“Twenty-four-year-old Kara Zor-El (Supergirl), who was taken in by the Danvers family when she was 13 after being sent away from Krypton, must learn to embrace her powers after previously hiding them.”
Supergirl’s defining characteristic is her power. So the iconic image of Supergirl shows her in a power pose, the same pose often struck by her cousin Superman as well as by Wonder Woman. It’s no random coincidence that these superheroes stand up tall, arms akimbo, taking up space and asserting their right to do so. Not only does this posture make you look powerful, it alters your body chemistry to make you feel powerful too.
Wait, what? Yes, the way you sit or stand influences your hormonal balance, specifically the levels of cortisol and testosterone. Cortisol is a hormone released when you feel stressed and which increases your feelings of anxiety. Testosterone is a hormone that promotes feelings of confidence and tolerance for risk, and is present in both men and women. So a person who has low cortisol and high testosterone circulating in his or her blood is biologically predisposed to feel more assertive, better able to handle pressure and less stressed.
This link between body posture and confidence was discovered by Amy Cuddy, a Harvard University researcher. She and her colleagues took saliva samples from volunteers before and after they had held either a high power pose or a low power pose for two minutes. Like the Supergirl stance, high power poses are open, relaxed, and involve expanding arms and legs to fully occupy the space around you. Low power poses are closed and guarded, and involve shrinking into the smallest amount of space possible.
The results of this study were striking. High power poses increased testosterone by 20% and decreased cortisol by 25%. Watch Amy Cuddy’s TED talk to hear the details of this work.
What this means for you is that standing like Supergirl for two minutes before an interview or a presentation can significantly improve your performance. This takes a little planning to find a restroom or other quiet place to hold your pose; two minutes and you’re good to go. Try it, this really works. Just be sure to avoid the kryptonite.
Image credit to newsrama.com