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Fascinating research is confirming that choosing more cheery body language can translate into the physiological responses that make us feel better! In just a matter of minutes, chemical changes take place in the body (and brain!) in response to particular postures or poses. These responses, however, work both ways… choosing a despondent posture or shuffling around looking at your feet can keep you feeling low as much as lifting your chin and producing a smile can make your spirits soar. Turns out that body language not only informs others, but it informs us!
Amy Cuddy, social psychologist, has spent years researching how body language impacts our own physiological responses. In her TED Talk on this very topic, she explains the profound impact on the body and mind when one simply assumed a more “powerful” pose for as little as 2 minutes prior to entering a stressful situation. Not only did the test show differences in how others perceived the test subjects, but revealed that the internal chemistry of the subjects shifted in relation to whether they had assumed a positive or negative stance prior to testing. Imagine how your mind and body could be impacted by more consistent changes in body language and posture if it only took 2 minutes to shift biochemistry in test subjects! For the full take on this intriguing research, check out the video below:
A May 2015 article by Live Happy Magazine enumerates 6 quick ways to give yourself a little boost by just engaging your body in a positive action, posture, or facial expression:
1. Add a little bounce to your step. Walking in an upbeat and cheerful manner can positively affect mood and memory!
2. Smile!!!! It could boost your immune system, release endorphins, and help you recover from stressful situations.
3. Assume a “power pose.” (See Amy’s TED Talk in the video above!) Standing like a victor or superhero can reduce stress hormones and promote feel-good chemistry, helping you feel more confident.
4. Mirror someone. Loosely acclimating your body language to that of whomever you are engaging with can help to produce trust. Once that trust is established, your partner may then mirror you!
5. Let out some laughter! Genuine laughter reaps a host of benefits for the body. Laughing with others reduces isolation! Quick! Share a joke with your neighbor!
6. Spread out. Stress tends to encourage us to hunch up, fold arms, close our posture, and make our bodies generally smaller. Opening your posture and inhabiting more space is a natural way to tell your body you are confident and haven’t lost control.
Try to incorporate a new technique each day this week. Let us know how it impacts your day!