Body Language, Superheroes, and IBS

I just watched the Amy Cuddy, social psychologist and assistant professor at Harvard University, video on body language.


She talked about body language and how it affects our entire lives.


It got me thinking about how body language affects our reaction to discomfort.


She discusses successful people having higher levels of testosterone and lower levels of cortisol. And how the way we posture our bodies can naturally produce these two things. So high-power poses can produce good hormones, which equals feeling confidence and success where as low power poses increases our cortisol levels, which is our stress hormone. So staying in a low power poses can in essence increase your stress level, which in turn decreases your sense of confidence.


It got me thinking about, you, my community. How do you hold yourself every day?


Do you feel disempowered by IBS are Crohn’s and find yourself often huddled from the pain?


Do you think holding yourself in a high-power position and thinking good thoughts for two minutes could make you feel better both physically and mentally? 


Since I believe that stress has such a large impact on IBS and Chron’s (note it’s not the cause of it but it can contribute to the discomfort) I wondered if we could actually address our thoughts about IBS in terms of how we hold our body.

If we tried to hold our body in high power positions as Cuddy suggests would help people reduce the stress around the symptoms?


Would that would allow us to live a healthier happy life regardless of symptoms?


Then synchronicity and the universe did its job. I remembered that I had actually tested this theory in my own way. Last week I was coaching someone who was having pelvic pain issues. Though she had recovered from her symptoms, they would still flare up in times of stress or emotional distress. When we began discussing her unhappiness with a social situation she noticed her pelvic pain increased. Upon working with her further she began to recall a time in her childhood when she felt powerless. When we worked through the scenario she realized she was taking on emotional stress that was not her own and began to visualize that stress as a large piece of car metal. She wanted to get rid of this baggage because she knew was adding to her stress. She knew releasing some of the stress would help her pain by she wasn’t sure how to do it.


Here enters the Superhero.


Then I talked to her about invoking her own superpower. I had her imagine herself to be strong and powerful and able to carry that large piece of metal and placed back where it belonged.  When she was able to do this she then began to see herself as bold, invincible, and powerful. That was her Superhero. That was her at her best with no stressful thoughts bringing her body down into a powerless position. Though she still felt a small amount of pain in her pelvis, she felt large enough to go into the social situations as this new person without taking on the stress or anxiety of the situation.


She could be bold, invincible, and powerful by just being herself.


And it all makes perfect sense. That’s how it works when you’re connected to your body and the power within. I call it Superhero, Amy Cuddy calls it power poses, but in the end it’s all about reclaiming your personal power.

To learn more about reclaiming your personal power and living a fuller life despite IBS or Crohn’s check out my e-book Listening to Your Gut: Connect with Your Body and Get IBS Relief


If you’d like to see Amy Cuddy talking about power poses here it is:


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