Ever notice that when you start to get a little down you begin to literally sag? You sit with your shoulders slumped and head down, classic "leave me alone, I'm depressed" posture. Turns out that not only do you look that way because of how you feel, you feel that way because that's how you're sitting. It's called embodied cognition and suggests that the mind-body connection runs both ways.
This mind-body link is so powerful that it can lead us to trust (or not) our own thought processes and feelings - whether positive or negative - and thereby affect decision making in all aspects of life, love and work. From Fast Company:
In a 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, Petty along with other researchers instructed 71 college students to either "sit up straight" and "push out [their] chest" or "sit slouched forward" with their "face looking at [their] knees." While holding their assigned posture, the students were asked to list either three positive or negative personal traits they thought would contribute to their future job satisfaction and professional performance. Afterward, the students were asked to take a survey where they rated themselves on how well they thought they would perform as a future professional.
We can apply this to athletic performance, too. (Cmon, you knew it was coming.) Start a workout standing tall, ready to take on the world, how can you not feel better, do better, than if you start out all hunched over like you're fearing the worst. Next time you hear that count down, look that clock right in the eye, stick your chest out and be your own superhero.
Want to learn more about how your body language affects you? Check out Amy Cuddy's Ted Talk: