It’s all in the Pose! Simple Postures that will Make You Feel Powerful and Confident
All of us have those up and down moments of feeling in charge. You know the ones… One minute you’re the alpha dog in the room, the next you want to run for cover. But what if you could learn how to control your feelings of security and power?
New research shows you can! According to Harvard Business School professor Amy J.C. Cuddy, all of us are able to summon an extra surge of power just by holding our bodies in expansive, “high-power” poses for as little as two minutes. According to Cuddy, a power pose “stimulates higher levels of testosterone (the hormone linked to power and dominance in the animal and human worlds) and lower levels of cortisol (the “stress” hormone that, over time, can cause impaired immune functioning, hypertension, and memory loss).”
The end result: A stronger feeling of power and a greater tolerance for risk.
“We used to think that emotion ended on the face,” Cuddy says. “Now there is established research showing that while it’s true that facial expressions reflect how you feel, you can also ‘fake it until you make it.’ In other words, you can smile long enough that it makes you feel happy. This work extends that finding on facial feedback, which is decades old, by focusing on postures and measuring neuroendocrine levels.”
So, what about the poses? What are they?
Expansive poses that convey power and authority may vary. Common power poses include the classic feet on desk, hands behind head; then, standing and leaning on one’s hands over a desk. Research shows that almost any pose that requires your arms and legs to be stretched out can spike a person’s testosterone and drop cortisol. And, it works for both genders.
This research should not dictate how you behave among your peers. You don’t want to go in and be totally dominant at an important meeting or interview. BUT, you can make yourself feel as big as you can by power posing beforehand. While striking a pose for two minutes won’t make you smarter or more likable, it will affect your presence – your confidence and ability to captivate. Try it and see for yourself. Good luck!