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Strike a Pose! Prepping for the Holidays

by Household Essentials • December 23, 2016

The holidays are wonderful and often STRESSFUL.  We work hard to get ready: buy and wrap presents, clean the house, set the table, make the dinner, design a signature cocktail, back cookies, attend more holiday gatherings than we could have counted before December . . .

The list goes on.

Prep yourself to put your best foot forward and combat holiday stresses with this very simple suggestion:
Stand like Superman.
Go ahead.  2 minutes.  Stand like Superman.

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy has made as study of human behaviors and postures, and the way those physical attitudes can chemically shape our mental attitudes too.  It's more than just faking it to make it.  It is using real science to help your brain do its best work.  This helps you cope with stresses, too, from in-laws to icy roadways to burn holiday meals. 

So if a gathering, special event, or conversation starts to wear on you, spread out.  Let's take a deep breath (or a bathroom break!) and take up a little more space.  Use the arm rest.  No one else need know you're doing it strategically.

Because we all know as much as we love family and friends--and we DO most of the time--sometimes we needs a pick-me-up part way through an event.  So whether at home, a business party or cocktail hour, or at guest in someone else's event, keep these simple poses in your pocket to psych your body into a better frame of mind.


Top Go-To Poses: Taking Up Space


Hands on hips, arms akimbo, feet planted wide.


Arms straight in the air in a wide "V", head tilted back, wide smile, and feet planted wide!


Spread your arms out to take up space by using a chairs armrests or standing with an arm extended along the back of chair or reaching along a countertop!


Top Postures to Avoid (If Your Feeling Stressed or Less Than Your Best): Minimizing Space

These are not inherently bad postures.  But when you are stressed or feeling less-than-impressive or capable, these postures can reinforce that feeling.  So while they might be perfect for normal days, in high stress situations, be aware of your position and your anxiety levels.  You might be able to make a simple switch to give yourself a mental leg up!

Crossed Legs

Unless you are fiercely showing off footwear, crossing legs folds you in on yourself, making you take up less space, sometimes tricking your mind too!

Crossed Arms

While very common, crossing arms often signals negative feelings, like disapproval or lack of interest.  It's also what people tend to do when they are nervous or feeling insecure, which means crossing arms can trigger those same feelings in our brain even if we aren't feeling that way!

Then there's always the cold factor.

Shrugged Shoulders

When we shrug our shoulders and keep them there, it's a pretty good indicator of discomfort.  Stress does it too.  If you find your shoulders too close to your ears, pull your shoulders back and then down.  Now that's some good posture.  Keep your neck long.  Good.

Learn more about Amy Cuddy's insights through her TedTalk "Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are."  Seems like a worthy thing to take advantage of this holiday season!

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