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Want to reduce stress and boost your confidence? Strike a power pose

Posted Aug 26, 2013 6:25 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Striking a power pose can have lingering effects that can help in a job interview or at work, even after you’ve relaxed your position, new research suggests.

What, exactly, is a power pose? It can be a tall stance, with a slight lean forward, hands at the side, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports. It can be a forward lean over a desk, with hands on the desk surface. Or it can be opening your arms, perhaps with one draped across the chair next to you.

The research shows that assuming a powerful pose can reduce the stress hormone cortisol and increase testosterone, which is associated with more confident and aggressive behavior. It may also spur a different vocal pitch or facial expression that continues after the power stance, researchers theorize.

The story recounts several studies. In one, study participants who practiced a power pose before a videotaped speech had lower cortisol and showed less signs of stress, such as lip biting or anxious smiles. In another, study subjects who assumed power poses had higher testosterone and were more likely later to risk $2 for the possibility of doubling the money.

In a third study, test subjects who tried power poses before mock job interviews had higher ratings and were more likely to be “hired.”

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