Power Pose + Smile = Good Medicine
Bear with me now but I’m going to take you on a mental bird walk and try and explain what I’ve been thinking about lately and what that has to do with this art. Ok, deep breath, here we go…during my recent winter vacation I watched a TED talk that my sister recommended. The talk , by social psychologist Amy Cuddy, shares a research study she conducted on how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain . Her research on body language shows that we can change our own body chemistry by changing body positions for 2 minutes. So before a meeting, a test, a tense conversation we can become more confident and comfortable just by striking the power pose for 2 minutes. Of course ever since then I’ve been striking the power pose often, much to the amusement of my family.
This got me thinking of another study I had read awhile back: “When we smile, fake or real, the contractions of the facial muscles slightly distorts the shape of the thin facial bones. This slight distortion in their shape leads to an increase in blood flow into the frontal lobes of the brain and increases in the release of dopamine (Iwase et al., 2002, Neuroimage 17:758). As a result, walking around all day with a smile on your face will bias your mood to be happier. Not only will you be happier but your smile might spontaneously induce the release of dopamine in someone else’s brain—now that truly demonstrates the power of a smile.”
Ok you’re saying – what does this have to do with the slightly weird, somewhat amusing birds as Japanese Ukiyo-e art? The best answer is it made me smile. Smile to make it, smile to share it- so there- I just wanted to give you and me a bit of dopamine for the day. But what’s the link to the power pose? I hear you pondering…following is my interpretation of the power pose bird style. This pose didn’t seem to fit with my demur Japanese bird images so I went for an all American chicken doing the power pose.
When I showed this one to my husband he had a look of alarm…. he felt maybe I’d gone too far with the cross dressing rooster Wonder Chicken – offended, I said that’s not a rooster it’s a chicken with a full comb – he said maybe if it’s hips were wider it would read more chicken than rooster which just made us booth laugh, you be the judge too weird or just weird enough? So take just two minutes today to power pose – slap a smile on and you’ve got some good medicine for what ails you…pass it on!