Elizabeth Siegel, Allure magazine
There's been a lot of emphasize on body language this week. (A certain smirking, shrugging duo may be to blame for that.) We know that body language can impact how confident and powerful someone appears, but the way you sit or stand doesn't just influence how others perceive you-it actually changes the way you feel about yourself.
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Assuming a dominant or submissive pose for as little as two minutes "leads to hormonal changes that configure your brain to basically be either assertive, confident and comfortable, or really stress reactive and feeling sort of shut down," says Amy Cuddy, a researcher at Harvard Business School. In a recent study, she asked subjects to strike a dominant or submissive pose for two minutes. Those who had assumed a dominant position experienced a 20 percent increase in testosterone levels and 24 percent decrease in levels of the stress hormone cortisol. As for those in the submissive pose? Their testosterone levels dipped 10 percent and cortisol levels increased by 15 percent.
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So, how to trick yourself into being more of an alpha? Try adopting what Cuddy calls "high-powered" poses. They're ones that that take up a ton of space: Resting your hand on your hips, behind your head, or sitting with your feet propped up on a table. A low power-pose is exactly the opposite: "We close up, we make ourselves small," she explains. That could mean hunching over, standing with your arms crossed, or touching your neck (apparently a big sign of weakness).