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Power-posing and its effect on positivity

Posing for two minutes in a powerful position — with the body expansive and the limbs stretched out — can have a profound effect on how you feel. 

Even though more than 20 million have already viewed the wildly successful TED talk by Amy Cuddy, I couldn’t help but share it here. Her findings on body language are simple, and truly powerful.

Cuddy is a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School where she studies how nonverbal behavior and snap judgments affect people, from the breakroom to the boardroom.

Amy Cuddy

In a nutshell, Cuddy’s research on body language reveals that we can change our body chemistry, confidence levels — and outcomes — simply by changing body positions.

Cuddy has studied leaders and successful people carefully. She’s found that leaders and powerful people are typically more assertive and more confident. They actually feel that they’ll win at anything, even games of chance. They also tend to think more abstractly.

Physiologically, powerful people produce more testosterone, which is the dominance hormone. They also happen to produce less cortisol, which is the stress hormone. Clearly, it’s  good to be confident and calm at the same time. It drives positivity and performance.

What Cuddy has found is that basic body language — power poses — can activate our minds to make us feel more assertive and positive, and improve our performance.

Common power poses include (see photo at right):power poses

  • Wonder Woman – hands on hips
  • Pride – arms raised in a V above the head
  • Executive Head Hold – clasping your hands and putting them behind your head
  • Chairman’s Lean In – standing and leaning forward with hands braced on a table
  • Alpha Arms – arms spread wide, body made bigger

When Cuddy asked research participants to strike these poses for several minutes, she found that hormone levels improved dramatically. Testosterone increased as much as 25 percent and cortisol decreased by 20 percent in some cases.

Want to feel more confident and calm your nerves before your next job interview, boardroom presentation, or meeting with the boss? Just striking the above poses for a few minutes each morning, or before your big moment, can get your mind in the right place for peak performance and winning results.

Have a great week.

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