A few weeks ago I posted a video of a TED Talk by Amy Cuddy entitled “Your body language shapes who you are“. This is one of my favorite TED videos and some of the concepts in it are helping me confront the giants in my life, mainly anxiety.
In her talk, Ms. Cuddy talks about how your posture often shapes your emotions and more importantly, the hormones in your body (such as testosterone) that determine many of your emotions such as stress or confidence. Traditionally, we all knew that the way we feel affects our body language but Cuddy suggests here that we can actually affect our mind with our body language.
I have been taking the time each day to read some affirmations in the mirror. While I read them I will open up my posture and spread my arms out and up to the ceiling. I also take time to smile at myself frequently. My goal is to release testosterone and have less cortisol, which is the stress hormone.
After doing this I have to admit that I feel good. I feel good not only emotionally but I see myself more positively. It gives me a sense of being less anxious and more confident.
Traditionally, I’ve always been very closed off. I cross my arms a lot, I sit slightly hunched over and like to sit on the couch with my knees bent and legs pulled in. According to the video, this will increase cortisol levels and reduce testosterone levels which will create anxiety and make me less confident.
Lately, I’ve been running. Admittedly, I’m not a real strong runner. I’ve had times when I did well but I’ve never been able to get past the 3 mile mark. I’ve always felt as if running has been hard for me. Lately, when running, I try to smile periodically. I’ve found this simple gesture to be a tremendous boost that keeps me going when my legs are tired and I want to stop.
In her TED Talk, Amy Cuddy mentions that if you put a pen in your mouth it forces you to smile. This is an interesting point as there are times when I’m having an anxiety attack and the last thing I want to do is smile, despite the fact that it will make me feel better. Perhaps, this is one more thing I can do to stop an anxiety attack as it starts to happen.
Be well, be positive.