Amplify the Power of Your Thoughts – synergize your mind and body
I’m fascinated by how our thoughts affect our mood and our reality, but there’s also an emerging area of intriguing research that shows how our body posture influences our mood. Just think about it. You’re feeling worried about an upcoming project, or maybe even worried about your career. It’s draining your energy and motivation, which WILL hurt your ability to give the project your best. Your body language may become slouched and hunched. This sends signals to your brain that you ARE powerless, helpless, and reinforces your worry. Just shifting your body posture to a more expansive and powerful pose changes the messages to your brain and influences what you believe.
The body and the brain share a two-way communication – they each affect the other in ways that don’t always seem obvious. For example, research suggests that your arms, your facial expressions, and even your hand gestures influence your mind, mood, and behavior. What if we could capture valuable synergy by using both of these approaches together? While you’re holding an upright, open pose, you could remember a past success, a time when you felt proud of an achievement, or you could think of things you are grateful for in your work or life. I’ve found that it’s harder to feel grateful when I’m hunched over versus when I’m standing with my arms raised to the sky, or to feel confident in my abilities when I’m slouching. Try it for yourself. Sit huddled in a chair and think of a past memory when you felt happy. Now remember the same memory while standing with your feet apart and your hands on your hips or over your head. Which leaves you with more positive energy?
I love how Amy Cuddy expresses this phenomenon, “The way you carry yourself is a source of personal power—the kind of power that is the key to presence. It’s the key that allows you to unlock yourself—your abilities, your creativity, your courage, and even your generosity. It doesn’t give you skills or talents you don’t have; it helps you to share the ones you do have. It doesn’t make you smarter or better informed; it makes you more resilient and open. It doesn’t change who you are; it allows you to be who you are.”
Tina Hallis, Ph.D., is founder and owner of The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping individuals and organizations increase their positivity to improve the quality of people’s work lives and the quality of company cultures.