A long time ago, a good boss told me that if I want to meet multiple deadlines, I need to bear in mind two rules: 1) Start early, and 2) Start writing. Productivity is the sine qua non of successful author-dom.
So when I saw an article, about how body position and posture can affect mood, recall, self-image and other brain functions, and particularly how hunching over a cell phone or screen can make us more anxious, dull, and down, I sat back–from my computer screen–and bethought myself: I really tend to slump in the early afternoons. Physically and otherwise. I’ve noticed this particularly since I had to get a new computer, a Surface (which I do not like), because my old ASUS crashed without warning (which I hated).
The Surface has a smaller screen, the resolution and illumination aren’t as effective. Long story short, I tend to be “hunchier” when I’m writing these days. In addition to twiddling the computer end of that equation, I decided to take action on the Grace-end.
I inserted into my day several gratuitous expressions of a few power poses, including the “pride” posture . This is the way we present ourselves, arms up and outstretched, chin lifted, often a leg lifted as well, when we’re spontaneously exhilarated by achievement. Even blind people, who have never seen an end zone dance or watched Usain Bolt take the victory lap, will adopt this posture when celebrating a great accomplishment.
The results for me have been positive. I stand in the kitchen, feet apart, hands on hips, Wonder Woman-style, as the microwave is heating my tea water, and my confidence centers. If I do my victory lap around the living room when I’m picking up cat toys, and I find I’m naturally inclined in those moments to think more upbeat thoughts, even if I do look silly. I open up my sitting position, fold my arms behind my head, and I’m not a self-employed author slogging through a book’s middle, I’m the executive director of my own literary empire.
There has to be something to this. Drill sergeants, band leaders, grandmas, and life coaches all tell us to sit up straight, to own our space, to stand tall. The advocates for good posture come at us from many perspectives, and similarly, the advocates for bad posture–the bosses who want us hunched over the screen sixty hours a week with no OT, the politicians who don’t care if schools have up to date classroom furniture, the prisons that cram full grown men into cots sized for boy scouts–aren’t served by our confidence and self-possession. I suspect putting women in four-inch stilettos might also have an ulterior agenda besides… though, really, what IS the point of teetering around in stilettos?
I don’t know how this train of thought will find its way into my books–it’s too good not to use–but I am glad that article caught my eye (while I was hunched over my computer).
If you were going to work some power poses into your day, where would you start? Or are they already there? Did somebody encourage you to develop good posture earlier in life? To one commenter, I’ll send a $50 gift card.