Your mind shapes your body. But does it go both ways, can your body shape your mind?
Let’s try. I’d invite you to try a quick experiment for me.
Stand up and shake your body out, just where you are is fine. Now place your legs a little wider than shoulder width and put your hands on your hips. Pull your shoulders back, and lift your chest and your chin a little. If you remember WonderWoman or SuperMan you’re aiming to look like them (you can forget the costume though). Adjust your breathing, make it deep and controlled, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Good work. Now keep doing that for the next 30 seconds or so…go on, it’s only 30 seconds.
Done? Great, how do you feel? Ready to leap tall buildings with a single bound? OK maybe not, however I’m imagining you’re feeling more powerful, more confident, more relaxed than you did before this fun experiment. And there’s good reason.
This WonderWoman or SuperMan pose is known as a Non-Verbal Power Pose, and it’s the natural stance of a person who typically feels powerful, confident and optimistic. We know that ‘powerful’ people have higher levels of Testosterone (the dominant hormone) and lower levels of Cortisol (the stress hormone).
Research has shown by adopting this or other Power Poses for as little as 2 minutes, you can trick your mind into thinking you’re feeling powerful, even if you are not. As a result of holding this physical posture you directly influence the level of Cortisol and Testosterone your brain produces.
In case I’ve lost you let me explain why I get so excited about this sort of research.
What this means is there is a very real and direct link between your body and your mind. We have known for many years how powerful an influence the mind has over the body, but only recently has science discovered your body can influence your mind, it does indeed go both ways. So in other words, your body can change your mind.
Armed with this knowledge you can bring this into your real life circumstances. Imagine any situation which normally makes you feel vulnerable, scared, uneasy or threatened. A job interview, speaking in front of a group, any circumstance where you know you are going to be stressed. Stress equals Cortisol, which in small amounts is appropriate however we live in a stressed out world where elevated Cortisol levels may create a host of health problems, obesity being one.
The research on the Power Poses showed by adopting these stances you can effectively ‘fake it until you make it’. Meaning even if you don’t necessarily feel that confident or protected going into a situation, by adopting these stances before and/or during the event you can directly influence how your body responds.
I feel as though I can’t do this research justice so I’d encourage you to watch Harvard University Associate Professor Amy Cuddy demonstrate how powerful the body/mind connection is , and how easily you can use these simple techniques to change your outcomes.
See the Power Poses – easy body techniques for a powerful mind video and start using these simple techniques today to influence life in a positive way.