How Changing Your Posture Could Change Your Life
This smile/happy attitude shows that the body is able to induce mental states in much the same way that the mind induces physical states. Some of the most interesting work in this arena - of the psychological effect of your physiology - comes from social psychologist Amy Cuddy, whose Ted Talk, “Your body language shapes who you are,” has racked up 40,472,758 views (and counting).
The concept is simple; stand with the posture of a confident person and voila: you become one. This is especially interesting to us at Elvie, since we are so invested in bolstering women’s confidence.
But back to Cuddy. The basic theory is called “power posing,” and I tried it, and the results were staggering. An occasional actress, I often wind up in audition rooms with 35 other girls (who look just like me) huddled over our phones, eyes on the ground. Then, when we are called into the room, we all “spring to life” - or so we think. By Cuddy’s estimation, the residual effects of hunching for 40 minutes affects our mental state, telling ourselves, through our bodies, I’m not good enough.
So I took Cuddy’s prescription. At a recent audition, while the other actresses texted their friends “there is a weird lady standing like Wonder Woman next to me” I stood in the corner like Wonder Woman: feet apart, hands on hips, chin up. The Wonder Woman stance is one of Cuddy’s faves. And I got a callback - in fact, I’ve gotten callbacks almost every darn time I’ve done it.
Because it turns out that body language does not just affect how others see us; it affects how we see ourselves too, in a fundamental way. And this isn’t just mumbo jumbo; I’m about to mention hormones, so you know it is real! According to the TED talk, standing in a confident, powerful pose even affects testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain.
Some people have since called Cuddy’s study not-so-studious - and criticized her sample size, etc. But hey, did they get cast in an IHOP commercial as a result of standing like Wonder Woman? I didn’t think so! So, I choose to believe Cuddy’s theory, and stand accordingly: with confidence.