It is generally agreed that our minds can affect our bodies – mind over matter, as a man thinketh so is he, the placebo effect etc. But can our bodies affect our minds?
There is a school of thought. endorsed by motivational guru Anthony Robbins among others, that argues that your physiology also affects your confidence, and in turn your ability to attract what you want. There is a raft of studies on how our body language affects other people, but not so much on how it affects ourselves.
Social psychologist Amy Cuddy has became famous through her articles and talks on power poses: she proposes that if you stand, sit and move a powerful way, this will affect your nervous system, sending messages of power to your own brain, as well as sending those messages to other people. It’s been found that more powerful people have high levels of testosterone (the dominance hormone) and low levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). One way of feeling and showing power is to open up, spread yourself and take up more space – other animals do it as well. Think of gorillas opening their arms out, birds spreading their wings out just to show off.
Cuddy says, don’t fake it till you make it – fake it till you become it, and it’s internalised.
She has suggested trying a power pose for two minutes (like the one in the photo) before going into a stressful situation and see if it makes a difference. Give it a go and let me know if it works!