Don’t you kinda wish there was a magic spell for feeling more powerful and more present in acting? Something that would boost your confidence heading into an audition and make you more present in all your work?
Well, it’s not a magic spell, but power posing feels pretty darn close.
This is a tool I learned from the book Presence by Amy Cuddy, and ever since I learned about it, I’ve been reminding myself to implement it in my own life, and I hope you can do the same.
(I even used it with my daughters who were super nervous about their doctor appointment so we played Simon Says in the waiting room and I tricked them into power posing…it worked!)
Power poses like standing with your feet planted firmly and your hands on your hips, or arms up in the air in a V for Victory pose, can cause actual chemical changes in your body. The poses decrease your cortisol and increase testosterone which creates the perfect combination for presence, calm, and assertiveness.
Watch this clip from class and let me know if you try it out! Love your feedback!
CLASS CLIP TRANSCRIPTION
Sarah: Let’s try something. Just stand up and see if…we’re gonna do some power posing. Do you know what power posing is?
Student: No. Maybe.
Sarah: It’s awesome. There’s a Ted Talk about it, but there’s this woman’s book I’m reading. It’s called Presence, is the woman who talks about power posing. And she talks about the science and the chemistry of what happens in our bodies when we take on these physical poses, and how a lot of how we carry ourselves, if we’re collapsed, if we’re twisted up, if we’re hunched over, like this, the chemistry in our body changes. Our cortisol spikes, literally just from physical posture.
From physical posture, our cortisol goes up, and our testosterone goes down. But when we are in powerful poses, like you can start with your hands on your hips and your feet a little bit spread, chin up.
When we’re in powerful poses, our cortisol goes down and our testosterone goes up, which is the perfect combination for presence, for calm, for assertiveness. So this is like, you may have heard of people doing power posing before job interviews, and they did this study where they followed people who were—even people who were more qualified for the jobs did poorer than the people who power posed before job interviews. Because they were so much more confident and calm. And present! And present.
So this is, I’ve been thinking a lot about my posture when I sit at my desk, I’ve been thinking about like, you can just keep holding the pose, and now you can shift it up into, arms up like a V, like victory, like you just won the race. Chest out, arms up, feet planted hip distance apart. Like you just won the race and your arms are up.
There’s the most fascinating studies done about all of this that’s totally blowing my mind. And how power, how in a lot of ways, power and presence are almost the same thing. Meaning personal power, not what they would call social power.
So sometimes even just adjusting your body, how you sit and carry yourself and walk around in the world, can make a tremendous difference. And even, they said, in times when you can’t do the physical pose, like if you’re in the waiting room for a job interview or whatever, or you’re with people, you can do it in your mind, and even that will make a difference.