Mornings can be tough but Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy says they can be better if you stay mindful of one behaviour.
Cuddy says that before you even put one foot on the floor, you should stretch your body as wide as possible.
If you haven’t heard of Amy Cuddy, she is the author of the popular book “Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges,” a book that explains how we can use our body to make powerful changes on our thoughts and emotions.
Her TED Talk (which I’ve shared at the bottom of this article) goes through certain postures that can help you build confidence.
What’s the theory behind Cuddy’s thinking?
Most of us believe that our emotions come first and then our body reacts. While this may be true, the opposite can also occur: Your body posture can also influence your emotions.
In other words, you can feel more powerful simply by striking a power pose.
In a recent interview, Cuddy says that the relationship between your body actions and your feelings are “obviously bi-directonal….But the people who wake up like this (stretching out their arms in a V) are super happy, like annoyingly happy.”
She also went onto say that if you “sleep in a fetal ball…we have some preliminary evidence that people who wake up like that wake up more stressed out.”
Yet, research says that approximately 40% of people sleep in a fetal position, which could be making them less confidence in their daily life.
4 Scientific Benefits of Stretching When You Wake Up
It isn’t just Amy Cuddy that proposes doing this. Many researchers and physiologists also say that stretching your body when you wake up offers several benefits.
Here are 4:
1) Muscle Flexibility
After sleeping for 8 hours, many people often find that their muscles are stiff and tight. This is obviously caused by lying in the same position for a long time. Upon waking, if you stretch out your back, neck and legs, it will leave your body feeling better. This will make it much easier to get your day started.
2) Joint Flexibility
The main causes of morning stiffness are lack of daily physical activity, being overweight or not sleeping properly. Stretching in the morning will help you improve the range of motion in your joints.
3) Improved circulation
Stretching definitely improves blood circulation. The heart rate is slowest just before rising, so when you stretch, your body starts moving faster and circulating blood to the muscles in the extremities. Proper circulation helps you move better throughout the day.
4) Stress Relief
Stretching also helps you relieve stress and tension. It can be hard on the best of days to get out of bed knowing that we have a stressful day ahead, so taking the time to release tension will allow you to face the day more positively.
If you’re interested in watching Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on how your body influences your thoughts and emotions, you can view it here:
Course: Mobilize & Stretch Your Way To Improved Health & Performance
We all know that we need to stretch and mobilize our body more. It’s something that everyone knows they should do, but we usually get stuck on how to actually do it.
If you want to learn how to do it properly, here is a program that has simple, easy-to-implement stretching and mobilizing movements that you can easily do at home.
Check it out here.
P.S It’s a course that’s especially useful if you sit at a desk all day and want to improve your posture and overall health.
Originally published on Ideapod’s blog.