So – I have a confession!! Ready for it? I’m a die-hard Gray’s Anatomy fan! There, it’s out and I needed to tell you that, to be able to bring you this important information.
So – a few weeks ago I’m watching the new series of Gray’s Anatomy and our head of Neuroscience character – Amelia – is about to embark on a ground breaking operation to remove a huge, one-of-a-kind tumour from a colleague’s brain. She had drawn huge interest for her theory on how to remove this previously deemed ‘inoperable’ tumour and the attention had added significantly to the pressure.
The day came to operate and, with her nerves mounting, she stood up straight, hands on hips and declared that there was evidence that standing in ‘Super-hero’ pose increases your feelings of power and reduces stress.
Wow (I thought). I wonder if that was just made up for the show?
So I Google’d it (as you do) and found out that it was true!! Confident body language can literally change how you feel in 2 minutes. Cool! I always wanted to be Wonder Woman!
Social psychologist – Amy Cuddy – researched the effect of ‘power-poses’ on individuals and whether ‘posed displays can cause a person to feel more powerful.’
I read her research and watched her TED Talk (you can watch below) and found it totally fascinating that consciously posing (standing or sitting) in high-power displays can cause physiological, psychological, and behavioural changes. The power-pose actually increases the level of testosterone in your system (which increases risk tolerance and feelings of power) and reduces the stress hormone, cortisol therefore lessening the effect of stress and anxiety on your system. (Needed if you are about to perform ground-breaking brain surgery in front of a room full of doctors!)
Higher levels of testosterone (in both men and women) assist you to feel more powerful and confident. This is great if you are naturally born with these hormone levels (as research shows is indicative in many leaders) but what if you’re not?
Well, luckily for the rest of us, Cuddy has found that you can affect your testosterone and cortisol levels by changing your body language. Standing in power-poses for 2 minutes will release more testosterone and give you that feeling of power, confidence and risk-tolerance! YEAH!
Not as keen as I am on Wonder Woman? Don’t feel comfortable channelling Beyonce? No problem, see the images below for more power poses that show confident body language..
How to use this information to increase your Confidence!
Stand in a power-pose for 2 minutes:
– after getting out of bed in the morning;
– before you have to present your ideas to your boss at work;
– before you go into an interview;
– when meeting new people or walking into a networking group;
– when you need some stress reduction from the kids;
– when you are feeling doubt about your abilities;
– before you face the opposition (in sport, the courtroom or at the school gate ????)
– before you walk out and sing to room full of people;
– in the bathroom, a half hour before you walk on stage for your presentation;
– anytime you need to feel powerful and in-control.
Watch Amy Cuddy's inspirational TED talk below.
BE YOU! (And channel Wonder Woman!)