As a professional actor I learned how to use my body and voice to create different characters. If I was playing someone powerful, I would expand my body and take up more space on stage. If I was playing someone timid, I would shrink my body language and take up less space.
Ann Cuddy, a social science researcher, noticed the same behavior in the animal kingdom. Animals take up more space when they want to be powerful. She also noticed that cortisol (stress hormones) decreased and that testosterone (confidence hormones) increased in apes who adopted larger body language and assumed positions of power in their pack.
She wondered if a similar effect might occur if humans simply changed their body language.
So she asked research subjects to assume powerful, expanded body language (think “Wonder Woman”) and measured the hormone changes in their spit. Simply by assuming more powerful, expanded body language for two minutes did indeed raise their testosterone levels and reduced their stress hormones.
How can this be used in real life? Ann says she hates the term “fake it ’til you make it” and prefers “fake it until you become it”.
If you’re going into a stressful situation like an interview, take two minutes before the interview in the privacy of the bathroom stall to assume a powerful position and help your mind to de-stress and boost your confidence.
(No one is suggesting you go into the interview looking like Wonder Woman!)
If you’d like to see what types of powerful body positions can help empower your mind, check out Ann Cuddy’s Ted Talk at:
And may you pursue your path with power, passion, purpose and peace!