Our physical state determines our emotional state.

It’s been long thought that we smile because we’re happy, but the reverse can also be true. We can make ourselves happy by smiling. Controlling our emotions on demand is difficult compared to changing our physical position, but since the two are connected, we might as well take the easier approach. It is simpler to alter our posture and physical expressions in order to control our emotions. According to social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, body language has a positive effect on how we feel. She recommends taking two minutes to set ourself up, in advance of our next important event. For example, before going into an interview, where we want to appear confident, try this exercise: Find a private area, get into a power pose, such as, standing strong with the arms in a victory (“V”) shape above the head, or using a “Wonder Woman” stance with fists on hips. Keep this posture for about two minutes. Then feel the emotional energy transfer to match the self-assured posture.

Take action: A good experiment with this tip is to film yourself singing a simple song, such as, “Mary had a little lamb”. Do it twice: First time round, slouch into a slumped position, for two minutes, before singing. The second time, stand in a power pose for the two minutes before you start. Notice how that confidence transcends an upbeat energy to your performance.

Inspired by Amy Cuddy’s book, Presence: Bringing your boldest self to your biggest challenges.

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