Research suggests that our body language – our posture, facial expressions and gestures, sends massages to our brain and affects the way our brain functions. For example, when your body language suggests that you carry yourself with confidence, in a matter of minutes the chemical balance alters, your body starts to feel it and your brain starts to believe it.

So, by being aware of and focusing on just one or two aspects of your body language, you can directly influence the message your brain will receive.

Two of my favourite actions are relaxing the shoulders and the Mona Lisa smile!

A “Mona Lisa” smile is helpful in stressful situations because it is an easy way to be in the moment and create a feeling of calm. The Mona Lisa’s smile is an almost imperceptible smile; you simply relax your jaw and let your mouth turn slightly upwards at the ends. It can help to visualise the image of the Mona Lisa or imagine yourself looking into a mirror with a half-smile. Relaxing the jaw in labour and birth is particularly helpful. The jaw and pelvic area are linked, so when you relax your jaw, your pelvic area relaxes also and this assists in making labour and birth more comfortable and quicker. The “Mona Lisa” smile can be used alongside bringing your attention upon your breathing; slowly inhale the calm, slowly exhale with a half-smile.

I encourage you to give it a try, and notice how different you feel after just a few moments!

“Our bodies change our minds, and our minds can change our behaviour, and our behaviour can change our outcomes.” Amy Cuddy