Does posture affect confidence?
Yes! Posture can literally change your mindset. In a study by Ohio State University, researchers invited two groups of people:
- One group remained hunched, while the other was instructed to maintain a confident, relaxed posture.
- Then, the researchers asked the participants which traits they were more likely to identify with.
People who were hunched over identified more with sad and melancholic traits, while the relaxed and confident group identified more with positive traits.
This study suggests that when we use a confident, relaxed posture, we actually feel more confident!
Let’s take a deep dive with posture expert and author Aaron Alexander. His latest book, The Align Method: A Modern Movement Guide for a Stronger Body, Sharper Mind, and Stress-Proof Life, helps people create a strong postural foundation to improve their lives.
The #1 Posture Myth (Do This Instead!)
One of the first things people do when they want to fix their posture is to stand up straighter.
But this can be bad:
- If you puff up your chest and shoulders, this can lead to greater lower back stress
- The lower body is often ignored while focusing on the upper body, causing a bad foundation
Standing up straighter is often a myth for better posture. Instead, what you’ll want to do is focus from the ground up.
Create true, meaningful confidence by starting at the feet.
The 5-Minute Posture Fix
Stand up and try these 3 simple steps.
- Allow your feet to spread. Make a few quick jumps and notice where you place your feet naturally. Is it too narrow or wide? Aim for shoulder length or something comfortable for you.
- Stand firmly. If your posture is rock-solid, you should be able to have someone grip your shoulders with both hands and push down without you toppling over. Your foundation may feel weak if you’re leaning too far back or your feet aren’t wide enough.
- Breathe in deeply. Breathe slowly and deeply through your diaphragm—studies show that diaphragm breathing can lower cortisol levels and reduce stress. You may also notice you feel more “stable” by breathing deeply.
Once you’ve found your grounding, congrats! You’re now in a relaxed, confident, and powerful posture.
How to Make Your Posture More Confident
Once you’ve attained your ideal posture with your feet, diving straight back into bad habits might bring you back to a bad posture.
Let’s work on our upper torso to have good posture and keep it. Try this exercise:
- Grab a resistance band. Find a light resistance band that can support your weight if you lean your body weight into it, but not too light that you’ll fall over or too heavy that it’s stiff.
- Attach the band to a hook or door. Make sure the end of it is secure, it’s at torso-to-shoulder height, and you’ve got most of the resistance band length to play with.
- Place the band over one of your shoulders.
- Step forward and lean into the band. This will create tension from your shoulder going down, which is the opposite of the puffed chest posture.
- Move your shoulder down so that it is away from your ears.
- Reach your hand back and rotate it. The palm of your hand should face away from your body.
- Turn your face to the right. You might feel a strong stretch here—this stretch is training your body to keep that confident and relaxed posture.
Try this stretch on both sides, and practice it daily if you can!
For more tips on achieving that confident-looking posture, check out Aaron Alexander’s The Align Method or read up on open body language cues.