I have a sticky note on my bathroom mirror that says, “remember who the f*ck you are”.
It’s easy to doubt yourself when starting a business or a new job. It’s vulnerable and uncertain and sometimes all you see are the potential problems ahead of you.
My sticky note is a reminder of all the tenacity, perseverance, and grit it took to get me here. All the things I’ve already done and accomplished. My incredible passion for my work. The feeling in my bones that I’m meant to do this. My dedication to helping others live better too.
And when I remember who tf I am, I relax my shoulders, stand a little taller, and hold my head a little higher. Turns out there’s science behind this too.
Studies done by Erik Peper, from San Francisco State University, and sports psychologist Vietta Wilson, show that it’s easier to recall happy, optimistic thoughts and memories of ourselves while sitting in an upright posture.
When it’s easier to access positive thoughts and memories, it’s then easier to generalize those thoughts and memories into positive self-beliefs. When we have beliefs and stories about ourselves that are positive, we act and make decisions based on optimistic thinking. We make choices based on what we want instead of what we fear (Wilson, V. E., & Peper, E. 2004)
As Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy says, “expanding your body frees you to approach, act, and persist”.
Our body language communicates to us how we perceive ourselves and our world. These perceptions then become reinforced through our own behaviors, actions, and then eventually ingrained into our physiology.
These feelings of personal power and expansiveness are critical for overall performance. We are more persistent problem solvers and have the most neural access to agile, creative thinking when sitting up straight.
Jamini Kwon from Seoul National University has dedicated her research to embodied cognition and “firmly believes that our cognitive processes can be modified through our body”.
Her research has found that not only does a slouched posture increase our cortisol (stress) levels, it will also bias us towards more negative thinking. “We are markedly less motivated and determined when trying to solve complex problems while slouching and contracted-in towards ourselves.” These affects then lead to an increase in self-deprecating thoughts and negative rumination of thoughts like “I’m useless”, “I have no follow-through”, etc. (Kwon, J., & Kim S. Y., 2015)
Contracting-in on ourselves derails our confidence and takes away our motivation and persistence. This then leads to negative thoughts about ourselves and our capabilities.
As activist Maggie Kuhn has said “we have a terrible habit of obstructing our own paths forward, especially at the worst possible moments. Too often we acquiesce to feelings of powerlessness. We consent to them, which does nothing but reinforce them”.
The next time you need to remember who the f*ck you are, stand-up tall so you can remember all those times you were your best self.
Cheers to better living