Body language, Power and Stress- TED talk

This TED talk is utterly fascinating and well worth a watch. It’s looking at the research which explores the links between our body language our emotional states and our physiology.

I think there are two really important points that come out of this talk:

  1. We often talk about the connection between mind and body and how emotional states such as stress create physical changes such as increased muscle tension or fluctuations in hormone levels. It’s interesting how this research demonstrates that this is very much a two way street and that physical changes such as changing our body language have a powerful effect on our emotional state and hormonal levels.
  2. It’s also worth reflecting on how powerful the changes are. This research showed a 25% drop in cortisol levels after just 2 minutes of adopting a more ‘powerful’ posture versus a 15% increase in cortisol in those who adopted a ‘low power’ pose for just 2 minutes.  Cortisol is the body’s major stress hormone and lowering cortisol levels is one of the major aims of most stress management techniques.  To put these changes in context here is some more research that investigated a widely recognised 8 week long stress reduction programme that includes relaxation, meditation, gentle yoga and daily home practice. After 8 weeks of meditating and doing yoga every day there was no change at all in participant’s cortisol levels. Whereas this research shows that a simple change in body language dropped cortisol by 25% in 2 minutes! That’s a sensational result!

So in summary- of course our mind affects our body but let’s not forget that our body affects our mind as well and that these affects can be incredibly powerful.