Watching Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk, “Your body language shapes who you are,” gave me an aha! moment about a new way to gain power over my OCD.
Our body language influences how we think and feel about ourselves
Dr. Cuddy, a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School, states that when we are feeling powerful, we open up our stance and make ourselves bigger. When we are feeling not powerful, we close in on ourselves, hunching over. Our body language communicates how we feel.
It make sense that our body language is influenced by our thoughts and feelings. But what’s really interesting is that the opposite is also true—we can influence how we think and feel by our choice of body language. Dr. Cuddy’s research has shown that if you adopt a “high power pose” for 2 minutes*, you change levels of some key hormones in your body, which make you feel more powerful.
How does this relate to OCD? Before I answer this question, let me share a little background. Because I’ve done a lot of my own exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP), OCD doesn’t bother me much on a daily basis. But I’ll admit there have been times when I’ve slacked off on my maintenance ERP, and OCD has taken advantage, coming up with some new obsession that feels utterly scary and completely real.
During those times, I immediately go back to doing ERP. I expose myself to the feared trigger and read scripts such as, “_________________