Combat Stress with Your Physiology

Science now recognises there is a link between mind and body. You may have heard how people decided to get better when they were seriously ill and they managed to get through their illness. They often surprised their doctors with their achievement in a speedy recovery. Your mind is very powerful and can influence what happens in your body.

But is the opposite true as well? Can your body influence your thinking and your mood? It turns out it can. There are groups of people who are doing research in this area. For example Amy Cuddy has been doing research on power poses. (see her video: She discovered that just 2 minutes of holding a power pose, such as that the winning athletes do, changes your hormonal balance and as a result makes you more confident and more resourceful.

Now, think about what you do with your body when you are sad or stressed? Do you keep your shoulders down, your back straight? Not, at all! Every emotion that you feel has a corresponding physiology. The mind trick here is: change your physiology and you will change how you feel. It is true also for face expressions. There's been a research done when deeply depressed people were told to smile in front of a mirror for about 20 minutes a day. After a few weeks they could no longer stay depressed.

When you straighten your body, you open up the air track. Breathing deeply is very important as oxygen is absolutely necessary for efficient energy production in your cells. When you are stressed, your breath tends to be shallow. You do not take in that much oxygen and it often results in you feeling tired. Take a few deep breaths every few hours to allow your body to feel energised.

Start feeling better now. Assume a power pose, relax your shoulders, stand tall and let the magic happen!

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