Do you need a boost in your energy and mental agility? Lisa B. Marshall, aka The Public Speaker, shares free and easy body language hacks to feel and work better right away: be more creative; boost your mood; gain more energy; and, think more clearly.
Do you ever feel like you’re dragging? Or like what you’re trying to accomplish is just barely eluding you? The answer to these problems may be as simple as changing body habits or adjusting your body langauge. I like to call them body language boosts. It turns out that what the body does and how the brain responds are very closely connected. As more and more studies prove, there are some easy ways to boost your energy and clarify your thinking just by changing your everyday body langauge. Really!
When I imagine a team of comedy writers brainstorming creative ideas for sketches, I always imagine a big room with several couches and everyone lying down with their hands laced behind their heads. Why? Because studies have found that lying down actually improves creative thinking. Noradrenaline, a brain chemical that improves thinking in stressful situations, is released in higher amounts when standing. To boost creative thinking, those hormones need to be lower. So, if you’re making an important presentation, standing is great. But if you are trying to think outside the box, lie down and relax! You may not want to do this in your office—unless you have a couch, or a bed, or a bathtub. Try it (and let me know what your Eureka was!).
For mood-boosting, simple actions make a difference. Like smiling, for instance. When you smile, even when you don’t feel like it, your brain immediately puts out feel-good hormones that improve your mood and slow your heart rate. One recent afternoon, my eleven year old daughter Daniela was having a tough time—she was stressing about finding a "good" song for an upcoming play audition. She surprised me when she later told me that decided to force herself to smile ("even though I didn't feel like it, Mom") and lie down for a few minutes. She said that she started to feel better and, in fact, came up with a good audition song. She added that she then was so happy that she came up with a good idea that she was then "really smiling" and that made her feel even better.
Believe it or not, improving your posture does the same thing. When you slouch, you feel more depressed, both in mood and in energy level. Sit up straight, and you’ll notice your mood start to improve. Smile at the same time, and you’ll feel even better! To finish it off, you can put your hand on your heart or on your arm to experience that physical contact that also stimulates feelings of confidence and security.
Touching causes the release of oxytocin, one of the many de-stressing hormones. When my girls come home from school they often will come in my office and ask for some oxytocin—of course, what they are really asking for is a hug. However, almost any gentle touch will help. My daughter likes to rub something soft on her index finger. She has done this since she was an infant (in fact, that was one of the ways I knew which of my indentical twins I was holding). She still does it at age eleven, especially when she experiences stress. And my friend once gave me a “worry stone”—a small, indented piece of marble to rub while thinking. It really is quite soothing! Then again, if you prefer, you can just give yourself a pat on the back!