Whether we’re conscious of it or not, we draw much from how a person stands and moves. Known, as non-verbal communication, our posture and mannerisms say more about us and what’s on our minds than we think. Poker players watch their opponents for clues of what they’re up against – hence the term ‘poker-faced’. Experience players have learnt not to let their emotions show when they see what’s in their hand.
Rounded or tight shoulders, clenched or fidgety hands, or a slumped or ram-rod straight spine can speak volumes about your current state of mind, or even reveal details of your past. Think about the last time you bought a car. You meet a perfect stranger and within seconds you come to the conclusion whether you can trust the sales person or whether you walk away. If asked, could you pinpoint exactly what influenced your judgement?
Let’s look at someone with a head-forward posture and bad slump – think of Scrooge seeing as it’s that time of year. From a physical point of view it’s not good for his spine. But from a social perspective, he would tend to be viewed as unhealthy, maybe a little untrustworthy, and that he doesn’t take good care of himself. What about the opposite? It’s no surprise that terms used to describe reliable people such as ‘upright pillar of society’ relate to posture.
So what can you do to improve your image? The last thing you should do is stiffen your body and put on your poker-face as this would portray a ‘fake’ you – not to mention lead to aching muscles. Plus you don’t want to control your movement to the point you become robotic!
Far better to think of an occasion when you were nothing short of awesome and let that memory energise your muscles. You will find you’ll relax and stand taller, your shoulders broaden, and better still, the feedback from the sensation will actually start to make you feel awesome. You can help with this process by imagining a thread attached to the top of your head pulling you up as you release the tension from your neck and shoulders. All it takes is a moment to stop, take a breath, and let the good thoughts filter into your body.
I’ll finish with two more sayings. The first, popular with nutritionists, ‘you are what you eat’ can be turned into ‘you are what you think’ – so think positive.
And to finish, here’s one of my favourites as it works well on a number of levels - ‘no one stands taller than one who stands corrected.'