Stand Tall— It’s Good for You

You can tell a lot by someone’s body language.”
~Harvey Wolter

The way humans’ express victory or celebration is universal: we throw our arms up to the sky; we leap into the air; pump our fist or do a happy dance. Body language can tell us a lot about other states of mind, too. If someone is curled into themselves, head in hands, slumped—it doesn’t take an intuitive to see the person is sad, depressed, feeling powerless.

According to Harvard social psychologist Amy Cuddy, this physical expression of a mental state can also work in the other direction. Cuddy’s research has established that simply adopting a posture can induce a predictable emotional state; our bodies can change our thoughts and feelings. Standing tall, with your arms raised in victory, causes a spike in important hormones that make you feel more powerful and comfortable. Adopting a powerful posture for even 2 minutes can begin to re-wire your brain; fake it ‘til you make it turns out to have scientific justification.

amy cuddyAs Ms. Cuddy points out, this is a great way to prepare for a stressful situation—like a job interview, or a speech— where you want to feel confident and in charge. This posture, referred to as the “Wonder Woman” pose (and other powerful body positions she identifies) can also be wonderfully effective for triggering the optimism and confidence that allows you to confidently express your authentic self.

I’ve included this video here because it’s one of the revolutionary tools that neuroscience is revealing that I incorporate into my regular coaching practices. Scientists like Cuddy and Rick Hanson have proven that we can literally retrain our brains for increased effectiveness, happiness and calm. These can be a great addition to your toolkit, as you learn to get unstuck and take a more active, authentic role in the direction of your life.

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About Nicole Aloni

Nicole’s career combines her two passions: coaching and food. She is a certified professional coach (CPCC) and cookbook author, chef and consultant on culinary topics. She completed her culinary degree in Paris and her coaching certification with CTI of California. Her coaching practice is science-based, intuitive and actionable, with a unique approach to coaching reflecting her two fields of interest. Called whole-life coaching, this style supports growth in the most important cornerstones for a balanced, fulfilled life: mindfulness, compelling purpose and robust health. She lives, cooks and coaches in Seattle and is involved in continuing studies in Buddhism, neuroscience and the mind-body connection. In addition to one-on-one coaching, blended coaching, consulting for food professionals, and culinary teambuilding programs, she is also a food writer and researcher who is deeply committed to creating a sustainable food system and educating clients about how to eat a healthy, immune-boosting and energizing natural diet. Her books from major publishers include The Backyard Bartender, Secrets From A Caterer’s Kitchen and Cooking for Company.

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