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“Power Pose” Your Way to Success

Body language as a form of nonverbal communication is nothing new. The way we sit in an interview, our hand gestures, facial expressions – all of these things can say a lot about who we are to the person interviewing us.

But did you know your body language can also directly affect how you feel about your own self?

Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist and associate professor at Harvard Business School, has done numerous research on the impact body language has on our hormones. She is most famous for her concept of “power posing.” In her TED Talk, Amy Cuddy shares an easy way that anyone can cultivate greater confidence. 

According to her research, spending two minutes “power posing” – with your elbows out, chin high, and posture kept expansive; similar to what you’d expect from Wonder Woman, can produce an improvement in one’s level of confidence. Cuddy’s research contends that adopting the body language associated with dominance for just 2 minutes, is enough to increase testosterone levels by 20 percent, and decrease the stress hormone cortisol by 25 percent. 

In her Ted Talk, Cuddy discusses how women in particular tend to often shrink in public settings. The men in her Harvard classes shoot their arms straight up to answer questions, while women tend to slightly raise their hand in a bent-elbow wave. She contends that, “these postures are associated with powerlessness and intimidation and keep people back from expressing who they really are.”

So how do you make this research work in your life?

Being aware of your body language is just another form of mindfulness.

Amy Cuddy’s research may help when you need a confidence booster from time to time, but i don’t believe improving your body language is the only thing needed to becoming more confident.

That being said, it is evident that confidence involves cooperation with both your mind and body. From Amy Cuddy’s research, assuming better body language, and expanding your physical presence, can play a vital role in your level of confidence. However, your personality and emotional state can also impact your confidence level.

Most importantly, the findings in Cuddy’s research can be used as an effective tool to foster greater confidence whenever you need a little boost.

If you’re feeling stressed before an interview or presentation – take a moment to be mindful in your posture. Try her tactic. Go to the restroom, take two minutes to yourself to stand in a powerful position. Feel like Wonder Woman, and walk in that room and own it.

Your behaviors and emotions are closely linked. The most powerful leaders don’t just think a certain way, they carry themselves a certain way


Chynna Chan

C of C '19

International Businesss major and Spanish minor at the College of Charleston. Originally from San Diego, CA. Lover of Hot Cheetos and Mexican street tacos. Meditation advocate. Traveler. Foodie. Interested in saving the world. 
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