In the theater of social interaction, we’re all actors, knowingly or not.
From the moment people see you, you’re silently narrating a story about yourself. This narration is not shaped by the words you say, but by the way you hold yourself, the way you move, and the way you respond to others.
This is especially true when it comes to dating and attracting women.
Body language speaks volumes. And what’s more, it’s a language that everyone understands but only a few know how to speak.
This article will shed light on the importance of confident body language, how it’s deeply entwined with perception and mindset, and some practical ways you can improve yours.
Table Of Contents
The Importance Of Good Body Language
There’s an often-repeated stat in the communication world: 90% of communication is non-verbal. While that number has been debunked, the general idea holds true.
It’s not just about the words we say but how we say them, how we stand, how we look at the other person, and how we use our hands and facial expressions.
A study conducted by Princeton University found that people make judgments about others’ attractiveness, likability, trustworthiness, competence, and aggressiveness within a tenth of a second of looking at their faces.
A large part of these judgments come from non-verbal cues like facial expressions and body language.
So if you have poor body language, it will overpower whatever you say.
If you’re slouched, avoiding eye contact, or crossing your arms – you’re screaming that you’re uncomfortable or unconfident. This kind of body language might give away feelings of nervousness or lack of assurance that you don’t want to convey.
If you have an open posture and carry yourself with ease, you’re more likely to leave a positive lasting impression, even if you’re not a perfect conversationalist.
Most of all, humans are a reciprocal species. People will unconsciously mirror your body language and feelings.
When you look defensive and anxious, that’s how they will feel and respond themselves. When you look warm and engaged, they will lean into that with ease.
The Mindset Around Developing Confident Body Language
The power of mind over body
You might think that your mental state inevitably manifests in your body language. You assume that if you’re feeling anxious or nervous, those emotions will seep into your movements and posture.
While there’s some truth to this, it’s not the whole picture.
Research in psychology suggests that the relationship between our mental state and our body language is a two-way street. Just as our emotions and thoughts can influence our physical posture and movements, intentionally altering our body language can influence our internal state.
Psychologists term it “embodied cognition,” stating that the body can influence the mind just as the mind influences the body. Studies have shown that adopting certain physical postures can affect our emotions, attitudes, and even hormone levels.
Body language can alter your mindset
Take this example: Try to feel sad while wearing a big grin on your face. It’s challenging, right? That’s because your body is communicating to your mind that you’re happy, and it feels contradictory to feel down.
Now, try the reverse. Attempt to feel overjoyed while slumping your shoulders and frowning. It’s equally difficult.
Just as your emotions can leak into your body language, intentionally changing your body language can influence your feelings and thoughts.
If you walk around hunched over, you’ll start to feel as downtrodden as you look. But if you stand tall, look people in the eye, and move with confidence, you’ll start to feel a positive shift in your mindset. You’ll feel more self-assured and confident.
It’s not about pretending or faking it. It’s about consciously choosing to present yourself in a certain way and allowing that choice to influence your mental state.
When you decide to walk into a room with an open posture and a confident stride, you’re not only telling the world that you’re someone worth paying attention to – you’re also telling yourself.
Body Language Principles: Open vs Closed & Fast vs Slow
Navigating the complex realm of body language may seem daunting. The good news is that it can be broken down into simple principles that anyone can understand and apply.
Here are the two most important ones:
Open vs closed body language
Open body language exposes you physically and communicates vulnerability, openness, and trust.
On the other hand, closed body language comes off as protective and defensive.
When we feel threatened or uncomfortable, we instinctively protect the vulnerable parts of our bodies, like our wrists, neck, and armpits, resulting in closed body language. An extreme example of this is the fetal position.
Examples of open body language include looking at the horizon, keeping your head straight and your chin up, standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, allowing your arms to rest a little away from your body, and speaking with your palms open and facing upwards.
Open body language communicates that you’re comfortable in your own skin, open to interaction, and trust yourself and the other person.
Fast vs slow body language
The speed of your movements also matters.
Fast, twitchy, nervous movements can communicate a lack of confidence and even anxiety. They’re like the physical equivalent of a stammer or a nervous laugh.
On the other hand, slow, purposeful movements suggest that you’re in control and confident. They show that you’re not in a rush and you’re comfortable with taking up space and time. It shows that you’re in the moment and not fretting about the past or the future.
Examples of slow body language include walking with a purposeful stride, turning your head steadily when someone calls your name, using your hands in a relaxed manner when you’re speaking, taking your time to sit next to someone, and approaching a kiss gently.
When your movements are slow and deliberate, you’re communicating that you’re confident, in control, and fully present.
Examples Of Confident Body Language
- Stand tall. Don’t slouch or hunch over. Years of playing Quake and Diablo didn’t make this a simple task for me, but by consistently reminding myself it became second nature.
- Keep your head up. Always look straight ahead at the horizon and avoid looking down while you walk.
- Take up more space. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart while standing and sitting. This demonstrates you are relaxed and comfortable.
- Relax your shoulders. They should not be stiff or tense. Lift your shoulders up and let them drop. They should fall back and rest naturally.
- Don’t cross your arms or legs in front of you. This is closed body language that makes you look defensive and like you’re protecting yourself. Think about it: when someone gets mad or upset, what do they instantly do? Remember, we tend to mirror body language and if you don’t look relaxed, the other person can’t relax, either.
- Avoid leaning in to talk to women. Getting too close too soon from the front is aggressive and distracting. Speak louder (from your diaphragm) or move to her side. If you’re in a tight space, rather than standing awkwardly, see if there is something you can lean against.
- Hold your drink to your side. When you’re at a party or bar, nothing shows you’re nervous like clenching a drink against your chest. Always keep your glass down and to your side while not drinking.
- Keep your hands out of your front pockets. If you need someplace to put your hands, put them in your back pockets with your thumbs out – this displays open and inviting body language.
- Move slower and with purpose. Sudden movements scare people and seem like a nervous tick. A man who walks and talks in a collected manner radiates confidence.
- Talk with your hands. Use your hands to emphasize points and add passion to what you’re saying. Always keeping your hands stiff by your side makes you seem uncomfortable. Just don’t put them in someone’s face — chest level and below is perfect.
- Eliminate nervous ticks and bad habits. This goes for face touching, foot tapping, nail biting, nose-picking, or fidgeting in general. They distract the other person and you appear anxious and agitated.
- Observe others. Watch the cool guy surrounded by women and see how he presents himself. Take note of his facial expressions, hand gestures, and overall posture. Similarly, pay attention to handsome Hollywood actors and their body language in interviews and on screen.
Practical Exercises For Developing Confident Body Language
Knowledge is only the first step. To genuinely improve your body language and reap the benefits, you need to put this all into practice.
Let’s explore some practical exercises to develop confident body language.
Golden rope exercise
Visualizing can be a powerful tool to alter reality. It’s used by athletes, performers, and public speakers to improve their performance and manage their nerves. And it can be used to enhance body language as well.
For the Golden Rope exercise, visualize a rope pulling you up from the crown of your head. Imagine this rope pulling you straight up toward the sky. This will help you stand taller, straighter, and more confidently.
Do this every time you’re about to enter a social situation, and soon, it will become second nature. It’s an easy and effective way to project confidence through your posture.
Three-point touch exercise
The Three-Point Touch exercise is designed to ensure you’re standing tall and in alignment. You can do this exercise anywhere you can find a wall.
Lean back against a wall making sure three points are touching: the back of your head, your shoulder blades, and your heels. This position will ensure you’re standing tall and straight. Keep your chin parallel to the ground and your shoulders relaxed.
Practice this regularly to improve your natural posture. Over time, you’ll notice that you start standing more like this even when you’re not leaning against a wall.
Core and back training
Improving your body language isn’t all mental and conceptual. Some of it is also about sheer physicality.
Sometimes, your body language isn’t great because your body isn’t, well, great. If you want a straighter back and a more confident stance, you need to have the physical strength to support that posture.
Enter core and back training. You don’t need to bulk up or get ripped. But having a strong core and back can drastically improve your posture and, by extension, your body language.
There are a bunch of exercises you can incorporate into your routine. Planks, supermans, deadlifts, and Russian twists, for instance.
Regularly doing these exercises can help you build the necessary strength and muscle memory. Plus, it has the added benefit of making you healthier and more fit.
Forward head posture fixes
A common posture mistake is what’s known as ‘forward head’ or ‘text neck’. This is when you’re constantly looking down at your phone or laptop, and your head juts out in front of your body.
There are specific exercises you can do to correct this, such as chin tucks, neck stretches, and wall angels. These exercises will help realign your neck with the rest of your body.
Like anything worth doing, these will take time. But every time you do these exercises, you’re telling your body, “Hey, we’re not a turtle. We’re a lion.” And eventually, your body will start listening.
Look Good, Feel Good, Get Comfortable
The way you carry yourself – how you walk, talk, and even stand – affects both how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you. It influences your mental state, and it sets the tone for how others interact with you.
Confident body language isn’t just about looking good. It’s about feeling good, too.
Remember, it’s not just about attracting women or impressing people. It’s about self-improvement. It’s about becoming a more confident, assertive, and socially comfortable in your own skin.
When you start believing that, others will, too.