I watched recently, for the first time, Amy Cuddy’s TED talk (in the top five all-time TED talks), and found out about the controversial Wonder Woman pose. What a revelation!
Imagine your hands on your hips, with your chest pumped up like a peacock.
I do not know about you, but there are certain things that make no logical sense and can only come down to science. I almost feel something happening in my body that shifts things all of a sudden. It comes out as a taller strut in my step, a re-invigorated burst of passion, an overwhelmingly warm, comradely feeling..
So first, what exactly is the science behind the Wonder Woman pose?
Imagine a lion about to go in for the kill, or your kitty cat in attack mode, thinking it is a lion. We all have animal instincts, expanding our body to fill up more space pumps testosterone into our system. Looking big and exerting power gives a 20 per cent testosterone boost to the body. How amazing is that?
In addition to the Wonder Woman pose, there are other questionable power poses that dump testosterone into the body. Putting your feet on your desk (the mogul pose), rolling your shoulders back and crossing your arms (the judgmental pose), planting your hands on the table and leaning forward (the “are you talking to me?” pose), and squinting slightly (“the glare is killing me” pose).
It is recommended you do these poses a full two minutes before going in for your kill, a.k.a. moment of leadership.
Some other science hacks that work:
Priming: Ever wondered why that song from your childhood just makes you happy, regardless of how bad a day you are having? What about that smell that brings you fond memories of your first love?
Or that dish from your home country that hugs your insides? That is priming. It is an implicit memory effect. We all have good and bad primers. What you want to do is seek out the good ones and, whenever you feel off balance as a leader, take your mind to that place or listen to that song that primes you inexplicably and gets you back on balance.
Exercise: Exercise is magical, even though most of us hate it. Most of us forget a really viable option is walking even while at work, that is walking meetings. Exercise floods your body with the happy-making chemicals called endorphins. It is an absolute confidence booster. We all know after we do it, we feel fantastic.
Meditation: I have personally never done the traditional form of meditation, where you sit and dispel everything from your mind and just be present in breath. However, there are moving forms of meditation, such as yoga and Tai Chi. Research shows meditation can increase compassion and confidence as a leader. A Massachusetts General Hospital study conducted by Britta Holzel showed that the brains of people who meditated at least 30 minutes per day over eight weeks showed measurable increases in the gray matter of brain areas associated with empathy, memory, self-control, and happiness (especially the left prefrontal cortex). Meanwhile, the area of the brain associated with stress (the amygdala) actually decreases in size. Non-meditators’ brains did not change during the eight-week experiment. Meditation can literally change your insides.
As for me, the strangest things add to that kick in my step. A simple but brilliant haircut and mani/pedi can do the trick. Not eating dinner and waking up the next morning feeling slim. A walk inside nature hugging a few trees along the way. Witnessing my tickling of people’s brain in my lectures. Dancing to some of my home town Caribbean calypso music. A warm hard lingering hug letting me know I am safe and loved.
Now what about you? What gives you that confidence kick?
Sallyann Della Casa delivers 21st century skills through her edu-tech app, GLEAC
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