TED Talk: Amy Cuddy, Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

It is commonly understood that our body language can affect other people’s opinions of us. But, as Harvard Business School Professor Amy Cuddy suggests, the postures we adopt can actually affect the way we view ourselves. Furthermore, our body language can actually alter our body chemistry. In this powerful TED talk (no pun intended); Amy demonstrates how altering your posture for just two minutes can significantly change the way you feel.

Amy Cuddy’s TED talk: ‘Your body language shapes who you are’ can be found here.

Amy Cuddy

Next time you are waiting for your coffee order, play this game. See if you can identify the ‘alphas’ amongst the room simply by observing the body language around you. Can you see who feels strong, confident and powerful? Alpha characters stand with presence: with open body language, chin held high, and feet securely on the ground. In essence, they fill the space they are in.

“Our bodies change our minds, and our minds change our behaviour, and our behaviour can change our outcomes.” Amy Cuddy

And likewise, when we are feeling insecure and vulnerable, it is visible through our body language. We curl up; fold in, cross our bodies with our arms or legs. We make ourselves small and invisible. So we know that our feelings can affect our body posture; but can we alter how we feel through changing our body language?

On a physiological level, powerful ‘alpha’ personalities tend to have higher levels of testosterone (dominance hormone), and lower levels of cortisol (stress hormone).

The good news is that YES, we can boost our confidence in times of need through simple ‘power poses’. Just two minutes of power posing can configure your brain to be assertive, confident and powerful, by raising your testosterone levels, and lowering our cortisol levels. Adopting expansive postures such as the ‘wonder woman pose’, or indeed any pose where you remain ‘open’, can instantly boost your confidence.

“Don’t fake it til you make it… Fake it til you become it” Amy Cuddy

Power pose

So next time you are preparing for an interview, try some simple power poses. Spend two minutes in the toilets, or the lift connecting to your inner superhero. Even if you are not feeling powerful, you can “… fake it until you become it! …”

The smallest alterations in your body language can significantly change the outcomes of your life. Go on, give it a try and harness the power – in just two minutes!