Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

This is a fantastic lecture (21 minutes long) on how your body language affects who you are.

That who you are and how you think can affect your body language surely comes as no surprise, but the point made in this video is that the connection is clear in the opposite direction too.

For example, avoiding slouching and maintaining a strong/dominant posture for two minutes before a job interview has been shown to produce a dramatically improved impression. Even more interesting is that this has a measurable effect on hormones. Testosterone levels increase and the stress hormone cortisol decreases markedly.

If instead you make yourself small for as little as two minutes, this will produce the opposite effect: lower testosterone and higher cortisol levels.

Does This Affect Your Health and Your Weight?

One can speculate on the potential long term effects. What happens to a person that is overwhelmed by stress and walks around more or less slumped all day? Can this induce constant low levels of testosterone and high cortisol?

The result would potentially be a worsening of both health and weight. It could lead to increased abdominal fat and weaker muscles, an increased risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as an increased long-term risk of heart disease, among other things.

Straightening up might produce the opposite effect. It may cause increased levels of testosterone and a decrease in stress hormones, resulting in less abdominal fat and a stronger and healthier body.

As far as I know these effects on the body’s hormones have only been studied in the very short term, but there could possibly be a long term effect, depending on one’s habitual posture. We don’t know how big the effect would be, but you could possibly be noticeably healthier, stronger and thinner by just improving your posture.

What do you think?

P.S. I added a link to here from the part on the significance of stress reduction on the page on how to lose weight.

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6 Comments

  1. Jean (UK)
    Well, I know that shaping your face into a smile can lift your mood immediately so it makes sense that lifting your body into a positive position can help.
  2. Maggan A
    I´m hundred procent shure it works. Have you ever seen the dog-whisperer Cesar Millan by hand liftig the tail of an insecure dog? It works every time!
    keep smiling! :-)
  3. I know that it works. I've seen it often in students and in myself. Confidence is especially evident how how one walks, holds a strong back and shoulders. Also, as people age they seem to draw into themselves, shuffle, and generally show weakness. My most elderly friends who exude youth and sharpness, don't do this.

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  4. Jo
    Great vid! Thanks for sharing.
  5. Stephanie
    Love this talk! I am going to start practicing today! Thanks for sharing Doc.
  6. Jan
    Moshe Feldenkrais wrote excellent books about this topic and developed a concept solving deep rooted psychological issues and patterns by moving. His argument: E.g. the feeling of anxiety and the associated body posture are one and the same thing. We divide it into body and mind because we think this (rather oversimplifying) way. Therefore it is possible to adress deep rooted anxiety problems by adressing the physical expression (mostly unneccessary tension). Great book: M. Feldenkrais - The potent self. The Feldenkrais concept is so relaxing and from my point of view very Paleo:-)
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