Your body language could be your worst enemy when it comes to getting your way in life. Get ahead by becoming fluent in the ancient language we all unconsciously speak.
Body language and communication have been studied for years by psychologists, sociologists and linguists alike, and it’s not an uncommon statistic to hear that 80% of all communication is nonverbal. To add to this, a recent and extensive study by the MIT Media Lab confirmed that they could predict the outcome of a negotiation at an impressive 87% accuracy by simply analyzing the participants’ body language without listening to a single spoken word*.
*Alex (Sandy) Pentland, Honest Signals – How They Shape Our World (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008).
Sounds a little like magic, right? But it’s quite the contrary. Much of our communication is contextual, and body language carries tremendous weight in what we’re conveying to the people around us. Consider this example: Have you ever received a text message from a friend, coworker, or acquaintance and weren’t quite sure what they meant? Are they annoyed? Candid? Pleased? A few words successfully strung together can convey basic meaning, but what’s missing from that interaction is tonal cues, facial expression, and body language.
Flashback to a few thousand years when spoken language wasn’t developed yet, our ancestors relied solely on nonverbal modes of communication to interact with one another. Though the more recent language-processing abilities we’ve developed over time have improved the ease and quality of communication exponentially, the ability to convey and derive meaning through nonverbal cues are hardwired into our brains and runs much deeper than superficially subscribed meaning to sound. What this means for us is that regardless of how careful we are with the words we choose to speak, we could be revealing a lot more about ourselves through the way we sit, stand, and carry ourselves.
Learning the New Old Language
Where it gets interesting is when we look at the reverse of this; our body positioning and posture can also affect our mental state. The same way visualization works to develop certain emotions, it is possible to reverse-engineer desired corresponding emotions through essentially “faking it till you make it”. One study conducted by Psychologists from Harvard and Columbia actually found that subjects who assumed strong, confident posture experienced a surge of hormones that made them feel and seem more confident and powerful, while subjects who were coached to assume submissive posture with shoulders rolled in, head hanging and spine hunched experienced the opposite biochemical reaction.*
*D.R. Carney, A. J. C. Cuddy, and A. J. Yap, “Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance”, Psychological science OnlineFirst, September 21, 2010, http://www.people.hbs.edu/acuddy/in%20press,%20carney,%20cuddy,%20&%20yap,%20psych%20science.pdf
This presents us with a unique opportunity to leverage this cycle of positive and confident emotions through adapting our body posture. Displaying confident posture can help you feel confident; this will help you look more confident; and others around you will view you as a strong, confident person.
So what is confident posture? And how do I get in it?
To practice posture that emanate gravitas, stand up straight with your head and chin up, shoulders back, and feet shoulder width apart to take on a wide stance. Visualize taking up as much space as you can without feeling unnatural or posed. Soon enough, you’ll start to feel as strong and powerful as you look.
Getting in the right posture is only half the battle – the real challenge is holding it throughout the day. With all that goes on around us, it’s almost impossible to be constantly conscious of your posture and correcting bad habits without proper cueing and help. You can set reminders or ask others to monitor your posture for you, but these are hardly long-term solutions.
A Better Solution
At Lumo, we believe that a change in your posture is a change in your habits. To help with this, we developed Lumo Lift: a wearable sensor that tracks your posture and gently alerts you when you begin to slouch to help you practice the mindfulness you need to maintain great, confident posture all day long.
Start your positive habit change today with Lumo Lift
Lumo Lift is a small lightweight wearable that tracks and coaches you on your posture, as well as tracks daily activity, such as steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned. Compatible with iOS/iPhone, Windows desktop and select Android devices. Free shipping, 30-day money back guarantee and 1 year limited warranty.
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