Welcome to this series about Confidence. Enjoy the precepts and principles. Enjoy the many benefits of good confidence.
You probably heard it from your parents too many times to remember. If you have spent any time in the military, countless instructors and higher ranking individuals drove this point home again and again. Self-help books and sales managers are famous for preaching it as well. What are we talking about?
The fact that good posture both promotes and reflects self-confidence and self-assurance.
If you naturally rebelled against your parents in this regard, science has some bad news for you. Your parents were right. The many times you were told to “Sit up straight!”, “Pull your shoulders back!” and “Stop slouching!” were more than mere opportunities for your mom and dad to lord their parental powers over you.
Researchers at Columbia, Harvard and other respected institutions of higher learning have shown a direct link between bad posture and diminished brain functionality. Whatever your parents’ motivation, when they were concerned about your posture they were unconsciously instilling behavior that leads to better mental health and more positive emotions.
Slumping, Slouching, Sitting Upright and the Mental/Emotional Relationship
Researchers in 2003 at Ohio State University wondered if sitting up straight was better than slouching or slumping as far as your mental functioning is concerned. Their extensive studies show that when you sit up straight, as opposed to bent or slumped over, you recall more positive memories and think more positively.
The Columbia and Harvard researchers mentioned earlier recommend “power poses” that include standing tall, shoulders thrown back, chest thrust forward and chin up, for feelings of self-confidence and self-assured decision-making. This goes back to your ancient ancestors. Standing in this way, with hands confidently placed on the hips and staring at an enemy, instilled a sense of invincibility in the posing individual, and sparked ideas of defeat in the mind of a combatant or foe.
Social psychologists at UC Berkeley in 2010 discovered something amazing about a chemical connection to striking power poses. In men and women, regardless of the age or level of confidence, higher levels of testosterone were released when a confident, powerful pose was adopted. Also, lower than usual levels of cortisol, known as the “stress hormone”, are present.
This happens unconsciously and nearly instantaneously. When your back is straight and your shoulders are back, whether sitting or standing, your respiratory system works properly. This ensures high levels of oxygen in your blood flow, which boosts your energy and helps you feel confident in your decisions and attitudes.
For a simple and nearly immediate boost in self-confidence and self-belief, sit up straight. You will make your parents proud, while also enjoying a healthy level of self-esteem.
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Nick Thorne is the founder of NicksDigitalSolutions Limited a company that specialises in Education, Training and Writing. He lives in Levin, New Zealand