Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist, professor and researcher at Harvard Business School who studies body language and power dynamics. Specifically, she researches how people judge and communicate both power/competence and warmth/trustworthiness and how these judgments -- coming from others and from within ourselves -- can predict our life outcomes. For example, there is research that shows how the more a patient likes and connects with their doctor, the less likely they are to file a malpractice suit. Similarly, when we judge ourselves in a positive or negative light our failure or success often follows suit. Like I wrote before, our self-talk can influence our emotions, actions, and ultimately our personality.
We know that our minds can change our bodies, but can our bodies change our minds? According to Cuddy’s research the answer is yes! You may not feel powerful or you may lack confidence, but stand in one of her suggested power poses for 2 minutes and you will become more powerful physiologically – experiencing higher testosterone (our dominance hormone) levels and lower cortisol (our stress hormone) levels. As revealed in her talk below and research paper, posing in high-power positions causes neuroendocrine and behavioral changes that lead to increased feelings of power, and higher risk tolerance. Specifically, expansive, open postures that take up space project high power, whereas contractive, closed postures that minimize space by collapsing the body inward project low power.
By simply changing our posture, we can prepare our mental and physiological systems to endure difficult and stressful situations. It can help improve our performance during a job interview, while speaking in public, and managing difficult conversations with others. As Cuddy describes, it’s not in what we say, but in our presence – our comfort, authenticity, passion, enthusiasm and confidence.
Cuddy's Ted Talk has truly made an impact in my life and brings me to tears, especially within her final comment that has more or less become my mantra: Don’t fake it until you make it, fake it until you become it! And as she encourages us all to try power posing, she also implores us to share this science with others since those who can benefit from it most are often those who feel chronically powerless due to a lack of resources, low hierarchical rank, or membership in a low-power social group. Our bodies change our minds, our minds change our behavior, and our behavior changes our outcomes. Please share her talk and fake it until you become it! What do you want to become?
Hello and welcome! My name is Andrea Notch Mayzeles. I am a Certified Health Education Specialist, Mom, and Master of Public Health dedicated to the path of well-being. As a wellness professional I am committed to continued learning and am here to share research, recipes and musings on health, psychology, personal development, and parenting. I hope you enjoy!