In 2012, social psychologist Amy Cuddy spoke at the TEDGlobal conference. Cuddy discussed power-posing and used research to explain how posture can influence behavior. This has since become one of the most popular videos on TED Talks (32 million views and counting). Here's why.
Cuddy's study showed that through altering body language, a person could change their life in a meaningful way. She described it as her "free, no-tech life hack" and it's particularly relevant to anyone who struggles with confidence and self-esteem.
How does it work? Ahead of a stressful or nerve-wracking situation, try standing in a high-power pose for two minutes. An example of this is the Wonder Woman, a pose that involves standing with your legs shoulder-width apart, chest out, with your arms placed on the waist. The effect? It can change hormone levels in the body by increasing testosterone (connected with dominance) and decreasing cortisol (connected with stress).
There are other power-poses to experiment with, too. You could also try leaning forward on a desk or chair while standing. Or, when seated, lean back with your feet resting on a table and your arms folded behind your head. (Cuddy believes this can bring out the inner risk-taker in you.)
It's these "non-verbal expression of dominance and power" that influence how we feel about ourselves. In her talk, Cuddy referenced an important chain of events: that our bodies can change our minds, our minds can change our behaviour and our behaviour can change the outcome of a situation. So, by telling yourself you feel powerful, you eventually will.
As Cuddy said, don't fake it till you make it: "Fake it till you become it." A change in your body language could make all the difference.
This article originally appeared on Harper's Bazaar UK. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.