Conflict ResolutionMental Health

The Power of Poses

By September 20, 2016 No Comments

Did you know that the way you stand or sit can affect not only how you feel about yourself, but also how others see you? Recent research on the fascinating subject of “power poses” shows that it takes just 2 minutes for you to feel either more or less powerful. The study is based on what happens naturally:

Low power poses

When we’re not feeling good, we tend to close up our body language. Our shoulders droop, our chin drops towards our chest, we press our legs together and we may even wrap our arms around our body to give us a sense of protection.

Our system responds by dropping our level of testosterone, which is the hormone that makes us feel confident and assertive, and raising our level of cortisol, which is a stress hormone.

High power poses

When we’re feeling really positive, our body language opens up. We straighten our shoulders, raise our chin, sit with crossed legs and if we’re feeling totally amazing, we may even raise our arms in the V for Victory pose (think of anyone who has just won something – a race, a competition or a prize).

Our cortisol levels drop, which drops our stress levels accordingly, and our testosterone levels rise, making us feel like we can conquer the world.

The great news is that we can actually use these poses on purpose. By spending just 2 minutes in a high power pose, no matter how nervous or insecure you’re feeling to start with, you’ll feel more powerful and confident afterwards.

What to do

These are just a few examples:

  • Raise your arms over your head as if you have just won something – imagine you’re doing a victory lap around a stadium
  • Put your feet up on a desk and your hands behind your head
  • Stand with your legs slightly apart, and put your hands on your hips, with elbows out to the side, in the “Superwoman” pose (for the women of course)
  • Sit with your arm/s spread out over a chair on one or both sides of you
  • Stand with your hands resting wide on a table, leaning forward a little

The next time you’re nervous about anything – a conversation, an exam or a date, for example, give it a try and notice how much better you feel.

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