Another Reason to Hold Your Head High

The Teapot

As the expression goes, Do your best and you can hold your head high. The principle is that confidence, pride in our efforts, and lack of shame allow us to carry ourselves a certain way. Apparently, the reverse is also true.

Research conducted and publicized by Amy Cuddy, a researcher and professor at Harvard Business School, indicates that not only does our body language communicate information about us to others, our body language also influences us on the chemical level. The surprising result is that we can artificially change our body language, specifically by using “power poses,” in order to affect our hormones, which in turn affect our behavior.

The reason this is so fascinating to me is that it’s yet another example of our own inward power to affect ourselves – to affect our happiness, our success, our behavior, and our lives. It proves that positive thinking and action, even if we have to force ourselves to think and act positively, result in positive outcomes.

I find that totally empowering, and that’s a beautiful, inspiring thing in a world where so many people feel powerless. People are disconnected, closed off, afraid, and negative. And we’re accustomed to handing the power over our lives and our feelings to others. When we’re upset, we indict our circumstances, our jobs, our relationships, our finances, and everything else around us that’s out of our control for our unhappiness. The implication is that until all these things change, until our surroundings become ideal and stop creating problems for us, we cannot be happy.

And that’s miserable. That means that my happiness is entirely dependent on the actions of others and that I am powerless. Fortunately, it isn’t true. Happiness is not a circumstance, it’s an attitude. Doing small, positive things on a regular basis and spending ample time embracing our own identities  retrains our brains to reject negativity and empowers us and emboldens us to take control of our lives and our feelings.

And that’s wonderful.

“Our bodies change our minds, and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.”

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