Change Your Posture, Change Your Life

Did you know that you can change your entire attitude and mood just by altering your posture? Body language not only impacts those outside of us, it can also make positive changes inside of us.

It’s true. If you’re feeling down in the dumps, take a moment to sit up straight, hold your shoulders back, and hold your head high. You’ll immediately feel better. Go ahead—try it the next time you’re depressed and see if it doesn’t help you break out of the funk.

You can also make yourself feel more confident by assuming a “power pose.” Suppose you have a job interview or important meeting coming up and you’re feeling a little unsure of yourself.

Take a moment to stand up tall with your hands on your hips, your head tilted upward, and your legs slightly apart like you just scaled a huge mountain.

Or, as an alternative, try a “victory pose” with both fists high in the air over your head like you just won a boxing match (or any other sport of your choosing). 

These poses work even better if you can stand in front of a mirror where you can actually see your facial expressions and body language. It’s almost magic.

You’ll immediately feel more confident and prepared for your social interaction, whether it’s an interview, a sales presentation, or a networking event where you’ll be meeting new people.

Psychologist and author Amy Cuddy gave an excellent TED Talk a few years ago about posture and body language. Take a moment to check out either the full version or the quick and dirty condensed version.

Consistently making a few small changes at the right time can dramatically improve your life. Go on—give it a try.

Paint Your Face How You Want to Feel

Have you ever heard the saying, “Fake it till you make it”?

Simply put, it refers to acting a certain way until you actually begin to feel that way. Motivational speakers often explain the power of this life hack to crowds of business or sales professionals.

However, you can use it in your everyday life as well. If you want to feel more confident when you’re at a party or get-together, for example, just act like you are a confident, relaxed person. Walk into the room with your head held high and a walk that says you know what you want out of life.

One of the most important parts of this technique is your facial expression.

Did you know that you can actually trick your mind into thinking you feel a certain way? Normally, we look at things the other way around—whatever emotion we feel or think about (joy, sadness, anger, etc.) is consequently displayed on our face (using our eyes and mouth).

But, the opposite is also true. If we put a big smile on our face, we can’t help but feel better. That’s right, smile really big and see if you don’t feel happier. You can actually change your mood instantly just by changing your facial expression.

That’s what I like to call “Paint Your Face How You Want to Feel,” or PYFHYWTF. If you want to feel joyful, put a big grin on your face. If you want to feel calm and relaxed, smile serenely and narrow your eyes a bit like you’re basking in the breeze on a warm beach and almost ready to doze off.

The effect is even more powerful if you do this while looking in a mirror.

There is an abundance of science behind why smiling makes us feel better. When our smile muscles contract to form a smile, they fire a signal back to the brain to stimulate the production of endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin that make us feel happier.

And when we’re happier, we smile more. It’s a positive reward cycle that can be set into motion just by smiling.

Imagine yourself as being happy and the feelings will follow.

Psychology Today has several online articles about the positive aspects of smiling—here and here are just two of them. The British Council even recommends holding a pencil between our teeth to exercise our smile muscles.

Not that you’d necessarily ever want to feel angry, but if you did, you could make yourself feel that emotion just by creating and angry expression.

That’s why when something small bothers you and you start to show it on your face, the emotions involved can quickly escalate. Before you know it, you’re full of rage over something insignificant.

You have much more power over your emotions than you might have realized.

Go on, give it a try. Stand in front of a mirror and give yourself your best smile and see what happens.