- Sara James Alexander Teacher
5 Things You don't know you didn't know about posture
So body language.... I can see you standing in the bathroom mirror doing the superman pose just like Amy Cuddy talks about in her infamous ted talk. Your going to ace this job interview, your going to own the room, your going to land that million dollar account. It's all about, how do you use body language to achieve some kind of impossible goal, have some kind of outcome you never dreamed or have potential partners find you irresistible. The idea is that you change your posture and a whole different you will emerge shiny and new unfazed by the stench of your old un-confident, imperfect self.
If it works for you like that, that's great and this article isn't for you, but deep down if you are still feeling like maybe it's all a facade and really your still you no matter what your outer fleshy envelope is doing then by all means read on wile I talk about a few things regarding WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT POSTURE AND BODY LANGUAGE..... A first in a series of articles regarding Body Language, Posture, Ego and Self.
#1 Bad Posture Starts Long Before You Imagine It Does.
The first thing you want to do when you look at your shlumpy shoulders in the mirror is give yourself a break, As small children we have perfect mind body coordination until it gets corrupted by an environment that's not actually natural - for instance shoes and potty training may be the biggest culprits in poor postural habits. There is scientific evidence that's been done to suggest that a child's walking gate changes minutes after he or she puts on shoes. It's also been discovered that squatting to do ones business is ultimately much healthier and more natural. In America we have toilets that are several inches higher than in Other countries, when you don't squat you loose mobility at a faster rate than if you do squat on a regular basis. Additionally, exercise becomes a competition with certain kids being deemed athletic and others not so much so. This combined with too much sugar leads to poor body confidence and kids and then adults with sedentary life styles. when it comes to our bodies and walking with confidence, ease and poise we are not exactly set up for success in childhood.
#2 It's actually really hard to read a persons body language because for the most part your just looking at bad habits.
I'm sure there are people out there who can read body language and tell what people are thinking, what kind of job they have and the car they drive, the question I would have is why don't they just ask? It might be better to just try and establish rapport? Also back to the corrupt posture thing, well, most of what you are seeing when you look at a person is tension, stress and strain because constant chronic tension is something we get stuck in and it can be difficult to find a means to get out of the slump, because for every second or two you go to do something about it, there are five phone calls on your cell phone you have to respond to, or a boss demanding you get it done now or a presentation you have to get together. We are in a constant state of doing wile our bodies are largely forgotten until they start to hurt.
#3 Even though your reaction is to do something, the secret to good posture is non doing.
This is a hard one to get your head around so don't try too hard and try to inhibit doing anything. Over the last 20 years of practicing the Alexander Technique, I've really struggled with this one because I'm a big dooer and I like to get things done, but the way I can describe this is next time you get a blip on your cell phone telling you that you have a facebook like - notice how your neck gets tight in anticipation your shoulders go up to your ears and you stop breathing wile you reach for your phone. That may not be your reaction but notice where your body tenses at the moment you are feeling the impulse to do something be it reach for the phone or tell a co worker some important news, see if you can pause just for like five seconds even and take a breath before you precede - and if you can precede with a bit more calm and presence of mind then you have taken the first step toward learning about non doing.
#4 your posture not only impacts what people think about you it impacts how you think about the world.
This is from another scientific study says that how we move can impact how we feel about the world around us, it's easier to like someone if you stand up and look them in the eye and establish trust. So it's not just that how you are standing talking and walking is impacting how others feel about you, your posture is also impacting how you feel about them. If you are giving a presentation and you notice your shoulders are slumped and you are feeling like everyone is out to get you see if you can take a moment and let your feet connect to the ground as you send you head up and away and notice if it doesn't make you feel better about the people around you.
#5 Remember to Breath
I know there are a lot of articles out there about mindfulness breathing and meditation, and it's great to do that, One quick easy way to change your posture, have more presence of mind and feel more confident is to just exhale all the way out until you feel you have to breath in, this starts a natural breath rhythm. I know this is counter to what a lot of people will tell you to do, most people tell you to artificially breath in, this is actually counter productive as it's artificial and can actually trigger more stress because you are straining to breath in artificially. This is what I call Popie Breath (yeah you know.. the cartoon) if you watch him he over extends everything,