Recent research shows that powerful and effective leaders tend to have higher levels of testosterone and lower levels of cortisol. Higher levels of testosterone lead to increased feelings of confidence. Lower levels of cortisol lead to decreased anxiety and an improved ability to deal with stress. In short, having the correct hormone levels can actually make you feel more confident and less stressed!
Interestingly, testosterone and cortisol levels can rapidly change depending on social, physical, and environmental surroundings. Amy Cuddy is a researcher at Harvard University who studies body language and the impact it has on your hormones. She and her team classified several open and relaxed body positions as “High Power” poses. They conducted a research study on a large group of students, and they found that high power poses increased testosterone by 20 percent and decreased cortisol levels by 25 percent.
Below is an image showing the different types of power poses:
The best–known power pose is nicknamed “The Wonder Woman” pose. Simply stand tall with your chest out and your hands on your hips. Just to be clear: despite the nickname, the impact of this pose is just as relevant to men as it is to women.
As it turns out, your behaviors and emotions are firmly tied. The most powerful leaders don’t just think a certain way, they actually carry themselves a certain way. You should do the same!
Your training exercise today is to watch the Ted Talk Amy Cuddy did about her discovery of Power Poses. You’ll probably be inspired to actually try Power Posing for a couple of minutes, and that’s GREAT! Because that’s the second part of your homework assignment.
Choose a power pose from one of the above pictures, and stand in that pose for two minutes. While doing that, close your eyes and practice this breathing exercise: Breathe in deeply for a count of 3, hold for 1, and then breathe out fully for a count of 5.
Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise. Write a short reflection about your experience in the comments section below . If you’ve got a pic of you in your power pose, share the link to that as well. Keep a copy of your pose experience for yourself in your portfolio, and remember to write a Joy Journal entry tonight before you go to bed!