Take a mental snap shot of the posture you’re in right now. Are you hunched over your computer screen or smart phone, reading this article? Do you find that you’re in this position quite often, either due to studying or reading up in preparation for rounds? Maybe this is your go-to position of comfort. I find myself naturally inclined to slouch over in this manner. When I realize it, I make a conscious effort to come out of it. I get up, I stretch, and I ditch the slouch. Turns out, coming out of this hunch can do so much good for you.
Dr. Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist and Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard School of Business, studied the benefits of the power stance. By assuming a power stance for just two minutes, you can:
- moderate your stress hormone levels
- give yourself a boost of testosterone
Others will also distinguish you much more positively, especially when put in positions where you are being evaluated (did someone say interview season?). But for those times when you won’t be in such a high stress environment, power stancing will still do your mind and body wonders.
Here’s a quick tutorial to get you power stancin’:
1. Find a place where you can be alone for about 2 minutes. It could be a bathroom stall, a study room by yourself, or your room. (More power to you if you feel like showing off your power stance in a more public space!)
2. Stand with your legs about shoulder width apart.
3. Assume the power stance: extend your hands and arms over your head in a V position. Keep it this way for as long as you want, 2 minutes being a pretty good length of time. Give your body this 2-minute treat when you’re feeling down and hunched. Your body will thank you and you’ll be feeling like a boss!
For a link to Dr. Cuddy’s published article on the Power Stance: http://pss.sagepub.com/content/21/10/1363.short
For a link to Dr. Cuddy’s TedTalk, explaining the theory and science behind the Power Stance (Over 30 million views!): https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are?language=en#t-926754
(With contributions from Dr. Susanna Williams, UVA Mindfulness Center Quick!)