Power Pose – Hijack Your Mental Focus

Feeling a little down? Hangin’ a bit from the weekend? Just can’t get motivated?

What if I could tell you how to instantly change your behavior and feel more alive? The next time you walk into a meeting or present a sales pitch, you will be on fire!!

Competitive athletes learn to go into their “zone”, so why not you. It’s all a matter of state change. Watch how athletes stand on the sidelines; shoulders back, feet shoulder-width apart, and arms crossed or hands on their hips. Gymnasts strike a strong pose prior to starting a routine. Why is this important to note? These athletes are controlling their breathing and changing their mental state. They are psyching themselves to W-I-N!

Unfortunately, posture alone cannot accomplish this change of behavior, but it can encourage an increase in testosterone (power hormone) and a decrease in cortisol (stress hormone) in both men and women. When you start feeling more powerful and less anxious, you can think and be more productive.

You try it! Stand with your arms over your head in a “V” or on your hips. If you prefer, recline with your arms over your head and legs and toes extended. These are examples of power poses, feel free to create your own. (I would love to hear your suggestions) While you are in your power pose, look around and take note and concentrate on the positives; ignore the negatives. Think of prior successful meetings or sales transactions. This will jump-start your hippocampus to retrieve chunks of related memories to encourage your productive thoughts and confidence.

Congratulations! You just hijacked your brain to think like a winner, no power tie needed.

~ Dr. Doscher

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How Does Color Affect Our Mood?

Companies around the world research the best colors for their logos. Google tested 40 shades of blue before deciding which blue to use in their logo. The psychology of color plays a role in most of these decisions, such as red signifies warmth, passion, and sales! Blue is calming and trustworthy, while green signifies health. Chanel, coined “the little black dress” and continues to use black in their logo symbolizing classic and sophisticated designs.

We see images via the visual cortex portion of the brain. However, the retinal ganglion cells are the first responder neurons, sending signals to the hypothalamus, part of our brain’s limbic system. The hypothalamus helps maintain balance with our body’s internal environment (hunger, thirst, temperature, and sleep). It also triggers secretion of hormones that affect our mood, emotions, and need for reward. Here lies the key to how different wavelengths of color affect our mood.

Blue/green wavelengths, such as in morning light stimulate the hormone cortisol, which stimulates us to awaken. Therefore, it is hard to go to sleep after working on the computer for hours, unless you wear blue blocking glasses, such as EyeYee. I discovered this secret after experiencing many sleepless nights and eye strain while writing my dissertation. Keep in mind, too much cortisol released in our body causes stress and anxiety. (Could that be the reason why people tend to be more anxious after hours of computer gaming? Don’t go there! LOL.) Whereas, soft oranges/yellows in sunsets encourage melatonin production and help keep our sleep cycles on schedule; that why I recommend using warm lights in the bedroom to encourage restful sleep.

One Tokyo railway line installed blue lights at the end of their platforms and claimed they had a 74% reduction in suicide at these platforms. However, Nicholas Ciccone, PhD found inconclusive evidence regarding the effects of blue light on impulsivity. Correlations can be a bit misleading, but they do sell headlines! Two of the world’s largest restaurant food chains rely on color science for their marketing. McDonald’s has maintained their golden arches and red accents, while Subway adds a pop of yellow and green. Volkswagen maintains their image as “the car of the people” while encourage trustworthiness with the blue background in their logo.

As a researcher in interpersonal communications, I would love to hear your feedback regarding your choice of colors for clothes and possible effects on conversation.

Best to you all,

Dr. Michelle Doscher

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Time for a mind and body detox?

The holidays are my favorite time of the year, when I am not stressed to meet deadlines, fighting a wicked cold, trying to outsmart even the savviest professional shopper, and appearing jovial throughout the gloomiest of frigid days!  Woohoo, that was cathartic.  So, how should we prepare for the holidays?

Prayer or meditation opens your mind and allows you to release and shrug off the weight of daily doldrums.  Walking to and from a neighbor’s house to say “hello”, stimulates endorphin production to help ease bodily aches and elevate your mood.  By reducing cortisol levels, you are making your heart healthier and reducing your risk for osteoporosis.  Your body thanks you!

Did you know the above tips also help reduce adrenaline levels, which tend to be over the top, in us high energy, anxious Type A personalities?  If you know a child or adult who is battling attention deficit disorder (ADD)or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), share these tidbits with them as well.

On to detoxing our bodies… you are what you eat and [drink]!  Some of you may remember the elephant posters in school cafeterias back in the 1970’s with this slogan.  I, of course, took it to mean I had the potential to become an elephant.  Not the intention of the American Dietary Association.  I believe they were thinking more along the lines of not replacing molasses for motor oil in your car’s engine.

Although the intentions of the “healthier” fast-food establishments are to provide daily nutritional meals, fresh vegetables are rarely on their menus.  Hence, too many of us are lacking in our daily magnesium intake.  Why magnesium?   Your heart, bones, and brain will thank you.  A time-released high-absorbency magnesium vitamin is best, which I have found at Jigsaw Health.com.  Of course, consult with a medical professional before taking my advice.

Here’s to a happier and healthier you! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you all!

Michelle Doscher, PhD

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