Magazine article Work & Family Life

If You Want to Empower Your 'Inner Optimist'

Magazine article Work & Family Life

If You Want to Empower Your 'Inner Optimist'

Article excerpt

Here's how to do it: roll your shoulders back, stand up straight, raise your chin and, for an added boost, put your hands on your hips. Researchers in the U.S. and abroad have found that simply by consciously assuming an upright, confident, cheerful stance, you can empower the optimist within you.

One study, for example, was conducted by psychologists James Laird at Clark University in Massachusetts and Simone Schnall at the University of Plymouth in England. They found that participants who adopted postures and facial expressions that were "associated with happiness" generated cheerier autobiographical memories than those whose postures and expressions embodied sadness or anger.

"People with their chins down and their shoulders rounded are going to be less receptive to potentially good information," says Paula Niedenthal, a psychology professor at the Université Blaise Pascal in France who has also conducted research on posture and the emotions.

This does not mean that merely changing your posture will take the sting out of seriously bad news, of course. …

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