Years of dance training have taught me that the shapes we make with our bodies can have a profound influence on our moods and emotions. Perhaps nowhere has the mind-body connection more been more evident to me than in the dance studio; the way a student feels about a step, a correction, or a part of their body is almost always so apparent in the way they physically approach the challenges of codified movement. Science is beginning to support this notion as well: Amy Cuddy, a former professional ballet dancer, traumatic brain injury survivor, and current behavioral psychologist, has explored the notion that body positions can affect mood in people as they prepare for stressful events, and while her study– as all scientific studies should be– is a topic of heated debate, testimonials have been pouring in from people whose lives have changed for the better. “Power poses”, as the media has dubbed them, are brief postures that just about anyone can learn. They’re free, accessible, and have no side effects other than people looking at you strangely if you choose to execute them in public… So in my opinion, they’re absolutely worth a try.
Here are the poses, as demonstrated by study participants:
To learn more, listen to Amy Cuddy talk about power posing on this episode of the (wonderful) podcast 10% Happier:
And here’s her wildly popular TED talk:
…As Dr. Cuddy says:
Fake it until you become it.
(image credit: comicbookbrain.com, jamesclear.com)