Power Posing: Is your bad posture making you depressed?

Do you have a go-to power pose?

At a glance, it’s easy to dismiss this question as silly, ridiculous or childish, but the implications of power posing (and related concepts) on our well-being are very understated. Power posing is a concept that’s been around for a long time, but has been recently popularized by Amy Cuddy who has a great Ted talk on this subject. Just a few years ago I stumbled onto this idea that our mental state is dramatically impacted by how we express our physicality. Tony Robbins has been teaching people this for years, but it’s a concept that still doesn’t get near the amount of attention it deserves.

There is an abundance of scientific research supporting the theory that embodying a certain physiology actually changes our emotional experience (for better or worse).

I loved investigating this topic with Elisha and exploring how her work (Kinetix) could give people a better baseline for expressing their physicality, and ultimately allow them to have a better emotional life. So many of the structures we grow up in don’t provide a good platform for long-term healthy physical expression. Growing up I was always “active” participating in sports year round, yet the majority of my day in school was spent bored and hunched over in a chair/desk that was too small for my frame. In sports, the most intense physical expression (running sprints for example) was reserved for discipline. Needless to say, most of us grow up and continue down a path that is far less than ideal for healthy physical expression, which in turn leads to an unhealthy mental state.

And of course improper physical expression isn’t the only cause of pain, depression, or anxiety… but I believe it’s role in conditions like these is underestimated. If you sit around in a slumped position and embody the physiology of a depressed person, then eventually you will likely become depressed. And lucky for us, the opposite is equally true! Sure, there are some inevitabilities of engaging in the modern world (like writing this blog post) that require less than ideal physical expression, and I believe that’s ok as long as we’re maximizing the opportunities we have for power posing, exercising, and taking up practices (like self-help fascial work or Kinetix) that give us a better platform for healthy physical expression and ultimately better emotional/mental wellbeing. One thing Elisha says in the video that’s extremely important to remember is:

“Every emotion is accompanied by a physical sensation.”

And of course the inverse of this is true too: every physical expression is accompanied by an emotional sensation. As you can see, Elisha has become quite adept at using her physicality through things like power posing to enhance her emotional life. For some people power posing will come much more naturally than others, but for all of us it’s a muscle that has to be built. I’m far from perfect in this arena, yet I’ve made substantial progress from a few years ago. I believe we all have the capacity to use our physicality to provide us with healthier and more fulfilled emotional lives.

What has your experience been with practices like power posing? Do you have success stories around using your body to positively change your mental state? Do you have experience with other practices similar to power posing that you’ve felt emotional benefit from? I’d love to hear your stories and input!

Please share this post if you’ve had a positive experience with power posing or if you want to contribute to the conversation. If you have comments or questions drop them below! And if you enjoyed this Mobility Mastery Q&A and have a question that you’d like us to feature, please send your questions to [email protected] so I can surprise Elisha with them :).

See ya next time,