As I am battling my way through finals week here in Oberlin, I’m in need of all the ammunition possible to make it out alive, and hopefully with good grades. One of my favorite tactics involves the use of power poses. That’s right people. There is a way to harness our inner model, strike a pose and raise our confidence all in one go.
Hormones, those pesky little things that we often blame for mood swings and off days, can actually also help us feel more confident and less stressed! According to researchers, the most powerful leaders tend to show high levels of testosterone and low levels of cortisol. Testosterone can lead to increased confidence in any gender, and low cortisol levels tend to lower anxiety and stress as well.
How can we manipulate our hormones to be at our most powerful? It’s all a matter of body language.
Amy Cuddy, a researcher at Harvard University, studies body language and its impact on our hormones. She has given a TED talk on the subject, which you can view here. Cuddy and her team of researchers have deemed different positions as “low power” or “high power.” They collected this information by testing the saliva of research subjects before and after the subject had held a certain pose. The high power poses tend to be open and relaxed, while low power poses are closed off and protective.
How can you use power poses in your daily life? The high power pose with the most impact is known as the Wonder Woman pose, but of course is helpful for people of all genders. You simply stand tall, with your chest out and your hands on your hips. Holding this pose for two minutes will cause the shift in hormones needed to go into any final feeling confident. You can try and involve power poses in your daily life by practicing one as part of your morning routine, maybe even striking a pose while you wait in line for that morning cup of joe. Once you’re aware of body language and the powerful effect it can have internally as well as externally, you can adjust it whenever you like.
Confidence isn’t only a thing of the mind. It’s a practice involving your mind and your body. And the idea of faking it til you make it isn’t really so far-fetched. If you want to feel more confident, you have the power to change up your hormonal balance and let the testosterone do the work for you. We are all Wonder Woman with the right posture!