I love a TED Talk! I try to find the time and space to watch a couple a week and I’m rarely disappointed in the insights I get from them. Today I squeezed in 20 minutes of ‘TED Time’ before picking the kids up from school, and WOW, what a potentially life changing 20 mins it was!
Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist whose research on body language reveals that we can change other people’s perceptions – and even our own body chemistry – simply by changing body positions.
She talks about how those those who stand (or sit) with a posture of confidence, even if they don’t feel confident, can affect cortisol levels and testosterone levels. As cortisol, which is the ‘fight or flight’ chemical produced during stressful situations, goes up, testosterone levels go down. Given that testosterone is a hormone which plays an important part in dominant and competitive behaviours, it stands to reason that it’s good to have that hormone in our systems when we are wanting to get control of, or influence a situation.
The good news is that we can trick our bodies into dampening the cortisol levels and boosting the testosterone levels before we go into situations that might be stressful! Her studies have shown that simply by standing confidently, with an open, erect stance for just 2 minutes, will significantly reduce cortisol levels in the brain – cortisol which could potentially result in us not performing at our best. Think about going into a job interview, or having to give a talk on stage… two situations that are often stressful, but for which we need to perform at our best! How great would it be if we could manage the ‘flight’ response by reducing the cortisol simply by ‘striking a pose’ for a couple of minutes beforehand, and instead head into the interview, or onto the stage, feeling confident and perhaps dominant!
I’ve included my favourite ‘power pose’ to get you thinking…..
Enjoy Amy’s talk!