In 2012, social psychologist Amy Cuddy gave a Ted Talk about how your body language can affect the way you feel in the moment and even shape who you are in the long run. She introduced the concept of “power posing,” which basically just means changing your posture to make yourself appear more dominant, and ultimately feel more confident. Cuddy’s studies found that when people took on high-power poses for as little as two minutes, their testosterone levels increased and their stress hormones decreased. When people demonstrated low-power poses, on the other hand, it had the opposite effect. We all want to feel confident in every aspect of our lives, so to help you get there, here are four power poses you can use when you need that boost.
“The Wonder Woman”
This is one of the most natural poses, so it’s probably the easiest to go back to any time you need to feel more powerful but don’t want to draw too much attention to yourself. Take a wide stance with your legs and put your hands on your hips, “Wonder Woman”-style. For the maximum confidence boost, tilt your chin up slightly while doing it. There’s no doubt this pose will make you look and feel like a superhero.
This pose got its name from the 44th president of the United States, because he was often seen leaning back in his chair with his feet on his desk. This is one example of how high-power poses usually require you to spread out and take up more space than you normally would. Of all your options, though, you can bet this is the one with the most laid back feel, quite literally. Kick your feet up and put your hands behind your head once in a while and you may start to realize where the president’s confidence came from.
If you’re a House of Cards fan, this one might remind you of the iconic Frank Underwood pose when he first steps into the Oval Office after becoming president. If not, just believe us when we say this pose exudes power. (Also, you should seriously start watching House of Cards immediately after finishing this article.) This pose requires you to lean forward on the desk or table in front of you with your arms spread wide and your hands resting on the table. Cuddy suggests that this might be the most useful for closing a deal at the end of a presentation.
Last, but not least, is The Performer. This is one of the most powerful poses, but definitely one of the weirdest to try out in public (at least if you’re trying to look like you’re just acting natural, anyway). Keep your legs in a wide stance and put your arms up above your head in a V shape. You might have noticed, but this pose mimics what many athletes do while celebrating after they’ve made a good play or won a game. If you don’t feel comfortable busting this one out in the middle of the office, do it in the bathroom or if you’re ever in the elevator alone. Even that quick little “performance,” if you will, while you’re alone will help give you a confidence boost that stretches well into the rest of your day.