Dean of Students

Amy Cuddy & Wonder Woman

You’ve probably seen body language “experts” on TV talking about how to interpret someone else’s posture, eye contact, or gestures.  Maybe you’ve practiced your own body language before interviewing for that choice internship or summer job, wanting to appear professional, win friends, and influence people.  But have you ever thought about the messages that your body language sends to you?

This TED Talk explores new research from Amy Cuddy and others indicating that the way we sit, stand, or hold our arms can make a big difference in how strong, confident, or comfortable we feel.  A change as simple uncrossing your arms, sitting up tall, and taking up more space actually affects your brain and body chemistry.

Many female students think about their body language most when they’re walking alone at night across campus.  And it’s true that perpetrators of certain crimes (especially property crimes) are less likely to target someone who looks confident, focused on her surroundings, and undistracted.  The good news is, you can practice projecting that image even when you don’t feel particularly confident.

But perhaps even more importantly, we now know that confident body language also sends empowering messages to our brains, even reducing stress hormone levels.  Something to think about the next time you’re preparing for a challenging exam, psyching yourself up for an interview, or expecting a difficult confrontation with a friend or roommate.  You might try first spending 2 minutes in the other room, hands on your hips, feet hip width apart, and head held tall – just like Wonder Woman.  You’ll like the way it makes you feel!