Research by social psychologist Professor Amy Cuddy, shows a link between our body language, our hormone levels, our feelings and our behaviour. By adopting powerful stances we can increase our testosterone levels (linked to assertiveness and risk taking) and decrease cortisol levels (linked to stress).
Cuddy argues that humans express power through open, expansive postures (think of an athlete expressing triumph) and powerlessness through closed, contractive postures.
Next time you are on a tube, in the office or at a social gathering watch people’s body language looking at how some people own their space (legs and arms outstretched) whereas other people take an almost apologetic stance (limbs close to the body, folded over taking minimal space). By adopting a powerful stance for just 2 minutes we can increase our powerful behaviours. If we are facing a situation that needs us to feel powerful and confident we can spend just 2 minutes somewhere private adopting a powerful stance, which will result in us behaving more powerfully. By adopting a powerful stance we can not only ‘pretend’ to be more powerful and confident then we feel, we can in time actually become that more confident and powerful person.
To hear a powerful story about not just faking it until she made it but faking it until she became it watch Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk.