The way we position our bodies has an actual effect on our hormone balance. Amy Cuddy is one of the leading experts on body-language. Her studies have demonstrated that strong poses will increase testosterone and decrease cortisol. Conversely, there are weak body poses that actually reduce testosterone and increase cortisol.
A higher level of testosterone in both men and women is linked with increased confidence. Cortisol is linked with anxiety and stress, so reducing it can help with your ability to cope. Cortisol also increases blood glucose levels, so if you are trying to lower your A1C, then power positioning can contribute to that.
Some typical weak poses are: crossing your arms over your chest, slouching, sitting with your hands in your lap.
Avoid excessively using these positions. Instead, stand with your hands on your hips. When sitting, clasp your hands behind your head or have your arms up and to the side. If these positions make you feel self-conscious or uncomfortable in public, start with spending two minutes every morning standing in front of the mirror with your hands on your hips in the “Wonder Woman” pose. This will give you a boost that can help you take on the day.
Additional examples of positive power positioning: arms stretched out above your head (like the victory cheer), arms in front of you on a desk when talking, legs in a wide stance at least shoulder length apart, arms flexing at shoulder height with elbows bent (the “strongman” pose), one hand on your hip with the other arm relaxed at your side.
This hack ties in with the Awareness category of biohacks. Our body language is often unconscious and habitual. If the power poses are not your go to positioning, you can change that by paying attention to your body when in social situations. If you find yourself holding your hands in front of you at your waist, hold them behind you instead (think of that cool pose Morpheus often has in the Matrix).
The purpose is to increase your confidence and your ability to deal with anxiety. If you consider yourself socially awkward or very introverted, it’s ok if you use the more defensive positioning when in situations where you already feel uncomfortable. If this is you, focus on using the power positions when with friends or are alone.
Add “Use power position for 2 minutes” and “be aware of my body language” to your daily habit tracker. At least once a day, you should be able to consciously consider your body language to make sure you are in a positive position.