Ahhhh. Spring arrives with its promise of melting snow and delicious warm air. Crocuses and daffodils push green tips through the thawing earth. As they unfurl themselves, their full beauty is revealed as they turn toward the sunlight.
Let springtime provide you with a similar opportunity, an unfurling into greater self-expression, of owning your space; being in your full power.
While the snow of winter is a perfect metaphor for the white, blank slate of a new year, the bone-chilling cold has us tightening up our chests, rounding our shoulders. This posture is NOT conducive to living large; it in fact has us settling into a small, protective huddle as we stave off the frigid weather.
Consider this: open, expansive postures reflect and signal power; imagine Wonder Woman, the confident CEO with feet on desk and arms linked behind their head, or the arms up of the athlete crossing the finish line. These are body-mind expressions by individuals who already feel powerful. Contrast this to powerless people who do the opposite — contracting, hunching and making themselves smaller.
The Profound Mind-Body Connection
According to the research conducted by Amy Cuddy and Dana Carney, both experimental social psychologists, who’ve studied the connection between the mind and high-power poses, when it comes to power, the MIND shapes the body, and the BODY also shapes the mind.
The results of the Cuddy/Carney research demonstrate the profound power of the mind-body connection. After sitting or standing alone in a room in a high-power pose for just two minutes, participants in their experiments resembled powerful people: emotionally, cognitively, behaviorally and even physiologically.
Not only did participants feel more powerful, they were more willing to take risks, present their ideas with greater confidence and enthusiasm, perform better in demanding situations, and participants experienced significant increases in testosterone — a hormone linked to assertiveness — and significant decreases in cortisol, a hormone linked to stress.
Amazingly, as Cuddy notes, “it simply takes two minutes of preparatory power posing to optimize the brain to function well in high-stakes challenges.”
Own Your Power
Since two minutes is all it takes to help you feel stronger and more confident, less stressed and fearful, use these two powerful minutes to bring your authentic and spirited self to challenging situations where you’d like to perform at your best – like a job interview, or going out on a date, or meeting with your ex-spouse and the divorce lawyers.
Before you enter a stressful and challenging situation, choose to adopt a power pose somewhere where you will have at least two minutes of privacy – in the elevator, a bathroom stall, the stairwell – so you can show up as your most assertive, beautiful self. Here are the poses you can try according to the space at hand:
The Power Pose
- Take a few minutes – at least two – before walking into a stressful interaction to open up and occupy more space – Big is beneficial.
- Establish and maintain deep relaxing in and out breaths.
- Choose one of the following power poses:
- Stand with your feet apart and your hands on your hips, or
- Stand with your feet apart and your arms reaching up in a ‘V’ or
- Sit with your legs in front of you, feet propped up on desk or a table, leaning back, with your hands on the back of your head, fingers interlaced, and elbows pointing out.
- Hold the pose of choice for at least two minutes.
Consider adopting a power pose first thing in the morning to jumpstart your day with a confidence booster.
Remember, your MIND shapes your body and your BODY shapes your mind – choose to shape it in service of your most confident, enthusiastic, assertive, and best self.