Your mind moves you, but how you move also affects your mind.
Recent research in the area of embodied cognition confirms we can improve how we think and behave by changing how we sit, stand and move.
What are the practical implications and how can we use this to our advantage?
- Posture is vital. The military makes soldiers stand up straight for a reason; there’s an implicit connection between posture and power that has been demonstrated time and time again. Want to increase confidence? Make yourself tougher? Write a better self-evaluation? Impress others? Stand up straight.
- Body position affects you too. Lying down improves problem-solving and keeps you calm. Sitting in the same way as you did when an experience happened makes it easier to recall that event. Leaning back makes difficult things seem easier.
- Move that body. Gesture improves memory and facilitates learning. Crossing your arms increases persistence. Want to increase self-esteem and self-control? Clench those fists. Tense your muscles for a boost of willpower. Dancing can increase creativity not to mention improve your relationship.
- Warm it up. The temperature affects not only how your body feels, but your mind as well. When it’s warmer, you’re a warmer person — so a hot bath can make you feel less lonely. Social exclusion literally feels cold and you’ll enjoy romantic comedies more when it’s cold outside.
- Smile. Happy things make us smile but smiling also makes us happier. (Botox can actually make it harder to experience emotions.) A grin makes funny things funnier and can increase attention and make you focus on the big picture.
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