Time to stand and stare seems in increasingly short supply in the dizzy digital age. Many of us feel more time-poor and more pressured than ever. The ability to pull yourself together at a moment's notice, to gather your focus and your presence so you can emanate calm and confidence is a core skill-set for the modern age. Here are some tips to help you find your centre of gravitas.
Find your roots – and your wings
The Sanskrit word guru means “one who cannot be pushed over". If you want to emanate grounded presence, think gravity – and its oppositional forces, the downward force, matched by an equal thrust upwards. Or, if your prefer, your roots and your wings. For “down" find the points of stability that connect you to the earth. Remember the FOFBOC, which stands for "feet on floor, bum on chair". Notice where your weight is supported as you sit, via feet and seatbones, and let gravity ground you through them. It can help to imagine that you have tree roots growing down into the ground, or if you prefer, a weighty dragon's tail that extends your your tailbone, out around you, grounding you and connecting you to the earth.
And when you plant your roots its so much easier to find your wings – the up-ness to balance the down-ness. Imagine that you can draw energy from the ground up through your roots. When you find this inner ability to be still, you'll start to notice that people tell you that you have presence. Find this lightness that lifts you even as you stay grounded. In moments where lightness feels like a stretch it can often help to remind yourself of the golden rule “lighten up and don't take things so damn personally".
Put Your Brain in Your Belly
Performers are often given the advice to, “put your brain in your belly". It means, rather than over-analysing anxiously, we should come back to the information our senses feed us in the moment. Recent neuroscience backs up this strategy showing us that the attention system is limited. You can either do existential angst in your mind, or place your attention in the body. You can't do both. To find this physical calm, it can help to see in your minds eye a nose and mouth breathing in your belly. Or if you prefer to feel your way to things, feel your stomach filling up like an air balloon as you breathe in, emptying as you breathe out.
Orchestrate your emotion with your gesture
Finding the right balance between our credibility and our warmth is literally in your hands. If you want credibility and gravitas, try gesturing with your palms facing downwards to give you the physiology of control and task, shifting you effortlessly into a more serious tone. When lightness is more appropriate, turn the palms up to lend the voice warmth and approachability. Simple, but a powerful gear change between your warmth – “upness" and your credibility or “downness".