“Our bodies change our minds, and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.” ~ Amy Cuddy
I found the subject of this TED Talk by social psychologist Amy Cuddy to be very compelling, not just because of the possible impact for making personal changes by following her suggestions. I also felt that it illustrates another example of the mind and body being woven together, and suggests that the more we pay attention to that integration between body and mind, the better it is for our overall health and well-being.
“Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.”
Simply by standing or sitting in a powerful or confident posture for just a few minutes a day, you can change your brain chemistry by reducing cortisol levels and increasing testosterone levels.
Could it really be that simple? Perhaps.
Your mood and your thoughts certainly affect your posture and the levels of tension you hold in your body, and long-term patterns of tightness or stress can multiply those effects. For example, if you’re holding a lot of stress or tension in your chest, or your shoulders and back are really tight, then you walk and stand and sit in a way that accommodates that tightness all day, which in turn causes other areas of the body to compensate for that, which leads to more posture and alignment issues.
It certainly seems possible to me for the reverse to be true, in that you can make adjustments to your posture and body language that will then also affect your body chemistry and therefore your moods and your thoughts. I’ve noticed my own body “patterns” happening, and am trying to be vigilant about changing them to a healthier version by breaking these little cycles and learning new patterns of movement instead, and these two minute exercises fit the bill.
And what the heck else were ya gonna do with those two minutes, anyway?
*Image of “little superhero” via Shutterstock