How are you holding your body this very moment: hunched at your desk or on the couch? Slouched at a coffeehouse or on the train?
We are the loudest when we aren’t saying a word, as our bodies communicate how we see ourselves and the world. This month turn up your prowess in your physical being. “When we feel powerful, we stretch out. We lift our chins and pull our shoulders back. We puff up our chests. Spread our feet. Raise our arms,” shares social psychologist Amy Cuddy in her new book, Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges (Little, Brown and Co.).
Cuddy’s TED talk on how body language shapes identity has received more than 31 million views. “Women feel chronically less powerful than men…,” she says in the video. “Our nonverbals govern how other people think and feel about us…. When you pretend to be powerful, you are more likely to actually feel powerful.”
Increase Success in Seconds
For one week, using Wunderlist or your digital calendar, add a daily reminder to check your posture and strike an uplifting position. Two minutes of a power pose can lessen stress and increase testosterone.
Hold Your Power
Even how we place our fingers and hands can illustrate confidence. If you find yourself anxious—in a meeting, for example—place your fingertips together in front of you and push your hands apart. “Steepling communicates that we are one with our thoughts; we are not wavering…,” says former FBI agent and body language expert Joe Navarro, according to Cuddy, in the book.
Be a Superhero
Throwback Thursday reveals many of us have been popping one hand on a hip since childhood. Put your other hand on your hip, straighten your back and stand with your feet a little wider than hip width apart. Pin up a picture of your Wonder Woman stance (above) to remind yourself of your strength.
Prep like an Olympian
Gold medalist and past ESSENCE cover star Gabby Douglas is in training to head to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. She starts each routine with her arms in a V above her head—a power move used by many athletes. To get ready for a crazy call, throw your hands in the air to signal victory to your body.
Post a picture of yourself doing your favorite power pose on social media—using the hashtag #ESSENCEnoted.
This article originally appeared in ESSENCE magazine. For more, pick up a copy of our April issue, on newsstands now!