Can your body language influence your physiology, mind and behaviour? Absolutely according to Amy Cuddy a social psychologist at Harvard Business School. Check out her wildly popular TED talk below.
An intriguing part of the talk discusses an experiment which looked at the impact of posture on both testosterone (dominance hormone) and cortisol (stress hormone.)
During the experiment participants provided an initial saliva sample before being instructed to hold a high power pose or low power pose for two minutes. Next they were given the opportunity to gamble before having a second sample of saliva collected. Once completed both saliva samples were tested for levels of testosterone and cortisol and the results were astonishing.
The high power pose group saw their testosterone increase on average by 20% whilst their cortisol fell by 25%. On the flip side, the low power pose group saw their testosterone fall by 10% and their cortisol rise by 15%. This is a pretty significant shift and after just two minutes of holding an assertive or submissive posture.
Testosterone response graphic:
Cortisol response graphic:
Needless to say you are going to have a lot more vigour for life when your testosterone is up and your cortisol is down.
A lasting message of the talk is that tiny tweaks can leads to big changes, a theme which holds true for many aspects of health and fitness. By adopting more powerful postures in day to day life (even if we don’t feel particularly powerful) we can positively impact our biochemistry which positively impacts our mindset which positively impacts our behaviour and outcomes.
In Amy Cuddy’s words, you can fake it till you become it.
- Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are by Amy Cuddy