We no longer believe that our brains are computers and our body’s are its slave. Instead, we have come to realize that cognition (perception) is more of a two-way street. Just like our brain, our body is a powerful network for perception, and it can change how the brain processes information.
We have learned that our body language can change and shape our lives. Think about it, using your body to override negative stories could be the next step towards making your dreams come true.
One of the most fun and effective discussion’s on the body-brain connection came from social psychologist Amy Cuddy during her talk at TEDGlobal 2012. Cuddy began her talk by offering a “low-tech life hack” that promised to help you utilize your body language to affect testosterone and cortisol levels in your brain.
Cuddy then demonstrated “power posing.” Standing in a big posture for as little as two minutes can have an effect on confidence levels.
Cuddy has collected evidence that this posture lowers cortisol and increases testosterone levels. Her big idea quickly spread like wildfire and has been viewed over 25 million times. Here’s the link in case you’ve missed it. http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are#t-28194
It didn’t take long for an association between “power posing” and a superhero posture to ended up on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I’ve got to hand it to Grey’s writer Shonda Rhimes for getting it right. She framed it perfectly. And did not associate it with the catchphrase “fake it till you make it” like Cuddy did in her talk. (http://abc.go.com/shows/greys-anatomy/episode-guide/season-11/14-the-distance).
I’ve added “Superhero” or “Get Big” pose to my arsenal of life tools and have begun sharing it with my clients because it resonates true for a couple of reasons.
First of all, the superhero pose triggers a shift in your attention. You remove your focus from your worries –toward how you are going to crush it. Your thoughts are less self-consciousness and more focused on the task at hand.
Secondly, it reminds me of the athletic position. The athletic position assumes a posture of readiness, balance, and explosiveness. There is no doubt about how that powerful that posture feels. I can’t help but believe that there is an automatic association with those qualities.
Despite it seeming a little silly and overly simplistic, there is nothing silly about empowerment. Learning how to harness the power within is often done thru the use of little things, than big. Superhero pose might not banish all of your anxiety but it can be just what you need to take that first courageous step toward your goal. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.