5 Easy Ways to Boost Body Confidence

The way we talk, sit, and stand carries a lot of meaning. Our unconscious gestures and body posture convey thoughts and feelings even more than the words that we speak. When confronted with conflicting signals (e.g. we speak confidently but our shoulders round and we slouch), others may rely on our non-verbal cues.

What do people see when you walk into a room? Hopefully, they see a confident, successful, happy individual. But if we’re not careful, what we communicate through our body posture, may not be the image we wish to convey.

Our body movements, gestures, alignment (posture), eye contact, skin flushing, breathing, and even perspiration all add to the words that we speak. When I was younger, I blushed easily, and it intensified when people commented on my flushed cheeks. I still blush as an adult, but now I can laugh it off without feeling horribly embarrassed.

The way we talk, sit, and stand carries a lot of meaning. Our unconscious gestures and body posture convey thoughts and feelings even more than the words that we speak. When confronted with conflicting signals (e.g., we speak confidently but our shoulders round and we slouch), others may rely on our non-verbal cues.

Check for inconsistencies. Our gestures should be consistent with what we are saying. For example, if a person speaks as if she is confident but fidgets with her hands when she communicates, she conveys conflicting signals. Unfortunately, the overarching message will usually default to our body language.

Be observant but don’t overanalyze every single gesture. Avoiding eye contact, for example, does not have to mean that a person is lying, insincere or nervous. It is possible someone may look away to recall better or narrate things when not looking directly at you. Trust what your instincts are saying about someone’s non-verbal communication. If you sense that a person is nervous or insincere, you are probably right.

Communication is the foundation of any successful relationship, whether it is personal or professional. If you want to communicate body confidence, power, and authority, practice these 5 communication cues:

1. Maintain assertive body posture.

The key to coming off poised and confident is in the way we hold ourselves. Forward head posture, neck hump, round shoulders and slouching, look less attractive to an observer than an upright, symmetrically aligned body. To stand confidently, stand with your feet approximately four to six inches apart. Distribute your weight equally on both legs, avoid swaying, stand long and tall and face the person/s you are speaking to.

Further Resources: Forward Head Posture – Cause and Cure

When was the last time you met a confident person who slouches? Exactly! When we sit or stand with expansive power postures, we boost our testosterone levels, and testosterone is associated with success and the winner effect.

2. Watch your hands

Placing your hands on your hips is a posture many people use, but this can give off an air of arrogance or impatience, just as crossing your arms can. If you tend to play with your hair, touch your lips, or jiggle coins in your pocket when you’re with a group of people, remember that our body gestures communicate more than the words we say.

3. Don’t cross your legs

Not only is crossing your legs bad for your circulation because it increases the pressure on your veins, but it also makes you take up less space and can look less confident. Don’t spread your legs to China – I recently suggested that a friend of mine sit beside me on the Go Train – and equally, don’t wrap yourself up into a corkscrew either. Imagine what this is doing to your pelvic posture. Yikes!

4. Pay attention to your face

Do you know what your face looks like when you are looking at, listening to, or talking to other people? Some people’s standard facial expressions can be stern, grumpy, angry, and sometimes nice and smiley. I love those people who look like they are smiling, even when they are not.

Mike Budenholzer, coach of the Milwaukee Bucks

This was Mike Budenholzer’s expression through the entire game against the Toronto Raptors this week. Fair enough, the Buck’s did lose (go Raptors!), but even when the Bucks were well ahead, this was his typical appearance. Hilarious! Kind of.

If you have a rather severe standard facial expression, people may avoid you, think you are mad at them, or get defensive around you. These are not good outcomes if you want to connect with people.

What can you do? Please pay attention to the comments your friends and colleagues make when you’re listening to them. Do people often think you’re upset because of your furrowed brow? Do strangers tell you to smile or cheer up? If this is the case, practice smiling in front of your bathroom mirror. And by the way, practicing this will probably make you smile for real. Apparently, it also helps – when listening to others – to keep your lips slightly parted, so you are less likely to interrupt. Try it!

5. Make eye contact

Confident, assertive people can hold a gaze. Too much eye contact may feel intrusive, rude, and dominant. We need to strike a balance. You know that feeling when you are at a business event and speaking to someone who is scanning the room for someone better? It doesn’t feel very good. Don’t be that person! Learn to listen with your eyes. People instinctively like people who listen to them.

The way we hold ourselves is often a reflection of how we feel about ourselves, so being more self-aware and maintaining good body posture (it helps when we practice daily posturecise) improves our confidence. Not only do we look more attractive with upright, symmetrical posture, but studies on posture are beginning to show us that our brains are actually more capable of positivity when the body is in an upright stance.

Important Test For Brain Health – One Leg Balance | Posture Doctor

An important test for brain health is the ability to balance on one leg. Researchers found that the inability to balance on one leg for longer than 20 seconds was associated with vascular disease in the brain, specifically small areas of tissue death (mini strokes) without symptoms.

I made a new friend recently. She, like me, is 50 (something) and a bit of a tomboy, in that she has been active and sporty all her life. Then just over a year ago, she had a car accident and four days later when trying to answer a question at work, nothing came out of her mouth. She just couldn’t find the words. Moments later, she said to her colleague: I think I’ve hurt my brain.

There is a lot of current online buzz about brain health. Listening to CBC Radio this morning they were talking about particulate matter – from city pollution – and the cognitive impact.

Then I happened upon this study that found that an important test for brain health is the ability to balance on one leg. Yasuharu Tabara, Ph.D., and lead study author and associate professor at the Center for Genomic Medicine says that:

Individuals showing poor balance on one leg should receive increased attention, as this may indicate an increased risk for brain disease and cognitive decline.

The study consisted of 841 women and 546 men, with average age of 67. To measure one-leg standing time, participants stood with their eyes open and raised one leg. They  performed the leg raise twice and the better of the two times was used in the study analysis. Small blood vessel disease of the brain was evaluated using magnetic resonance imaging.

The researchers found that the inability to balance on one leg for longer than 20 seconds was associated with vascular disease in the brain, specifically small areas of tissue death (mini strokes) without symptoms. They noted that:

  • 34.5 % of those with more than two lesions (infarctions) had trouble balancing.
  • 16 % of those with one lesion had trouble balancing.
  • 30 % of those with more than two micro bleeds had trouble balancing.
  • 15.3 % of those with one micro bleed had trouble balancing.

“One-leg standing time is a simple measure of postural instability and might be a consequence of the presence of brain abnormalities,” said Tabara.

Although this study is not saying that poor balance causes brain disease and/or cognitive decline, the inability to balance for at least 20 seconds, may suggest brain abnormalities. So poor balance suggests poor brain health, but can improving balance improve our brain health as we age? Now that’s a great research question!

Personally, I like to err on the side of caution with my own health. I’m not comfortable with pill popping and I’m definitely not waiting for signs of aging (other than my quickly greying hair and ever-creasing skin argh). I’ve incorporated balance exercises into my daily posture routine.

Get the balance right


Balance shouldn’t be a concern just for the elderly who are more prone to falls (and the serious complications those falls can cause). Balance training is important for anyone who wants to age well, avoid falls, improve athletic ability, coordination, stamina and overall fitness and health.

If you haven’t thought much about maintaining, or improving your balance, now is a good time to start.

In order to have good balance, we rely on the information given to our brain from three main body systems: our ears, the nerve endings in our muscles, and our eyes (vision).

As children, we develop balance climbing trees (where I spent many hours climbing up, up, up to collect long forgotten bird nests), riding our bikes, walking and running on uneven surfaces and playing sport and games. As adults, we seldom think about balance and rarely practice it.

When was the last time you climbed a jungle gym with your kids, walked along the slim surface of a forest log or tried to balance on one leg whilst brushing your teeth with the opposite hand (I love this one)?

The eyes have it


Your sense of vision is a big part of good balance. Vision works hand in hand with the inner ear to maintain balance. If you move your eyes or take vision out of the equation altogether, it’s harder to balance. You might be surprised how challenging it is to simply stand with your eyes closed. We play around a lot with removing vision during some of the more advanced balance exercises in our posture school.

Better balance means better coordination, POSTURE, core strength, agility and athletic skill. You even burn calories using balance training!

Balance training is good for people of every age, so don’t be afraid to start incorporating balance exercises into your daily workouts. Everyone can benefit from balance training and even better if our ability to balance keeps our brains young, sharp and disease-free!

Try walking off-piste


Lost Your Balance? Try Motor Skills Juggling | Posture Doctor

As children, we develop balance, climbing trees, walking and running on unsteady surfaces, playing sports, games etc. As adults, we seldom think about balance and rarely practice it. When was the last time you climbed a jungle gym, walked over a log or tried to balance on one leg while brushing your teeth?!

Most people don’t spend any time thinking about their balance until it’s too late – when they actually start swaying when they walk; or worse, fall down and injure themselves. But balance isn’t just a concern for the elderly who are more prone to falls. Balance training is important for anyone who wants to age well, avoid future falls, improve athletic ability, coordination, stamina and overall fitness and health.

If you haven’t thought much about maintaining – or improving – your balance, now is a good time to start. Balance is a component of health that you should never overlook. Without it, all of the weight training and exercise in the world won’t help you.

In order to stay upright, constant communication occurs between your brain, eyes, ears and the nerve endings in your muscles.

As children, we develop balance, climbing trees, walking and running on unsteady surfaces, playing sports, games etc. As adults, we seldom think about balance and rarely practice it. When was the last time you climbed a jungle gym, walked over a log or tried to balance on one leg while brushing your teeth?!

Our vision works in tandem with the inner ear to maintain balance. If you take vision out of the equation altogether – by closing your eyes – it’s harder to balance because visual cues from our eyes give us information about where we are in space.

Inside the inner ear is a fluid-filled tube called the semi-circular canal and the movement of fluid within this canal alerts your central nervous system as to the position of your head.

So how is your balance? Let’s find out …

The 30-second balance test


Ideally, find a partner to time you, because your eyes will be closed. It’s also a good idea to have someone close by in case you fall.

  1. Stand barefoot on a hard floor. Now close your eyes.
  2. Bend one knee and lift the foot – if you’re left-handed, stand on your left leg and lift the right foot just 6″ off the floor; do the opposite if you’re right-handed.
  3. Ask the person helping you to time how long you can hold that position without wobbling or opening your eyes. Use the timer on your phone.
  4. Repeat the test 3 times, and then add up your total time and use the average. (For example, if test 1 was 4 seconds, test 2 was 6 seconds, and test 3 was 8 seconds, you’d add up 4+6+8 to get 18. Divide by 3, and your average balance time is 6 seconds.)

It isn’t surprising to see that the number of seconds decreases with age. In the 30-35 year group, for example, the average eyes-closed balance time is 22 seconds. For 50-year-olds, it’s 9 seconds, and 70-year-olds just 4 seconds. That’s because…

Balance declines with age


As we get older, our eyesight tends to diminish. This normal change in the eye’s focusing ability is likely the first step affecting our balance. Our muscles also age, and this atrophy (shrinkage) of muscle tissue makes reaction times slower. But there’s good news, because…

You can improve balance at any age


17 trials involving 4305 participants concluded that regularly engaging in well-designed balance exercise programs, even in the very old and frail, proved to be effective for fall prevention, and there is now ample evidence that this type of program improves balance ability.1

Try this


Practice balancing on one leg every day and several times a day. Brush your teeth on one leg first thing in the morning. Wash your hands at work, balancing on one leg. Wash the dishes on one leg (but please don’t break the dishes). Blow dry your hair balancing on one leg, and have family competitions if you have little ones – who can balance the longest? 


Don’t wait until you notice that you are starting to sway when you walk. Trust me when I say this – if you are over 50, it’s coming. Sigh … isn’t aging fun?!

References

  1. El-Khoury, Fabienne, et al. “The effect of fall prevention exercise programmes on fall incused injuries in community dwelling older adults: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” British Medical Journal. 29 October 2013; 347:f6234. Web. http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f6234 

Udemy – How To Create a Healthy Posture Habit for Life (New Course)

The 21 Posturecise movements in this course were designed to target your whole body and are safe and gentle enough to do every day.

Several years after qualifying as a chiropractor, I was horrified by a picture of myself. I had developed horrible forward head posture – I was embarrassed to be a healthcare professional with bad posture.

I become obsessed with how to improve my posture. I spent years studying x-rays and trying new products and exercises. I later qualified with a fellowship in the physics of posture correction. I fell in love with posture!

Udemy course on posture


Posturecise is the result of nearly 20 years of personal and clinical experience correcting my own posture and helping other people regain their posture confidence!

The 21 Posturecise movements in this course were designed to target your whole body and are safe and gentle enough to do every day.

Every single technique which I reveal in this course is easy to put into place in minutes – and can give you instant results:

  • increased spinal flexibility
  • boosted energy levels
  • fewer aches and pains
  • improved body image
  • renewed confidence

Preview Course: Posturecise – How to create a healthy new habit for life

While most exercise programs are rigorous, this course is so humane and realistic that many of the 21 Posturecise movements can be done while watching TV, sitting at your office desk or even in your car, waiting for the light to change!

This course is not


  • a bust your gut boot-camp for fitness slaves that feel the need to pound their bodies and sweat profusely.
  • a quick fix – I can not stress this enough. Good posture is not a quick fix and Posturecise is not a miracle cure. Good posture is a life-long commitment and one you can learn to love and enjoy!
  • I will not look at your posture on this course and tell you what is wrong. If you want that kind of information you may benefit from a Posture Analysis.
  • I can not tell you how long it will take to correct your posture because there are many factors that contribute to your rate of healing: past injury, nutrition, emotional health, fitness levels, age etc.

But if you want my personal experience with posture – remember I have been doing posture for almost 20 years and I have helped 100s of people improve their health and regain posture confidence, then you may just love this course.

You need no prior experience. Posturecise is gentle and safe enough for all ages and abilities.

Preview CoursePosturecise – How to create a healthy new habit for life

What you get


  • 21 video posture tutorials
  • 8 floor posture video tutorials (and REAL ways to target your core)
  • 8 seated posture video tutorials (includes forward head posture)
  • 5 standing posture video tutorials
  • Instruction from a qualified primary health care physician (not a trainer)
  • A 21 minute daily routine
  • The 21 day Posturecise challenge
  • Advise on how to deal with common barriers

Warning: Posture Confidence may cause extreme attractiveness! 

Preview CoursePosturecise – How to create a healthy new habit for life