Do you feel powerful?


This amazing TedTalk has been buzzing around the internet for some time now, but it bears reposting because it is such a powerful and positive example of the human capacity for change and growth.

Amy Cuddy of Harvard Business School reports on her fascinating research on body language, power, and body chemistry.  Using a very simple research design, she shows once again that not only does the mind impact the body, the body also impacts the mind.  You may have heard of research showing that when people are forced to smile by clenching  a pencil between their teeth, they actually end up feeling happier. This new research had participants hold a “high power” or “low power” pose for two minutes, then gave them a chance to gamble, and did a pre- and post-test of salivary testosterone and cortisol.  They found significant differences between the groups.  People who held the high-power poses had their testosterone levels increase and their cortisol levels decrease, while people who held the low-power poses had their testosterone levels decrease and their cortisol levels increase.  Also, people who held the high-power poses felt more powerful, as evidenced by their willingness to gamble – they were confident they would win whereas the less-powerful were not.  Further research showed that people in the two groups were also viewed differently by others.

As a trained researcher, I liked this research for the simplicity of the design and the strength of the findings – but as a run-of-the-mill human, what I really gained from it is yet further evidence of people’s ability to change and grow.  Using a bit of knowledge and self-awareness, you can expand your personal power, change your experience, and gain momentum sufficient to take you anywhere you want to go.  Just TWO MINUTES in a power pose caused bodily changes, changed minds and attitudes – and therefore changed experiences.