Confident Body Language Builds Assertiveness: Harvard Professor Proves Hormonal Changes in 2 Minute Power Poses

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Against the odds, Harvard Business School Professor and Social Psychologist , Amy Cuddy has an inspiring message and some exciting research that contributes to development of assertiveness. If you follow this blog you already know that assertiveness is a complex topic essential for patient safety, positive patient experience, and long term rewarding careers in the healthcare field. 

So nurses, nursing students, and patient advocates should be especially interested to know that a two minute stretch can increase testosterone and decrease cortisol levels!

“Don’t fake it til you make it, fake it til you become it!” states Professor Cuddy in her Ted Talk, Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are.  And not only does confident body language effect our hormones, but submissive or passive language does too. We can take two minutes every day to build assertiveness and decrease stress (or if for some reason you want to decrease testosterone and increase cortisol!). In the big vision picture, what a great opportunity to shift our world’s power base from aggressive to assertive!  A two-minute pose can prepare us for all sorts of challenging situations that nurses and patient advocates face:

  • Raising concerns about safe staffing
  • Asking nurses and doctors if they’ve washed their hands
  • Preparing for a job interview or personnel evaluation
  • Speaking up to physicians
  • Facing conflict with a colleague
  • Saying “No” to overtime
  • Asking for, offering, refusing, or accepting help

Her research is all the more compelling because of her personal story that involves struggling through undergraduate school while  recovering from a severe head injury and going on to inspire her students.   Thank you Amy Cuddy for helping us to create safer, kinder healthcare systems!  Well worth the 20 minutes!

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