You’ve heard the cliche mind over matter right? The idea that our mind can overcome situations around us or conditions in our body. The power of focusing our thoughts and energies in one direction to accomplish something out of will. That’s fine and we know our bodies also have their way with us when we break diets to give into our temptations, or when we give in to that bargain of a sale for that hit of dopamine regardless of the budget we were trying to stick to.
What about our body having its way with us for things that strengthen us?
One Moment At a Time
I’ve been learning on a whole new level just how having an empowering morning routine helps in hard times. In the moment by moment practice of continually redirecting attention away from the racing, worried, anxious, angry thoughts and into the present, one breath at a time, resilience is found.
Body Takes Over
It’s much easier to let strong emotions and racing thoughts pass by while in the middle of say, a series of yoga poses, pumping fists in the air with hand weights during a cross training routine, drinking over a liter of water in one go or sitting in the lotus position while chanting.
I was sharing my experience but didn’t know there was research behind it. There’s plenty! In this famous TED talk, Amy Cuddy explains how poses that our body’s regularly practice, shape our thoughts, feelings and eventually how we project ourselves in the world.
According to her research, they even influence our hormone levels. At 11 minutes in the video she explains how being in poses of power or poses that take up more physical space (think the wonder women pose with feet spread apart, hands on hips and chin up as opposed to the fetal position) brings up our testosterone levels making us more assertive and confident and brings down our stress hormone, cortisol.
Just being in power poses for 2 minutes increases the testosterone by over 20%! If this is what happens after just two minutes, what happens when people are doing warrior poses in a yoga sessions for 30 minutes? What happens when you’re rocking out to your favorite song, letting your body loose at a concert?
Not Waiting Anymore
It’s easy to say I will take that walk out in the sun when I feel better, I’ll start that exercise routine when I get some energy, I’ll make that wholesome meal for myself when I’m feeling healthier. I’ll take up that invitation to a festival when I’m into it.
I’m inviting you to push aside the idea to wait till you “feel like it” and instead do it in order TO feel it.
There’s power in acting as if, as Amy has shared.
Powering Through a Hard Season in Your Life
Are you going through a hard time right now? Are you nursing yourself through a breakup? Sifting through the uncertainty of being in between jobs? Caring for a loved one that’s fallen ill?
Whatever it is, how about nursing it with a pumping fist in the air like a rockstar in the midst of your pain momma!?
How about getting in your wonder woman stance, chin up, while your heart is breaking and your stomach twisting in knots? How about for a solid 2 minutes, fighting the urge to let your limbs coil and contract back up ?
I dare you to stick out your hands with your pointer fingers in the air like the football players after a touchdown, shoulders heavy, knees trembling and all.
Better yet commit to it before you head out the door for 30 days to see what happens! What do you have to lose?
Powering Through Being an Imposter at Harvard
Amy shares her personal story of feeling like an imposter at Harvard. She felt she didn’t belong there and after a pep talk from a friend telling her to do the thing she thinks she shouldn’t be doing UNTIL it feels natural, her dilemma changed. She did in fact do it until one day she embodied what she was doing and finally felt that sweet belonging, deep down
The “Under the Covers” Conversation
Lately, there have been some mornings where my head hosts a conversation that goes like this “Ok just after this, then I’ll go and slip back into the warmth of my comforter and drift off for another hour, juuuust after this.” Thing is, when I stop my one sequence of my routine, my body has gone into automatic into the next without much thought and before I know it I’m like “wait, didn’t I say I was going back under the covers? Ok juuust after this” and before I know it two and a half hours of my morning are gone and I’m feeling so good I want to continue.
I haven’t wanted to stretch, chant, pump and breath some mornings, but damned if I’m not in a better space at the end of it! Like a baptism in it’s truest sense, to my very core, my whiney, tired, tantrummy and still wounded parts are alchemized.
Big Bravery in Small Acts
Sometimes an act of bravery doesn’t look like the firefighters holding the child through a blazing building or a whistle-blower at a big corporation. Sometimes the biggest act of bravery is smiling with a burning chest writhing in pain.
Have you ever taken an action against your comfort reflex, gone over the hump and arrived to a bigger, more expanded space?
What did that look like for you?
Here is another great video of 6 minutes for your video enjoyment from TIME magazine where Amy very concisely elaborates on the actual study