Power Stances and Pep Talks

Power Stances and Pep Talks

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You stand in front of the mirror, hands on your hips, legs spread wide, chin up, chest out, looking like a superhero. You start with your name, which could be James. “James,” you say to yourself in an assertive tone, “You’ve got this.” You give yourself a hefty pep talk, all the while maintaining what author, researcher, and most watched Ted talk Amy Cuddy calls a power stance. Bringing together a powerful posture and positive self talk, specifically in the third person, you shape your idea of yourself and give you all the encouragement and motivation you’re going for.

Strike A Pose

In her TED talk which has now become the most watched Ted talk of all time, Amy Cuddy presents her research which showed that striking a powerful pose which exudes confidence in posture, can shape who you are and what you believe you are capable of. All you need is one minute to stand like a super hero, embodying power and strength by opening and expanding your being. Legs wide, chest wide, chin up, you are psychologically predisposing yourself to serious change. Your nonverbal display of confidence changes your behavioral and neuroendocrine systems. Cuddy’s research found that for both men and women, there was a rise in testosterone levels, feelings of power, and a willingness to take healthy risks. Additionally, there was a reduction in the production of cortisol, which is a hormone produced when the fight or flight system is activated under stress. All of that translates to feeling more biochemically prepared to get something done and conquer something challenging.

Talk It Up

Recent research from the University of Michigan has found that talking to yourself in the third person has “really powerful self-regulatory effects,” the research leader Ethan Kross explained to NPR. The “subtle linguistic shift” moves the brain from feelings of stress to more self-love. The brain has a unique way to bring itself down. Men who are in recovery from addiction to drugs and alcohol can identify. Addiction, bogged down by shame and stigma, can produce a nasty narrative in the subconscious that is less than inspiring. Positive self talk using the third person perspective encourages emotional regulation. Coupled with a power stance, the body and the mind are more connected under stress. Using your own name, you are more likely to catch yourself off guard and listen to what you have to say. You’re encouraged to believe and be inspired by the facts you are stating to yourself. Another study published in Scientific Reports found that having this conversation in your own mind, meaning not out loud, might be even more beneficial. Get ready for a lot of mime-like conversations with yourself in the mirror.


Positive self-talk can change the game in recovery. Tree House Recovery offers men’s long term treatment programs. Creating sustainable change, men in the Tree House program find freedom from addiction. For information on our Portland programs, call us today: (503) 850-2474

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