“Our bodies change our minds,
and our minds change our behavior,
and our behavior changes our outcomes.”
- Amy Cuddy
‘High power’ poses have made quite the wave in the scientific community and beyond. If you have not heard of these poses, they are body postures that can have a positive influence on your mental state.
You see, our body language has the power to control how we think and feel about ourselves. When anxiety tricks us into believing we are not confident/prepared/worthy/capable/etc., focusing on your body language can allow you to move past these psychological barriers and remind you of the powerful person that you are.
Before we explain exactly how these power poses influence our minds, let’s introduce you to some of the most popular postures and their uses.
Potentially the most popular is the ‘power pose’, otherwise known as ‘superhero pose’. As the name suggests, this pose involves standing like a superhero:
This pose can do wonders for improving self-confidence, and is best performed preparing for a test, before a big interview, or anytime you feel unsure about yourself. As with all high power poses, you may begin to feel the effects after as little as 2 minutes.
Another popular posture is the ‘v-pose’. In this pose, you plant your feet widely apart and stretch your arms overhead in a ‘v’ shape. This pose allows you to fully expand your chest and lungs, and truly breathe deeply. This makes this pose powerful during moments of high stress or panic. In as little as 2 minutes, you should feel your heart rate decrease, and feel a wave of calmness come over you.
So how do high power poses work?
Amy Cuddy is a leading researcher in the field of body language and psychological benefits. Her research suggests that by standing for as little as 2 minutes in any one of these ‘high power’ poses, can create a hormonal shift in both our testosterone and cortisol levels. These are two important players when it comes to feeling and believing that you are powerful and capable.
Testosterone is our dominance hormone (yes both males and females poses testosterone), with confident and powerful individuals showing high levels of this hormone. Cortisol is often referred to as our ‘stress hormone’, as it is commonly found in high levels for those with chronic stress. From Amy’s research, it has been suggested that when compared to baseline (ie. before adopting the power pose for 2 minutes), people who stood in ‘high power’ poses experienced a 25% decrease in cortisol, as well as a 20% increase in testosterone. This is compared to individuals who maintained a ‘low power’ pose (ie. head down, shoulders curled forward, hands in pockets or on face/chest) who displayed a 25% increase in cortisol, and a 10% decrease in testosterone.
We highly recommend that you take the time to watch Amy’s insightful Ted Talk linked below to learn all about these powerful poses.