#GETLOUD with Power Poses
Mental Health Week
By: Dr. Yashar Khosroshahi, ND
We would never expect anyone, at any age, to become physically fit without the proper support, training, and coaching. Therefore, why should we expect our society to be mentally fit without the same considerations? Enhancing your mental muscles to cope with stress and challenges is very similar to enhancing your physical muscles. A wide range of scientific discoveries show us that the brain has an amazing ability to change, develop, and strengthen, just like any muscle. Our discussions about mental health should encourage openness to support this growth and change. Working together to – do better by thinking better.
In today’s post we explore how Power Poses (figure 1) can be used as a tool for maintaining strong and healthy brain muscles, and for gaining confidence.
Figure 1. Power Poses: Top Row “High Power”, Bottom Row “Low Power” (Images Courtesy of Amy Cuddy, Harvard University)
Battle Stress Like a Superhero
“Tiny tweaks can lead to big changes” Amy Cuddy
Thanks to Amy Cuddy’s research and engaging TED Talk, we are learning how to take advantage of our body language to manage stress and overcome challenges. Cuddy’s work showed us that changing our body language to a “high power” pose for as little as two minutes, initiates communication from the body to the brain in a very dramatic and uplifting manner. When we go into these power poses many physiological and psychological changes can occur, such as:
- Overall positive feelings
- Sense of control
- Optimism about the future
- Explicit and implicit feelings of power and dominance
- Action oriented behaviour
- Pain tolerance
- Performance in high stakes social evaluations
- Testosterone (dominance hormone)
- Cortisol (stress hormone)
Furthermore, a Harvard Business School Study, demonstrated that the impact of performing power poses is not limited to the individual performing them, but also impacts those whom we interact with. The researchers set up mock interviews with the evaluators unaware of which group performed power poses before entering the room. The evaluators perceived the group that had prepared by doing power poses to have superior hireability and better overall performance!
“Don’t fake it until you make it. Fake it until you become it. Do it enough until you actually become it and internalize it.” Amy Cuddy
Curious? Try it out for yourself. This intervention is essentially available to anyone at nearly anytime, and with the added benefit of not having a cost or need for technology associated with it. Give it a try, and #GETLOUD with Power Poses.