In our ongoing series of sharing productivity tips to help improve your work-life equilibrium, read more to discover how improving your posture can impact your chances of success (including social media).

In recent posts, we’ve drilled down into why sitting all day at work is considered the new smoking and even gone so far as showcasing some awesome standing desk ideas.

How Good Posture Boosts Confidence, Wealth and Focus: Sitting = Smoking

Bad Posture Negatively Affects Success

But in addition to the health issues associated with a sedentary lifestyle, did you know that having bad posture can affect your health, mood, productivity, and even success?

How Good Posture Boosts Confidence, Wealth and Focus: Best Posture for the the spine

According to data from the makers of the Lumo Lift (a lightweight wearable solution for your posture), the majority of American workers spend an average of only 36% of their workday in good posture.

Workers are spending as much as 38 minutes per hour slouching, says Monisha Perkash, CEO of Lumo Bodytech. Women’s postures are 20% worse than men.

Sitting or standing with your head up and shoulders back, in what is often called a “powerful pose,” can:

  • Help prevent back pain
  • Improve your physical well-being
  • Make you better at your job (think social media blogging)
  • Reduce stress
  • Increase chances for success

What are Power Poses

Amy Cuddy, a researcher at Harvard University, who studies body language and the impact it has on your hormones classified different body positions as “high power” or “low power” poses. In general, the high power poses are open and relaxed while the low power poses are closed and guarded.

Below is an image showing the different types of power poses.

High-powered Posture - High Power body language is open and relaxed. Low Power body language is closed and guarded.

Striking a powerful, expansive pose changes a person’s hormones and behavior, just as if he or she had real power.

From Fast Company, here are three surprising ways your posture impacts your success:

1 – Good posture improves productivity

The bad news:

  • Poor posture is one of the leading causes of back pain, which is the second reason for visits to the doctor, outnumbered only by the common cold, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
  • Poor posture-related back pain costs American employers over $7 billion a year and is the leading cause of disability for employees under the age of 45.

The good news:

Proper posture contributes to productivity by keeping workers at the office and away from filing disability claims, but is also associated with other health benefits, including:

  • Higher levels of energy
  • Reduced incidences of migraine headaches
  • Lower stress
  • Greater concentration

2 – Good posture improves confidence

The “powerful pose” releases chemicals in the body that can make you more confident.

When you open your chest (push your shoulders back and lift your head), two things happen:

1 – Testosterone, a hormone associated with greater confidence and power, is released.

2 – Cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, is lowered.

One Ohio State University study showed maintaining poor posture for 30 minutes significantly increases stress levels, depression, and fear while holding yourself in an upright posture results in greater confidence and lower stress levels.

3 – Good posture improves communication

“Having poor posture detracts from your leadership.”

Social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, discussed how ‘power poses’ can make you feel more confident in her 2012 TED Talk on posture.

In the animal kingdom, power and dominance is about expanding; making yourself look bigger. When animals feel powerless, they crunch up, making themselves appear small.

When in control:

  • Cuddy says we mimic this behavior, standing tall with our hands on our hips when we’re feeling in control and when we want to exude dominance over someone else.

When in self-doubt:

  • We slouch, sometimes even wrapping our arms around our bodies.

According to Cuddy, changing your body language and engaging in the power pose makes you feel more powerful and confident, allowing you to be a better leader.

Stand Like This for 2 Minutes Per Day

The most well–known and versatile high power posture is nicknamed “The Wonder Woman” pose.

From James Clear’s post on How to Be Confident and Reduce Stress in 2 Minutes Per Day.

The most well–known and versatile high power pose is nicknamed “The Wonder Woman” pose. You just stand tall with your chest out and your hands on your hips. The images above show powerful women like Christine Lagarde and Beyonce in classic “Wonder Woman” pose.

***Just to be clear: despite the nickname and the photos, the impact of these poses is just as relevant to men as it is to women.

Making This Work in Real Life

If you’re aware of it, body language is easy to adjust throughout your day.

But if you’re like most of us, you get busy with other tasks and completely forget to check your body language. Because of this, get into the habit of starting your day in a power pose for 2 or 3 minutes.

Start your day in a Power Pose:

1. Wake up and stand in a high power pose for two minutes.

2. Close your eyes, breathe in deeply for a count of 3, hold for 1, and then breathe out fully for a count of 5.

3. Start your day – relaxed and confident!

If you are unsure how to stand, try these two alternative’s to get into good posture:

How to develop the proper posture - Lightly clasp your hands together behind your back while standing. Power Posture Pose: Stand flat against the wall so that your head, shoulders, arms, and feet all touch the wall.___
Are you standing in a posture of confidence (head up, shoulders back)? Continue to use your power pose and you’ll be well on your way to improving your health, reducing stress and impacting your chances for success.

Did you find this post helpful? Please share pictures of your power pose and comment below!