Power poses to increase confidence and boost self-esteem

Featured image  by Eléa-Marie Gilles.

Featured image by Eléa-Marie Gilles.

Ji-Sung Lee

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith a wide stance and arms promptly positioned at her hips, Beyonce has her signature pose that is shown throughout her posture and achieves a look of assurance.  For the hundreds of notable figures that walk the red carpets, they are bound to have their own trademark stand.  Whether it be crossed arms or hands in the air, body language speaks for people’s personalities and characteristics.  Famous politicians, actors and celebrities such as Joan Smalls and Angelina Jolie are constantly getting criticism for their every move, but oftentimes their go-to stance is just a power pose.
“Power poses are  expansive body postures and are believed to help increase confidence when people take up the maximum amount of physical space possible with their bodies,” Lisa Mitchell, Founder of Power Body Language with her own website at www.powerbodylanguage.com said.  “There are different variations of expansive body postures, or “power poses” as they are referred to sometimes from full on arms and legs as wide as possible, torso open and head up to a “Wonder Woman” type pose with a wide stance and hands on the hips. Any pose that keeps your body open and taking up space would be a variation of power posing.”
These poses often give people an authoritative look: stern, yet professional. Whether it’s a widespread stance or a crouching position, different poses create profiles for people.
“My arms are always crossed and my legs are, too,” sophomore Kelsey Toepke said.  “I think this says that I don’t show emotions in my face, and this pose gives me the option to not have to. Honestly, I do this pose when I am bored or [when] I talk to people [that] I get annoyed with easily.”
For body language expert and leadership coach Susan Constantine, power poses are something she firmly believes in.  Like Toepke, these poses allow composure.  In Constantine’s press release, she states that anyone can boost their confidence with these revolutionary poses.  Constantine thinks these poses can overcome insecurities without saying a word.
“Straighten your back, square your shoulders, hold your head up and gaze just slightly higher than straight ahead,” Constantine said.  “Spread your feet so they’re wider than your shoulders and put your hands on your hips.  If you follow the directions, you just struck a power pose.”
By doing this exercise, Constantine explained one can increase testosterone levels by 25 percent and decrease cortisol levels. Stress is released, confidence is gained, and a sense of focus and purpose is achieved.
Constantine said this power move is scientifically proven to work. She feels it can kick start a day and make any person feel productive.  Not only do power poses give reassurance to an individual, but they also give off  a message to surrounding bodies.
“Body language shows how a person feels about [him or herself],” freshman Greta Scheidt said.  “It can show whether someone is more outgoing or shy.  It shows how they feel about their life in general.”
To Scheidt and Teopke, the power poses and body language that is present in the hallways of RBHS define characteristics of a person.  
“It makes them look more confident or sometimes less approachable because they are more intimidating,” Toepke said.  “This is because they look very self comfortable.”
Similarly, Mitchell believes that first impressions can say a lot about confidence levels and how they are able to function in different situations.
[quote]“Many times, we subconsciously perceive people who present with an expansive body posture to be more confident when we first see them,” Mitchell said.  “They are telling us with their body language that they are open, confident and feel comfortable in their environment and we respond positively to that upon meeting them.”[/quote] Not only can body movement give an interpretation of someone’s personality, but it can also create an illusion to bring confidence where it’s not so present.
“We tend to claim the space that we feel we’ve earned or deserve,” Mitchell said.  “If someone is folded in on themselves and make themselves appear smaller, it can indicate low confidence.  If someone is claiming space and keeping their torso open and head up, it can be a signal of higher confidence and can help someone be seen more as a leader.”
Thankfully, these physical stances can bring about change without much effort.  They don’t take expensive prices or revolutionary adjustments only a tweak in body language.  For Constantine, that is enough to completely change any interaction with humans.
“Power poses can be adopted quite naturally into your body language,” Constantine said.  “[They can be] used throughout the day and during your communications with all those around you.”
Have you ever struck a power pose? Let us known in the comments below.