This tip from a Harvard psychologist can majorly boost your confidence

Women are much more likely to [sit in low power poses] than men, says Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy

Life&Style February 03, 2016
Result is evident in just two minutes! PHOTO: INDEPENDENT

To all the introverts out there, this tip can actually help you boost your confidence.

Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy and Dr Dana Carney's research suggests that assuming ‘power poses’ can actually make you more confident and assertive.

The result is evident in just two minutes. These poses such as the ‘wonder woman’ (where you stand with your feet, wide and your hands on your hips) or the 'man-spread' (poses that take up a lot of space) tend to alter hormone levels in your brain and make you feel more confident, powerful and less stressed out.

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“Women are much more likely to [sit in low power poses] than men. They feel chronically less powerful than men, so this is not surprising," said Dr Cuddy, reports The Independent.

“Men carry themselves in much more expansive ways on average."

"It’s middle school when you start to see your daughters collapse and wrap themselves up and hide," she added.

But the real problem lies in the process that works both ways; feeling powerless make you assume 'low power' poses that in turn make you feel more powerless.

Dr Cuddy advises to incorporate power poses into your daily routine to break the vicious cycle. In fact, stretching your limbs as far as they will go and making your body as big as you can should be the first thing you should do in the morning.

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In a New York interview, Dr Cuddy said, “Especially if you’re a fetal, hand clenching sleeper like I am. When you wake up, just stretch out for a minute before you put your feet -on the ground.”

Your body functions change dramatically when you take up more space for 'power poses'.

Both high and low power poses affect two key hormones; testosterone - the ‘dominance hormone’ that makes you feel confident, and  cortisol - the ‘stress hormone’ –  that makes you stress reactive to situations.

“High power alpha-males in primate hierarchies have high testosterone and low cortisol,” said Dr Cuddy, “and powerful and effective leaders also have high testosterone and low cortisol.”


To determine the effect of these poses on mind, Dr Cuddy and her associates conducted a study on a number of volunteers who were asked to assume both high and low power poses for two minutes.

They were then asked to gamble on some chance games and a saliva swab was taken to measure their hormone levels.

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Findings suggested that those who assumed ‘high power’ poses had a 20 per cent increase in their testosterone levels and 25 per cent decrease in their cortisol levels while just posing for two minutes.

On the other hand, the ones with 'low power' poses had a 10 per cent decrease in testosterone and a 15 per cent increase in cortisol levels.


The former were also 20 per cent more likely to gamble on a chance game than the latter.

Besides stretching, you can also “Sit up straight". "Rest your arms on the arms of the chair. Set up your work space so you have to reach a little bit," suggested Dr Cuddy.

“Just simple things like that, that are part of your daily routine."

"One of my research assistants brushes her teeth with her hand on her hip," she added.


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