Feeling Stressed? Overwhelmed? Powerless? Wonder Woman can help.
When you feel stressed and overwhelmed you also end up feeling powerless. Do you know why? It is because your cortisol is out of control.
A great way to regulate cortisol is through postures. Amy Cuddy, a professor of Social Psychology at Harvard Business School, conducted experiments using what she called “power poses”. These are poses that men naturally use but are not used often by women. Cuddy found that when women use these poses, cortisol levels go down, which helps the body return to an unstressed state, and testosterone levels go up, which increase feelings of powerfulness.
One of the poses Cuddy tested was the Wonder Woman pose. If you can picture Wonder Woman, you know exactly what this pose is. Wonder Woman would stand with her feet a bit wider than shoulder width apart and have her hands in fists on her hips.
Cuddy found that if women stand in this pose for two minutes, cortisol levels go down and testosterone levels go up. Doing this pose for two minutes each day retrains your body to regulate cortisol better. You will feel this. You will feel less stressed and more powerful within.
The Wonder Woman pose truly is a power pose. It feels intimidating to others when you stand in this position, so if you want people to pay attention to you, like your kids, your partner, or your mother-in-law, stand in this pose. As well, standing in this pose at work before you do a presentation or go in for an interview or face some other stressful situation will help you be calmer and feel more powerful. You can do it in your office or in the washroom or hallway or some other private location.
Just a brief note about testosterone – although we associate testosterone with men and bulky muscles, aggression and their sex drive, women have testosterone as well, just not nearly as much. Doing this pose won’t cause you to bulk up or anything like that, and the increased sense of power isn’t an aggressive type of power. It is just more of an increase in feeling powerful within, instead of feeling powerless within.
You can do this pose several times a day if you are feeling really stressed and overwhelmed.