What do you do before an audition, interview or performance?
One habit many people have is to get on their phones.
If this is your habit, don’t let the phone trigger you into a slumped, shrunken posture.
“Your physical posture sculpts your psychological posture…the next time you reach for your phone, remember that it induces slouching, and slouching changes your mood, your memory and even your behavior.” - via Amy Cuddy
Let's look at challenges and solutions to help you stay expansive.
Challenge: I'm not breathing well!
Most of us hold our arms very close to our torsos when we’re on the phone. This tightens our back muscles and can make our breath shallow. The tightness transfers into your walk, the way you sit, and the way you stand. And, by shrinking yourself, you change your biochemistry to decrease your confidence.
Solution: allow space between your arms and torso - don’t pull your arms into your torso.
We often sit, stand and move in two ways:
If you’re slumping into a C-shape, then that cuts off your breath. Less breath = more anxiety.
This is when we adopt a military-like uprightness. It’s the opposite of a C-shape, we push the rib cage forward and it is often accompanied by arching the lower back. This is a deceptive posture because it can feel like we’re taller, but in reality we’re shortening our spines by arching the thoracic spine (the part of the spine where the ribs attach) forward.
Solution: Get out of the c-shape or military posture
Stretch your arms overhead whether you’re sitting or standing. If you’re standing notice the contact of your feet on the ground and don’t go back on your heels or lock your knees. If you’re sitting, notice your sits bones on the chair.
Go into the victory pose (see the image above) and / or a pose like Wonder Woman - (hands on hips) and do this for two minutes.
Why Two Minutes?
Before you go into a high stakes situation, take two minutes to do power poses. Amy Cuddy, a researcher from Harvard, found that when people do power poses for two minutes, the poses lead to hormonal changes (an increase in testosterone and a decrease in cortisol) that convey confidence and power to one’s own brain and also to the people around him or her.
I can’t stretch right now!
Let’s say you can’t stretch because it’s inappropriate - you’re in a meeting surrounded by coworkers or you're on stage - and you feel your confidence dwindling.
Solution: If you’re sitting, don’t cross your legs, remember your width from shoulder to shoulder, and left sit bone to right sit bone, your long spine from tailbone all the way up to the top joint of your spine. Enjoy your full stature and allow your jaw to be free and easy.
Shrinking is a very very common problem, but it can be overcome with awareness. Stay present, listen, look, remember your directions you’ve learned with me, and if a situation compromises your confidence, use the tips above to refresh it.