Sunday, October 11, 2009

Success Secrets: Mind-Body 'Links"

Two links from Science Daily:

Body Posture Affects Confidence in Your Own Thoughts
"Researchers found that people who were told to sit up straight were more likely to believe thoughts they wrote down while in that posture concerning whether they were qualified for a job.

On the other hand, those who were slumped over their desks were less likely to accept these written-down feelings about their own qualifications."

Mediterranean Diet Associated with Reduced Risk of Depression
"Individuals who followed the Mediterranean diet most closely had a greater than 30 percent reduction in the risk of depression ..."

Imagine. Thousands of volumes have been written about confidence, positive mental attitude, etc. Yet, what if two of our most basic basic habits, our posture and our food intake, had an overwhelming effect on our entire view of the world and ourselves? One of the key takeaways of this research is summarized in the old adage: "man makes the habits, then habits make the man". Another conclusion might be that the evidence continues to come in that we have responsibility for ourselves. Even such intimate, and seemingly uncontrollable traits as depression, self-confidence, etc, are subject to the influence of self-responsibility. It is we, not our family history, that choose to sit up straight. It is we, not our genetic makeup, or our "class", etc, who are responsible for, potentially, our susceptibility to depression, etc. Imagine if 100 million people switched from therapists and pill-popping to merely sitting up straight and eating right.

I'm no opponent of either psychotherapy or psycho-pharmacology, but it is instructive to remember that, 50 years ago, the "well known fact" that exercise and cardiovascular health are linked, was not well-known at all. In 50 more years, the links between our physical selves and our psychological selves may turn out to be a commonplace assertion.

Certainly we associate confidence with an upright bearing. Soon I will be reviewing D.A. Benton's Executive Charisma: Six Steps to Mastering the Art of Leadership, which devotes an entire chapter to this fact. The chapter heading: "Stand Tall, Straight, and Smile".

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