Try power poses to increase your confidence (DW#473)

Have you noticed how our posture reflects our feelings?

When we are sad, we tend to look down and frown, when anxious we might tap our feet, fidget or shift our eyes and when we are happy we often smile.

But how we position our bodies doesn’t just reflect how we feel, it can also change how we feel.

For example, if we act confident even when we are not feeling confident, we may increase our feelings of confidence.

According to recent research: "Posture has a bigger impact on body and mind than anyone believed. Striking a powerful, expansive pose actually changes a person’s hormones and behavior, and even have an impact on how you are perceived in the working world," saysWall Street Journal columnist Sue Shellenbarger.

And we don’t have to change your posture or pose for long. A few minutes seems to be all you need to have an impact on our feelings.

In her research with Dana Carney at UC-Berkeley, Amy J.C. Cuddy has focused on how nonverbal expressions of power, termed "power posing," impacts people’s feelings, behaviors, and hormone levels.

Cuddy maintains that when you assume these postures, even though they may feel fake, as if you are pretending to be powerful, when you actually feel quite insecure, your hormones and your behaviors change. In as little as two minutes in a pose, Cuddy’s research found increases in people’s testosterone, decreases in their cortisol, increases in their appetite for risk, and better performance in job interviews.

The take-away from this research appears to be that if your body position is powerful, your feelings and thoughts will begin to change to match your body. What we once might have assumed was a one-way street with our feelings and thoughts causing us to take on a particular posture is now believed to a more circular process: Body position influences thoughts and feelings, which influences body position and so on.

Powerful stuff!

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