Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are
I frequently teach the “power posing” exercise below to help people use body-based postures to strengthen their sense of confidence and resilience. Here’s the link to social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s June 2012 TED talk (now 22 million views) that explains the power behind the exercise:
Our body posture does change our neurochemistry and perception of confidence and self-worth. Amy Cuddy’s research as professor at Harvard Business School has validated this for years, especially among women students. You can try this for yourself: simply stand tall, your spine straight and tall, your hips-legs-feet stably grounded on the floor; lift your chest, lift your head, lift your arms overhead in a gesture of strength and triumph. Hold this posture for two minutes, several times a day, especially just before walking into an important meeting, job interview, or difficult discussion with spouse or child. You don’t have to hold the posture during the meeting, but you will have primed your brain to feel capable and worthy.
India’s Barefoot College
An extraordinary school in Rajasthan, India, teaches rural men and women – many of them illiterate – to become solar engineers, artisans, dentists and doctors in their own villages, recently in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Gambia as well. The founder, Bunker Roy, shares his philosophy of respecting and empowering people who know how to deliver babies and waterproof roofs, even if they don’t know how to read or write. An inspiring account of compassion, faith, and optimism at work to help the poorest of the poor become self-sufficient and proud.
Mindfulness on retreat, in Congress, in corporations, in the laboratory
Anderson Cooper interviews Jon Kabat-Zinn, developer of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and participates in one of his 5-day mindfulness retreats; he interviews Tim Ryan on Capitol Hill and Chade-Meng Tan, Google’s Jolly Good Fellow. A fascinating segment is a real-time scan of Cooper’s brain in Judson Brewer’s lab at University of Massachusetts, showing the dramatic increased firing in Cooper’s brain when he thinks of something stressful, and the immediate calming down of his brain when he re-focuses his attention on his breathing.
The video clip from 60 Minutes, December 14, 2014 is an illuminating introduction to the power of mindfulness to transform our brain states, thus our lives. (Deep apologies for the advertisement sponsoring the broadcast; well worth getting past to the video.)