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  • Writer's picturevivevans

Power Poses - Bringing your Boldest Self!

For some time now I have been concerned about, what seems to me, a rising anxiety in people, especially in young people. I had been struggling to nail why this would be the case - what could the cause be? I am not saying I have nailed the cause and the solution but the research by author and Harvard professor Amy Cuddy makes a lot of sense as to what could be enhancing the rise in anxiety and certainly she has some simple strategies where we need to 'nudge ourselves, moment by moment, by tweaking our body language behaviour and mindset in our day to day lives.

I was recommended The Ted Talk video which I have included below and it is a great overview of Amy's research and presented by Amy herself so it shares her honesty and passion on the subject of her research.

Amy shares her personal journey and struggle when she suffered brain injury after being thrown out of car whilst she was a student at University and how that accident rocked her world and dashed her personal self confidence.

'Presence - Bringing your BOLDEST SELF to you BIGGEST CHALLENGES' by Amy Cuddy was released in 2016 and is published in book and audio formats. I personally think every library should possess a copy of this. It does go into a lot of detail about her research and of others.

The powerful and essential message that Amy shares from her research is that the way you hold your body when sitting and standing influences the way you feel. Yes that's right your body influences your mind! We often here of the other way of mind over body... but she has researched to prove that our body and the way we hold ourselves can influence our mind.

By engaging your 'Power Pose', whether it standing tall and with an open chest and hands on hips (like Wonder Woman or Super Man) or with your arms stretch up in the air like you just won a race you are releasing and changing your release of hormones in your body.

Studies are proving that 'Power Poses' increase your testosterone ('dominance' hormone) and lower your cortisol ('stress' hormone).

The big insight for me and my concern for increasing anxiety in people I know is the possibility the the increased use of small technology devices such as mobile phones brings people into the powerless pose and thus lessens testosterone and increases cortisol the 'stress' hormone. Maybe that is having a gradual and insidious affect on our bodies and our minds. Teenagers are growing up with these devices and spending extended times in powerless poses.

Perhaps we should be going for bigger devices... such as wide screen touch computer screens getting us to open up our upper bodies and use big movements... (darn those convenient little easy to carry, ever useful mobile phones!)

Here are some 'take aways' that I gleaned from my reading and viewing a variety of Amy's Ted Talks and videos.

  • Start with Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk to get a good picture in 20 minutes.

  • Choose and practice your personal power pose for 2 minutes e.g. ‘Star it up!’, Wonder woman, race winning pose, sitting up straight.

  • No one need see and if they do - awesome you are spreading the news to them too!

  • Smile and laugh at the moment!

  • Reduce your time hunched over small devices - this puts you in the powerless mode

  • Engage your family & friends in it too! Let's spread the word!!

  • Engage in activities that open your front e.g. painting on large canvases, lay under the stars and stretch your arms out, make angels in the snow, dust or even lying in bed.

Here is a recording of my LIVE@Lunch event sharing these very 'take-aways'

Pictured below is the finishing results of a workshop I ran with a bunch of awesome Rural Women at Lightning Ridge as part of THE Rural Woman Full Bloom program. After the workshop we all felt positive and powerful after stretching our arms and creativity on these big canvases! Using power poses in a fun and creative way.

Smiling women holding up large paintings they created

My youngest daughter recently went for a job interview and was stressed before hand having had to rush from school to be ready for the interview... we struck the 'star pose' together (I must say she was a little reluctant) but she did it, giggled and went off to blitz the interview and got the job! For her HSC exams I encouraged her to do the power poses each morning and she even did it in her exam chair when a maths question had her a little worried - she stretched her arms out in her seat and then feeling that much more confident she gave the tricky question a shot!

I would love to hear of your experiences with engaging power poses... why not reply below.

If you would like some further information or perhaps to join in a workshop focused on improving your confidence & related activities then register your interest for further updates and resources.

Star it UP! and have a brilliant week! Cheers Vivian

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