We all hate the feeling of being weighed down by stress, or being held back by anxiety and self-doubt. These are feelings that don’t exactly foster positive outcomes in our educational, professional, or social pursuits. While the moments when these feelings hit may have you feeling like you are a victim to your mindset and emotions, the truth is that you can overcome stress and anxiety almost instantly — all it takes is a power pose.


A Harvard study led by researcher Amy Cuddy several years ago successfully found a connection between body language and hormones within the body that determine stress and anxiety. The study demonstrated that the way a person stands or holds their body can actually have a pretty big effect on the brain.


Power poses  are open, relaxed, and usually take up more space than more introverted/low power poses, which are more closed off (jamesclear.com)

Power poses are open, relaxed, and usually take up more space than more introverted/low power poses, which are more closed off (jamesclear.com)

More specifically, posture and position can have an impact on hormones like cortisol (stress hormone) and testosterone (“powerful” hormone), as Cuddy’s study found that holding a “power pose” — a pose which is open, relaxed, and confident — for just two minutes significantly reduced the former while increasing the latter in test subjects.


The science behind why holding a power pose can help reduce stress and anxiety is simple. When a person is feeling at ease or in control, they are more likely to strike these poses naturally. The opposite is also true in that when somebody is feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmed, they are more likely to slip into poses that are more guarded or closed off. This connection ultimately links power poses with ease and control while linking closed off poses with feeling overwhelmed.


However, the mindset usually informs the pose, the trick of using a power pose to change your mentality simply relies on a reversal of the causal relationship. It allows you to trick your mind into feeling more at ease by holding the physical position associated with that emotion and mentality.


Furthermore, because holding a power pose allows you to feel more in control, this could be an awesome way to not only reduce stress but to boost your confidence when you’re suffering from a bit of self-doubt. It could be the perfect trick to help you prepare for an interview or a major presentation when an extra dose of confidence could really come in handy.


Did you know that a power pose could have real scientific effects on your attitude and mentality? Share your thoughts below or tweet me @tamarahoumi