I am one of millions who were influenced by Amy Cuddy’s TED talk – Your body shapes who you are – from 2012. When I watched the video some time back, I thought it was so path breaking that I did a series on it on my blog to share it with the world. I introduced what is power pose in the first post and shared Cuddy’s video in the next. (I recommend that you read the post and watch the video to put the tips in this post to best use) And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, Amy released her book on power pose, Presence, in December last year. Although I immediately bought the book on Amazon, it took me a while to read it slow enough to do justice to it. And it literally blew my mind away! Although, taking the time to read it has made me watch my pose wherever I am, especially before stressful situations.
The book is a brilliant insight into the social experiments conducted to conclusively claim that our body language does affect our mindset. The testosterone-cortisol levels test is so simple that anyone can understand the science behind it. And the damage that iPosture is doing to us is now a proven fact. (Can’t imagine how many hours I spent hunched over my phone!) I say read the book to understand the things I am talking about.
I realise that I got carried away in this post, as I usually do about this. In this post, I want to share some simple and easy tips from the book that will help you make power pose a part of your life. It’s as easy as putting your hands on your hips while brushing your teeth! Here are a few more:
1. In private spaces like your own room, waiting areas or restrooms, practice expansive postures before your big meetings or stressful situations.
2. Don’t hunch over your phone in waiting rooms. We tend to curl up in anticipation of stressful situations which makes us feel powerless.
3. Even if you are sitting in a meeting with other people, just wrap your hands around the back of the chair and clasp your hands. This helps you expand your chest and get into a power pose easily.
4. While sitting on a chair, don’t wrap your ankles across each other. Keep your feet planted on the ground.
5. As far as possible, move around during phone calls or meetings, so that you can stretch yourself and practise big poses.
6. To remind yourself to power pose, use props that will make you open up. Hang your favourite picture above your work table so that you’ll take a break from being bent over your work to look up. Place your mouse further away from the keyboard so that you take up more space to reach it.
7. Use post-its or pictures with power poses to remind you get into them and feel powerful anytime. (A reader wrote to Amy about how her family had made power posing a part of their life and called it “starfish-up” and the husband bought the wife a diamond starfish ring to remind her that power was within her to muster it any time she wants!)
8. Pay attention and recognise the stimuli that make you become small. As you shrink yourself in response, remind yourself to do just the opposite. Just posing big for a couple of minutes can bring you back to feeling powerful.
9. Stretch out on bed when you go to sleep and stretch back when you wake up in whatever position. Begin the day by power posing in your favourite pose to get a confident start. (Hands on hips while brushing one’s teeth is a real brain wave)
10. This one takes the cake and it couldn’t be easier to feel powerful! Research has proven that physically challenged people who cannot move their arms and legs feel powerful just by imagining that they were in a power pose. And so can everyone else. In a situation where you might look funny standing like superman/woman, just imagine yourself puffing up!
Pick up the ones that work for you best and start with them. I have seen the difference it makes and you can feel the power too. I’d love to hear which ones worked for you. Do tell me in the comments and share your experiences with other readers too.
(Disclaimer: This is not a paid post to promote the book. I genuinely loved it and want to share these insights with the world. Also, I have tried to rewrite her ideas from memory and using the same terms as her is purely co-incidental)