How To Have Poise

Who doesn’t want to have poise? To be able to feel life but also to remain composed when things get crazy. Keeping your head in the face of an overwhelming emotional situation is an enviable ability. Desired by many, possessed by few.

So how do you get it? That magical ability to feel all the ups and downs of life, but maintain your cool in any given moment.

Get poise through self-possession.

Self-possession = poise.

The pinnacle of a three part journey that starts with self-awareness, moves to self-expression and ends in a rare and wonderful place I call emotional utopia (in my book of the same title). The nuts and bolts of how you get it are as follows.

  1. Become a master of recognizing and naming every feeling in your body. (Self-awareness)
  2. Deal with the negative beliefs you have about those feelings and the expression of them.
  3. Become a master at finding and practicing ways to move and/or express all those feelings through sound and/or physical movement. (Self-expression)
  4. Become a master at deliberately controlling the release of feelings when you need or want to, and a master of digging up and expressing those feelings at appropriate times and places once the situation has passed wherein you chose to control them. (Self-possession)

When you have achieved step 4, your physical and emotional presence will be marked by the characteristics of poise: gracefulness, elegance, balance, and control.

Admittedly, there are plenty of people who appear unfazed by “emotional” situations. They report no feeling at all in the face of what most others would consider sad or enraging. But, you see. These folks are actually unaware of their feelings. It’s not that they don’t have them.

In studies, the bodies of these folks show symptoms of emotional response, but their minds do not register it. Rather than recognizing and managing their feelings in a self-possessed, conscious way, they have blocked the feelings from consciousness and cannot, in general, feel anything, including joy or ecstasy. Blocking feelings from consciousness puts you at the beginning of step 1, above, disconnected from feelings in your body. It does not make you a master of recognizing, naming, and expressing/controlling them at will.

Like a floodgate operator who regulates the flow of a river depending on what the conditions require, poise is the self-possessed control of feelings rather than a denial of them through chronic muscular contraction or a splitting of mind and body.

Ready to elevate your level of poise?

Here are some resources. The “Wheel of Awareness” by Dan Siegel on YouTube or his website Or, check out one of Peter Levine’s books on Somatic Experiencing.

Of course, why don’t you just call me? I’ll be happy to help.

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