Think of your body language and you probably focus on how it affects the way other people perceive you.
That's certainly true, but your body language also affects you. Small gestures, simple changes to posture -- each can make a dramatic impact on how you feel, how you think, and how you perform.
And one simple body language technique can even make your day better.
According to Amy Cuddy, Harvard psychologist and the author of Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenge, here's what you should do every day before you get out of bed:
Lay on your back and stretch your arms and legs out as long and wide as you can.
The premise behind the behavior is simple: The way you start your day affects your mood and your sense of confidence.
"If you sleep in a fetal ball," Cuddy says, referring to the approximately 40 percent of people who do, "we have some preliminary evidence that people who wake up like that wake up much more stressed out." On the flip side, people who spread their arms and legs out before they get out of bed "are super happy, like annoyingly happy."
(Amy's recommendation for how to start you day is similar to her power pose technique. Two minutes of power posing -- standing tall, holding your arms out or toward the sky, or standing like Superman with your hands on your hips -- will dramatically increase your level of confidence. She recommends doing the power pose -- in private, of course -- before you step into a situation where you might feel nervous or insecure.)
Give it a try. Every morning before you get out of bed, take a few moments and stretch yourself out as far as you can.
Loosening up your muscles will definitely make you feel a little better, and you might find that you're more confident and lot happier over the course of the day as well.