Message from Scott Cowie, Senior Division head
Wednesday, Nov. 25: CSMC and CMIC Math Contest, various locations, 9 a.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 25 to Saturday, Nov. 28: Fall play Waiting for Godot, lecture theatre, 7 p.m.
I recently attended a conference at which I heard renowned social psychologist Dr. Amy Cuddy present on the relationship between one’s body language and emotional well-being.
I’m usually not one who places a great deal of value on stuff like this, but some of Cuddy’s views caught my attention. Incidentally, I’m not the only person intrigued by what she has to say. Her Ted Talk titled “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” has been viewed by close to 30 million people and is apparently the second most widely watched Ted Talk on YouTube.
According to Cuddy, the way we physically carry ourselves can be a determining factor in how we approach and manage challenging situations or difficult interactions with others. In brief, according to her findings, there’s a direct correlation between power and posture. The more expansive your pose, the more powerful you are, both in terms of your own self-confidence and in the way you’re perceived by others. Cuddy showed numerous photos of athletes who — regardless of culture, age or gender — have presence and demonstrate their power and success through expansive body language that conveys that they’re fully in control of their circumstances. To prove that this type of posturing is innate, Cuddy shared research that shows that even blind athletes exhibit the same behaviour.
Cuddy’s views on posture and power aren’t based on speculation and assumption, but supported through extensive research. She shared that science proves that those who exhibit expansive stances and power poses generate higher levels of testosterone (the hormone associated with assertiveness, risk tolerance and confidence) and lower levels of cortisol (the hormone associated with stress, anxiety and insecurity.)
In listening to Cuddy, I couldn’t help but think back to Dr. Alex Russell’s talk that I referenced a few weeks ago about adolescent angst and the need to develop more resiliency. Could good posture and power poses be a way to help our kids manage stress and anxiety? I don’t think it can hurt.
I spoke to my own kids about how they carry themselves as soon as I got home from Cuddy’s talk. I’ve shared this video before, but in addition to demonstrating that “power posing” can be done at any age, I think it also speaks to the importance of balancing attention on our physical positioning, with a focus on our habits of mind.
I encourage you to speak to your son about presence, perspective and positivity.
Thanks for reading,