Body postion reflections
The other day, I was sitting in a meeting with my co-workers at ClubSport Oregon and was struck by the general body position most people chose to be in. I secretly snapped photos of the crew and this is what I saw:
The energy in the room, as you might have guessed, was pretty low.
Power of the pose
I had just watched a fascinating Ted Talk on what was dubbed the “power pose” by social psychologist and professor Amy Cuddy. This video has been viewed over 35 million times, so maybe this is old news to you. The question Amy Cuddy was trying to answer was: does your body language impact how you see yourself, and how others perceive you?
The basic findings in a nutshell: if you sit all hunched over, making yourself smaller, holding your neck, closing down, and wrapping your arms or ankles together you have an impact on your body on a cellular level. This position causes higher cortisol (stress hormone) and lower testosterone, which is associated with decision making ability and risk taking.
Opening up and making yourself big are expressions of power. Think of Usain Bolt at the Olympics on the track at the finish line. That guy makes himself big!
It is the impact on your physiology- the hormone levels that are impacted- that is so interesting to me. Remember, cortisol packs on belly fat, so anything you can do to decrease cortisol levels will help any muffin top you are looking to get rid of!
What’s the good news? Easy and simple to fix.
This is really the best news ever: turns out, you CAN fake it until you make it. Not feeling powerful? Totally fixable. Not only that- You can BECOME it!
Fake it until you become it!
In other words, if you aren’t feeling powerful, you can change your body position and your brain and hormones will follow suit. Make yourself small, your hormones will follow. Make yourself big and you get the following reaction: High testosterone and low cortisol which make you appear AND feel more powerful, assertive, and dominant
(testosterone qualities) but not stress reactive (cortisol qualities).
Our minds change our bodies, but our bodies can also change our minds.
This is really helpful for example in evaluating job candidates. Amy talks about the experiment she executed in her talk where she has people evaluate other people on wether they would want to hire them based on pure body language. The evaluators are shown clips of people who have spent two minutes making themselves small, or making themselves big for the requisite two minutes.
The people who made themselves big were chosen every time.
All it takes is two minutes!
I wanted to use this information and experiment on some unsuspecting victims right away. 🙂
Back to my meeting….
The energy in the room was now downright sluggish. I thought we should end on a hopeful, happy, and powerful note. After all, we have lives to positively influence! I threw my hand in the air and gave a quick summary of what I just wrote, and demanded we all bust out a power pose for two minutes.
Below shows what my awesome co-workers willingly subjected themselves to doing, except Nate.
Nate, Nate, Nate. There always has to be a dissenter in the room. 🙂 Even he manages a mild version of a power pose with his hands in his pockets.
Here we are doing POWER POSES!
Can’t you feel the energy in the room shift, just based on the photos? This is powerful stuff! Let me know how your experiments on yourself and your co-workers go in the comments below.
P.S. If you want to watch Amy Cuddy’s TED talk in its entirety, here is the link: