Unfortunately, first impressions mean everything. People often decide if they like someone or not within the first few minutes of meeting them. Our lives are so busy that people rarely have the time to truly get to know one another. Therefore, the image that you give off within the first five minutes is essential. One easy way to enhance your first impression is to perfect your posture. Ok, maybe it’s not as easy as it looks but it’s definitely worth it.
I will admit it. I am a victim of horrible posture. After 13 years of competitive swimming, my posture could definitely use an upgrade. My shoulders tend to lend forward, I slouch in my chair while sitting in class, and never think about my posture during the day. There are thousands of bad posture victims just like me (come on, admit it too!). Our lives require us to slouch in front of a computer screen all day. It’s really easy and completely mindless to have bad posture, it’s one less thing we have to think about. But, mastering good posture is a necessary first step to becoming a more confident you, or at least to appear to be.
Not only does good posture give you a banging first impression, it also has wonderful health benefits. Good posture decreases your chance of injury by strengthening your muscles. Bad posture allows less oxygen to reach your muscles. Naturally, this makes it harder for your body to exercise, recover from hard workouts, or to just simply breathe. Good posture balances your body so that no one part of your body carries all the stress. Perfecting your posture also makes for better digestion, easier pregnancies, energizes your body, helps to prevent sciatica, and just feels so damn good.
What does good posture look like? When standing, start with your feet:
- Rock back and forth; find the spot where your weight is evenly distributed.
- Don’t lock out your knees. Keep them slightly bent in a comfortable and natural position.
- Straighten your back. There should only be a very slight curve in your lower back.
- Pull your head in ever so slightly so that it is aligned with the rest of your body. You probably aren’t doing the chicken dance right now so pull your head back!
- Pull your shoulders up to your ears, roll them back and down. They should feel as if they are sliding right into place.
- Your chest should be forward but there is absolutely no reason to exaggerate it. We all know what your mama gave you, no reason to broadcast it to the entire world.
- Your goal is an ‘S’ curve (a small curve at the back of your neck and your lower back).
The key to good posture is a strong and tight core. Now the challenge: hold this posture throughout the day. The first time you try this, you probably won’t be able to hold if for more than a few minutes. Try to stop, think, and fix your posture a few times a day. Soon enough, good posture will become habit and believe it not, natural.
How about when you’re sitting in front of that computer screen all day? Just because you are sitting doesn’t mean you can’t have good posture. Constantly pushing your head forward to read what’s in front of you or to see what’s on your computer screen stretches the ligaments in your spine which results in neck and back pain.
- If you are reading, try to keep your reading material at eye level rather than on your desk.
- Just like standing, make sure your head is pulled back over your shoulders (you probably aren’t doing the chicken dance at work, but then again you never know).
- It is often helpful to keep a small pillow or rolled up towel at the small of your back while sitting in order to help keep your back straight.
- Try to keep your feet flat on the floor as much as possible. I am a huge fan of crossing my legs but this shifts your weight to one side of your body, throwing off your body’s balance and makes it next to impossible to have good posture.
There are many ways to perfect your posture. The easiest way is to self-check your posture by standing against a wall. Your shoulders and voluptuous, well-defined butt should be touching the wall. You can also try going for a short walk while concentrating on your posture or spend just five minutes stretching every morning. If you are feeling a little more adventurous you may want to try yoga or pilates. I am not a flexible person so I find pilates more enjoyable, although both do require some flexibility, pilates focuses more on the core. There are many great websites and videos on the web with short routines that you could easily fit into your daily schedule (I live my life according to the god of YouTube). If you are a REALLY adventurous person, ballet lessons will perfect your posture in no time. Don’t deny it; we all envy the ballerina’s posture, body, and grace.
No matter how you spin it, posture is extremely important to first impressions, your confidence, and your health in general. Before you go, check out this vintage video on women’s posture I came across.
Now, go practice your ‘lipstick confidence’!