How’s your posture right now? Are you slouched over the screen? Are you touching your neck or crossing your legs? Maybe, like me, you’ve even got them folded up to your chest. It’s true. I’m the biggest slouching Sally out there, and therefore am an expert on low-power posture. The fact that I married a chiropractor is one of those ironic god-sends, because before I started getting adjusted, I was starting to look a little like this:
Before I was aware of my posture, I never realized what I was projecting to the world. My low-power posture projected an image of low confidence, passivity, pessimism and guardedness (not to mention messed up my spinal/pelvic alignment!).
Now that body language paints an image of confidence, assertion, optimism and openness. High-power posture clearly projects a strong presence declaring, “I’m the best candidate for this job.”, or “This is my carcass, you Eurasian Griffin bitches.” You only have to take one short glance at that picture to see who’s the boss.
We use nonverbal cues all the time to make judgments about the people around us. Our body language has a definite affect on the external world and what other people think of us, but social status aside, could it also have an inwards effect? What does our posture make us think about ourselves? How does our posture affect our moods, stress levels, behaviour, choices and ultimately, our whole lives?
Social scientist, Amy Cuddy set out to explore just that. Ever hear about that study where people who forced a smile during their morning shower, felt happier throughout the day? Amy took that knowledge that the body affects the mind, and applied it to the area of posture.
She wondered, if people adopted a high-power pose versus a low-power pose for 2 minutes, how might that effect them hormonally? She tested the saliva of her subjects before and after their 2 minute pose, and found this:
- Those who had been in a high-power pose showed a 20% increase in testosterone, and a 25% decrease in cortisol (stress hormone).
- Those who had been in a low-power pose showed a 10% decrease in testosterone, and a 10% increase in cortisol.
The high-power posers also took more risks, and were rated more hireable than their low-posture counterparts.
I know which pose I’m picking before my next job interview.
Wellness and personal development often start from inner changes in the mind and then span out to the physical world. But where there is awareness, they can just as easily spring from the physical world to the inner world. Whether you’re trying to get your dream job, reach your goal weight, or land a hot bird, you’ll do yourself a world of favour by becoming aware of your posture. Present yourself as you would if your goal was already realized, and your mind will begin to believe it.
Your body affects your mind, your mind affects your behaviour, and your behaviour affects your outcomes. Think of your posture as a physical affirmation, signalling to the world, and more importantly to yourself that ‘you are confident, you are powerful and you deserve to be here’.
Please watch Amy Cuddy’s TED talk at the bottom of this post, and learn more about your posture and how it shapes who you are!
“Don’t fake it til you make it, fake it til you become it.” Amy Cuddy
“Whoever becomes receptive to the idea of peace, poise and calm – whoever embodies these divine realities – finds them flowing through him and he becomes peaceful, poised and calm.” – Ernest Holmes