Category Archives: confidence

Do the Power Pose, It’s all the Rage

We know that our minds affect our bodies, for example, anxiety causes us to shiver, embarrassment to blush, and anger to feel warm. But is the inverse true? Can our bodies affect our minds?

According to Dana R. Carney , Amy J.C. Cuddy , and Andy J. Yap of Harvard and Columbia Universities, “Humans and other animals express power through open, expansive postures, and they express powerlessness through closed, contractive postures.” Chimpanzees hold their breath to puff out their chests to show power. While hiking in Montana, a park ranger suggested, if we met up with a brown bear, to stand tall, straight, shoulders back, and chests wide to show our strength.

The researchers found that  “… posing in high-power nonverbal displays (as opposed to low-power nonverbal displays) … cause neuroendocrine and behavioral changes for both male and female participants”. People who were high-power posers experienced elevations in testosterone, the dominance hormone, and decreases in cortisol, the stress hormone. The high-power posers described increased feelings of power and tolerance for risk while the low-power posers described feelings associated with powerlessness. And this occurred after only 2 minutes of posing.

Just 2 minutes of changing our posture can change our hormones, our mood and boost our confidence.

Power pose equals expansive body, low-power pose equals hunched body with crossed arms and/or legs.

What is a standing power pose?

Reference:

Carney D.R., Cuddy A.J.C. & Yap A.J. (2010). Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance, Psychological Science, 21 (10) 1363-1368. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797610383437