Strike a Pose; Feel the Power

You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. – Job 10:11

Meditations in Motion

I am back to running at 200 feet above sea level these days. After a 12-day visit to 6800 feet above sea level, during which I ran exactly three times and struggled to breathe each one, flat-land running felt wonderful.

My husband and I did a few short, easy runs around town, just to get the feel of our running legs again. As it turns out, those running legs felt pretty good after a period of rest.

Meditations in MotionAs a runner, I am aware of my body. I notice little twinges and differences in my stride. One of the ways I knew that I had finally moved on from the hamstring injury which plagued me for almost two years was the funny little worn spot on the inside of my right running shoe.

For years, every pair of running shoes I wore developed that worn spot at the same location. For about three months before and during the time I was injured, no spot developed in my running shoes. I knew before the injury showed up something was wrong. My current shoes have the spot again.

Since my recovery, I cannot tell you how much fun it is to run. It’s as if I miraculously found something precious which was missing. I once again get all of the benefits I have always gotten from running.

I run because of the little hit of dopamine which comes after a great run. I run for friendships formed through running. I run because I like the strong, clean, euphoric, sweaty feeling I get from running, and for a lot of other reasons, but I do not run because I am disciplined.

This was brought home to me a few months ago by the addition of several unwanted pounds. Five of them, to be exact.

Meditations in Motion

In the past, if I noticed my weight creeping up to unacceptable levels (as arbitrarily determined by me), I would temporarily increase running mileage to burn excess calories. My metabolism typically runs pretty hot, so extending runs to lose weight was never a hardship.

The combination of advancing age and the slowing metabolism that comes with it, along with an injured hamstring, prevented me from burning excess calories and my weight crept up. After being shocked one day upon stepping on the bathroom scale, I made a conscious effort to reduce calories and lose the excess pounds.

This was one example of how my mind changed my body, but, in the words of psychologist Amy Cuddy, “We know our minds change our bodies, but can our bodies change our minds?”

We obviously are more than just a body. If we lose our appendix or gall bladder, for example, that does not change who we are. Losing a limb to injury or disease does not make us less of a person.

We often think about our appearance, even if we don’t want to admit it. We get our hair styled, maintain a certain weight, wear makeup, remove unwanted hair. These are all decisions our mind makes to alter the way our body looks.

 

Meditations in Motion

 

Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, author, and speaker, has studied the ways in which the reverse occurs: our bodies also influence our minds.

I first discovered Ms. Cuddy’s work when I was teaching chemistry. Every year the students in Honors Chemistry classes were required to produce an innovative research project and present it at a science fair.

As you can imagine, for a 16-year-old, the idea of presenting the results of their research to working scientists could be pretty intimidating. When I came across this TED talk given by Ms. Cuddy, I knew I had to take the time to show it to my students before their presentations.

I recommend that anyone who is approaching a job interview or any other evaluative situation watch the video. It’s worth the 20 minutes. Even if you don’t have a job interview in your future, I still recommend watching her powerful story; I cry (in a good way) each time I watch it.

Cuddy’s research has shown that when we truly believe in our message, when we are being our best, authentic selves, our bodies are in sync with our minds. Our body language matches what we are saying and feeling. We can be confident without coming across as arrogant.

Meditations in Motion

When we feel confident, triumphant, or powerful, our bodies naturally expand. Cuddy posits by striking a powerful pose (she calls one such pose “The Wonder Woman” pose), our bodies send that message of power and confidence to our minds.

By striking a power pose for just a few minutes, Cuddy has found that our levels of stress hormones decrease, and our feel-good hormones increase. In other words, our bodies change our minds. They change the way we see ourselves and actually shape who we are.

Power posing does not mean acting intimidating or aggressive; it is a way to give yourself the power to show your real self in a given situation, without the fears and inhibitions that may hold you back.

The next time you are facing a slightly daunting situation such as a job interview, a potentially awkward conversation, or even the starting line of a race, go into the bathroom or other private space beforehand. Strike a pose. Feel the power. Be yourself.

 

I am linking up with Running on the Fly and Confessions of a Mother Runner for their Weekly Rundown, Shank You Very Much for Dream Team and Global Blogging, Random-osity for The Good, The Random, The Fun, Esme Salon for Senior Salon, Our World Tuesday, Purposeful Faith for RaRa, Kooky Runner for Tuesday Topics, Mary Geisen Tell His Story, Meghan Weyerbacher for Tea and Word, Bethere2day for Wordless Wednesday on a Tuesday, InstaEncouragements, Legacy Builders Legacy Link up, and My Random Musings for Anything Goes.

 

 

80 comments

  1. Oh this brought back memories and I hadnโ€™t thought of the โ€œWonder Womanโ€ pose in so long. This gives me a chance to revisit it. when I was teaching donation based yoga in my hometown a few moons ago, I taught this pose to the students. I had a lot of fun with it but completely forgot about it. Thanks for bringing it back to the front burner of my mind! Got to put it back into my repertoire!

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  2. That’s an interesting theory on the Wonder Woman pose, but I totally believe it.Assuming a stance of power ๐Ÿ˜‰ I ought to give that a try for my next race ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for linking with us, Laurie!

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  3. [Hmm – I think my comment may have gone to spam again. – I hope I clicked “send”.]
    I want to say that finding your doctor and him making the diagnosis he did was very lucky and your spot in your shoe hopefully remains the status quo forever Laurie.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I can tell you that my body is definitely changing my mind right now. Menopause weight gain aside, I’m fighting some demons right now. Running feels so hard and it’s really messing with me. I’ll watch the TED talk but not right now…feeling very emotional these days!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wendy, so sorry to hear that you are fighting running demons! I am hoping this will pass soon. Sending good vibes and hugs your way! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. Truly, our minds are so incredible. I have read about how striking a power pose can really change what we’re feeling/thinking.

    I am a very disciplined runner, ask any of my friends. I’m also very disciplined (generally) with food — because I have to be. My metabolism is pretty darn lousy.

    I did watch Pahla B’s Vpodcast (video podcast?). She talked about gaining weight, and why she’s ok with it. Her message was awesome, but it’s still hard. She said one day she walked past a mirror, and when she saw those few extra pounds, she was overwhelmed with compassion for herself.

    She also went on to say that she didn’t want to look back in 10 years and be sorry she didn’t appreciate her body more. I know I am absolutely guilty of that — I’ve come a really long way with body image, but it’s still a work in progress, and that really resonated with me!

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    • I never heard of Pahla B. I am going to have to check her out. I am having a difficult time coming to grips with my new body shape too. The numbers on the scale don’t change that much, but the muscle tone and density decreases. As you say, it’s a work in progress, Judy.

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  6. I’m a believer in the mind body connection and that it goes both ways. Great advice you give. I ran and ran for years, very slowly but i still ran and then I got older and got a few injuries. So I still run but not near as much as I think I have to husband my miles. I ride my bicycle mostly now, but I am still a runner.
    The slow gain in weight thing, has always got to be dealt with. I know what you mean by being a runner makes you more aware of subtle changes in your body.
    Great post. I loved it.
    Have a great week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your very kind comment. I think we runners do pay attention to our bodies. We have to if we want to keep running. I do some yoga too to strengthen that mind-body connection. I want to keep moving for lots of years! Hope your week is great too!

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  7. Laurie, once again I leave here just a bit more motivated than when I arrived. Your example is such a boost to me. And I am so appreciative.

    Time to grab my sneakers and get going today …

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Having Chronic pain, it’s been difficult to exercise regularly. And medications had added on the pounds. But recently I have begun and online workout intended fo Chronic illness people, called Faithful Fitness. For the first time, I am actually enjoying a little movement.

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    • You sound like you have a lot of determination. So glad to read that you found an exercise program that works for you. I am going to check out Faithful Fitness.

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  9. This is so powerful! It does make a difference. And I’m working on “striking a pose” in my mind as I approach my work. We can be confident in what He has called us to! There is a difference between confidence in our God given abilities and arrogance.

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  10. It is interesting how our mind and our body are so inter-connected. And I have the perfect opportunity to try the Wonder Woman pose tomorrow as I visit a school to try to answer a class of teenagers’ questions about Christianity! The talk on the video sounds interesting too – I’m noting that down to watch soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think there are more connections between our mind and body than we realize. Good luck with your talk to the high schoolers tomorrow! I miss spending my days with teenagers! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  11. Thanks Laurie! I’ve GOT to get back to running. My daughter and I are tentatively planning to do another marathon a year from September in Utah, and I have not been running at all for some time now. I’m going to listen to the TED talk and I appreciate all the links to running linkups you listed above. You’re inspiring to me!!! Thank for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you do get back to running, Patsy. I did the St. George marathon in Utah. Is that the one you’re thinking about? It was awesome! A lot of downhill. Thank you for giving us the chance to share!

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  12. I’ve watched her TED talk too and loved it. I don’t always strike a pose quite as dramatic as Wonder Woman, but I have noticed that if I’ll at least straighten up my posture, I feel better about myself! Thanks for sharing this, Laurie. We made it back from Denver last weekend so I’m missing my Rocky Mountain high. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I notice that too, Lisa. I used to have pretty good posture naturally, but as I get older, I have to remind myself not to hunch! Ugh! I feel much better about myself if I just straighten up too. Hope you had a good time in Denver. I’m missing my Colorado boys.

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  13. The body-mind connection makes total sense to me. It’s why I take care of my body in the way I do. It has nothing to do with vanity and everything to do with my mind. It always changes my mind and keeps it changed. When we feel good, it affects how we posture, how we walk, sit, express ourselves, etc. Will watch the TED Talk. Thanks for sharing.

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  14. I’m so glad you’re able to run again! My metabolism tends to run like a sloth ;). My ankle injury from a year ago has finally repaired enough to put in longer miles–I’m looking forward to running a half-marathon in June. I’ll have to check out the TED talk, it sounds fascinating!

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    • So glad to hear that you are able to put the miles in again! Good luck with your half marathon. I will look forward to reading all about it! ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you like the TED talk.

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  15. I feel like you just touched the surface of the mind/body connection. I’m interested in listening to the TED talk and will try to do that soon. I believe our body language matches our message. I have seen this in my own life many a time. I hope you explore this topic more. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you are right – I think our body language matches our message, sometimes much better than our words. I have been thinking about this topic for a long time. I will have to write more about it. Thank you, Mary!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. This is fascinating, Laurie. I need to put that TED talk on my list of things to watch … and soon! And talk about being in tune with your body … and your shoes. ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s so interesting that you noticed that worn spot on your shoe wasn’t there when you were injured. It pays to pay attention to the smallest things, doesn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi Laurie – great to hear your injury is better now! That must be such a relief. I love the idea of striking a pose to decrease stress and make you feel more confident. I’m definitely going to try this. Thank you for sharing with the #dreamteam xx

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