expression that suggests self-assurance. And when my clients have to make a presentation, I ask them to open their arms and to express through their body language their sense of self-confidence.
Remember, if you change your body, you can change your feelings and your identity.