Physiology Changes Psychology

6 July 2021

My life as a successful firefighter began by falling flat on my face in the first interview. To put it bluntly, I failed big time. I wasn’t aware then, that I could’ve used my physical body language to master my mindset. In other words, I could have used my physiology to change my psychology. As in all things in life, hindsight is twenty-twenty, and I found myself thinking back on that afternoon on countless occasions trying to piece together how I’d bombed so royally on an interview for a career path I knew was a perfect fit for me.


In the weeks leading up to the big day, I felt I’d done all the right things to prepare for this opportunity, and on the day of, I’d arrived early to my appointment, taking my seat in the waiting room alongside the other hopeful interviewees, all of us seated side by side nervously exchanging glances. 


There was one other future female firefighter in the room with me that day. When her name was called and she was ushered in, I knew that I had five precious minutes to frantically review all of my notes. Five minutes, in which my eyes were downcast with my shoulders slightly drooped, a posture that caused me to slump forward in my seat. It was the first mistake that set me up for failure, and I wasn’t even aware that I’d been working against myself before my interview had even started.


 Non-verbal communication is so powerful and communicates so many simultaneous messages at one time. Body language is understood in fractions of a second and is over ninety percent of our communication. It encompasses physical gestures, eye movement, and facial expression. In this instance, my disempowering body language was sending all kinds of subconscious messages to my brain. Loud disruptive messages that played on repeat like, “You’re not good enough,” and, “You’re going to fail this interview.”


Your body language is not only communicating to others, but you are also subconsciously communicating with yourself. You may have taken note of other people’s body language and have some basic understanding of the nonverbal communication therein, but have you ever really sat down and thought about your own body language and how it can be leveraged for your own success? How can

you apply the biggest communication tool available to you? 


Think of the most genuinely confident person you know. How does she stand? How does she hold herself? You may have noticed she stands tall, proud, and self-assured. When she’s addressing you, she makes direct eye contact. Take note of her body language and see how you might incorporate some of the same gestures and poses into your own life. Even if making the decision to stand taller and prouder feels uncomfortable at first, you will realise these easy changes are well worth the gains in confidence.

Some simple things that you can employ such as holding your chin up, casting your shoulders back, and making yourself as big as possible in the face of real or perceived danger places you on solid ground to respond appropriately.

What now? 

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