I was backstage, about to give a presentation, and as each new person sat down my anxiety increased while my confidence plummeted.
I was having a conversation with myself that went something like this: I should have prepared more. Do I even know what I'm talking about? Someone’s going to ask a question I don't know how to answer. I should have worn a cuter outfit. I wish I was 10 pounds thinner. I wish Iooked like her. I wish I hadn’t agreed to this.
In the midst of a potentially stressful situation, we often add momentum to the anxiety by focusing on things we can’t control or change in the moment. As a result, our confidence takes a major hit.
The good news: when you’re feeling less-than-stellar, making a few simple physical changes can quickly help you feel better. And posture is all it takes as it plays a critical but oft-overlooked role in the amount you feel and emanate.
Use the three simple postural adjustments below to boost your confidence in seconds!
1. Roll your shoulders back and down.
Most of our life happens in front of us (we drive, we type, we wash dishes, we cut veggies). As a result, our upper bodies starts to hunch forward if we're not mindful, and we practice posture that screams "withdrawn," instead of "open," "receptive" and "confident."
The quick fix: Instead of letting your chest cave and shoulders come forward, see if you can pull your shoulders back so they’re right under your ears. Think about your shoulder blades pulling together, toward your spine. Let the tops of your shoulders drop away from your ears, toward your hips.
With this adjustment in place, you’re telling the world, “I’m confident enough to be present with you and myself. My heart is open. I give and receive with strength and kindness.”
2. Zip up.
Do this now: let your belly button pop out and allow your torso to sink down into your hips.
Did you notice what happened to your stomach? Not necessarily what you want to show off? But, even more importantly, not the posture you want to hold for increased feelings of confidence and empowerment.
The quick fix: Pretend you’re zipping up a tight pair of jeans. Pull your belly button in toward your spine, and up toward your ribcage. It should feel as though your torso is lifting up, away from your hips.
With this adjustment, you regain personal power immediately and tap into your strength. You are also connecting with your core, the force that drives all physical movement. Why wouldn't you want to feel power there?
3. Change your foot and knee position.
Whether they're sitting or standing, most people turn their feet out, allowing their knees to fall away from the midline. Not only does this create the illusion of wider hips, it can also cause you to feel more scattered, off-balance and eventually lead to chronic joint pain.
The quick fix: Make sure your feet are hip-width apart, toes pointing straight forward. Then, bring your knees right over your ankles instead of letting them fall away from your midline. Gently pushing the big toe sides of your feet into the ground is one simple way to make sure your knees are in the proper position.
This adjustment gives off vibes of mindfulness, engagement and grounded-ness.
Not only will all of these adjustments help you feel more confident and help alleviate joint pain caused by poor posture, they’ll also help you feel more comfortable in your clothes and more attractive in photos. Though they seem incredibly simple, chances are these three tweaks will correct dysfunctional postural issues you probably didn't even know you had.
Whenever you notice you're out of alignment (or need a quick boost in confidence), utilizing these tips will, among other things, decrease pain in your back, hips, neck, and shoulders, reduce headaches and strengthen your core. It takes practice to train your body towards more functional posture, but it’s definitely worth it!