The Stoop That Conquers Gremlin
Depression is a slump—literally and figuratively. Slouched over our desks, or walking slowly, looking down, we reinforce bad, low-energy moods. Recently, Erik Peper, PhD, a professor at San Francisco State University, asked volunteers to try walking down a hallway in two different ways: once with a slumped bearing, and again with a peppy skip. The more depressed a person was feeling before the experiment, the more the slouchy stride drained her and made her feel worse. Bad posture, according to Peper, may only strengthen a vicious cycle of sadness and depression. It’s another artifact of the brain-body link: we act how we feel... and we feel how we act. This might help: Make the feedback loop work in your favor. While Peper found that energetic skipping raises energy levels, you can go even one step further by adopting the “power posture”. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy, a researcher at Harvard Business School, found that spreading your legs and raising your arms above your head for two minutes—like an Olympic gold medalist receiving the world’s ovation—increases testosterone and decreases the stress hormone cortisol. This technique not only makes you look happier and more confident. You feel it.