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How Body Language Affects Your Confidence

There is an article I felt I might pass along over here at PsyBlog about postures that affect the mind, body, and performance, and it's quite a fascinating read.  For instance, here is #9:

9. Mimic to empathise:

If you want to get inside someone’s head, you can try copying their behaviour. Those who are good at empathising do it automatically: copying accent, posture, expressions and so on. If you can copy it, you will feel it yourself and then you’ll get a hint of what others are feeling. It’s what actors have known for years: mimicry is a great way of simulating others’ emotional states.
— Jeremy Dean, PsyBlog Author

Pretty nifty to know for anyone looking to boost their acting chops.


Body language is an oft-forgotten part of a performance, not because actors don't know to use their bodies, but because they underestimate the extent to which they can use body language to add texture and authenticity to a scene. 

Marlon Brando was famous for taking radical steps to adding body language to a scene, whether by revolutionizing the idea of a central character's body language as part of the performance with his famous swagger in Streetcar Named Desire, to throwing a cat into the scene last minute for his role as the Godfather.

Body language is one of the most fundamental tools we have in our canon to affect the way other people view us.  What's a little more interesting, however, is that it can also radically affect the way we view ourselves.  The author points to how tensing up can help with willpower, how crossing our arms helps us to solve puzzles, and how gesturing increases our ability to remember things. 

1. Pose for power:

If you want to feel more powerful then adopt a powerful posture. Carney et al. (2010) found that when people stood or sat in powerful poses for one minute—those involving open limbs and expansive gestures—they not only felt more powerful but had increased levels of testosterone flooding their systems. Powerful poses take up more space, so spread your body and open up the arms or legs. When you dominate the space, your mind gets the message.
— Jeremy Dean, PsyBlog

What does your body say about you?  Are you slouching right now?  Have you ever been in a situation where somebody comments on your posture, and you immediately adjust, suddenly self-conscious?  Your eye contact is a radically important measure of your confidence, especially if you're a man.   In fact, the cumulative effect that body language has on your identity and faith in yourself goes a long way toward helping to showcase who you are deep down.  If you're like me and you're constantly looking for ways to improve your confidence, try working from the other direction by changing up how you carry yourself.  Try smiling a little bit more often, tense up your core when you're feeling overwhelmed, and in particular use your hands when you talk.