If there is one thing we can be assured of in this life, it’s an unrelenting, continuous and unbroken stream of bad news. From what we hear on the radio to what we see on our computers, our minds and hearts are bombarded daily with toxic talking points of 24-hour cycles of pessimism and cynical, opinionated dribble. It’s an assault upon our intellect, our hope and our faith.
The other day, I started a new routine with my family. It was based on my research of how our mind and body work. We all know that our minds control our plans and actions. But new studies in neuroscience are discovering that the position of our body can also impact how we think.
In your childhood, you may have been reprimanded by your parents or a teacher to “stand up straight,” or “sit up straight in your desk,” etc. Well, the newest work in neuroplasticity (the growth of the brain), is showing that your obnoxious parents and teachers might have actually been on to something.
According to Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist at Harvard Business School, there is power in how you posture yourself physically. She calls it “power posing.” It is adopting the stances associated with confidence, power and achievement—chest lifted, head held high and arms either lifted up or propped on your hips.
As Cuddy explains in her talk on TED Global 2012, both humans and animals express power through their bodies. When they feel unsure, they make themselves small by hunching over, crossing their arms or curling up. When they feel confident and free, they tend to sprawl out with big movements like upraised arms and hands on hips. Cuddy, along with her collaborator Dana Carney of Berkeley, found through experiments that people’s testosterone levels could be elevated and cortisol levels (stress hormone), lowered by the physical pose one did for two minutes.
I tried it and it’s true; it really works. For the past two weeks myself, Liz and our children still at home, are doing this two-minute exercise everyday. I have added to the experiment, the power of words to create. We, as a family, begin each day with our two-minute power “Superman pose,” as we recite together “I have unshakable confidence in Christ.” It’s working! I’ll explain more later.
With unshakable confidence,
Steve Holt M.A., D.D.
My newest book, Worshipper Warrior, can be found at www.steveholtonline.org