The one simple trick that can rid you of anxiety and fear.
By Amy Crawford
Your body language shapes who you are.
This is the title of a TED Talk I viewed last night. It has become one of the most watched TED talks of all time.
Within the talk, professor Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist of Harvard University states that by standing within certain poses, even if we can only visualise it, we can give ourselves an instant boost of self esteem, even when we do not feel truly confident on the outside.
It's the notion of faking it until you make it.
Amy's research highlights the power of "thinking yourself big". By holding this thought about your posture for just two minutes we can change our brains and our thoughts, making us more assertive and less anxious.
It's all in the science.
After two minutes of assuming this positive thought about your posture, testosterone levels increase by 20%, while cortisol levels decrease by 25%.
And studies show that great leaders show trends of having high levels of testosterone and low levels of cortisol.
So, what is a powerful pose? One that portrays confidence.
Compare a hand on your hips stance to that of a person who is hunched over, arms crossed. You know which portrays confidence without me even having to tell you.
Professor Cuddy's study shows that by standing in certain body positions, we can make ourselves not only appear more confident to others but also feel this way. In other words, we can change who we are.
Our brain's chemistry would change, literally. And therefore, over time, our personality would as well.
So, I want to broach an idea with you.
Do you think smiling can make you feel happier?
What about if you really don't feel like smiling? Do you think that by faking it you could turn your mood around?
Professor Cuddy seems to think so:
"If we convince ourselves that we are happy and smile often, or that we are confident and fearless and start acting this way, over time, we do become happier and more confident".
The power of the mind is a wonderful thing, but there is not much in this world that is more powerful than a smile.
Can you take on the challenge to rewire your brain with the power of your thoughts? I'd love you to report back with the results. This is your challenge for the next month.