Oh, go take a hike!
Seriously… go on. Move your body.
Move your body to change your mind.
Want to get a new perspective? Change your physiology. In case you haven’t noticed, your mind is, well, it’s a part of your body. So much of what we talk about for changing the way we react, changing corporate culture & changing our relationships focuses on our ideas, how we think, and not on how our bodies influence the way we think and feel.
Changing your physiology is a concrete tool you can use in situations where you get stuck.
Have a tough meeting? Invite that person to “walk with you”… it sounds so Hollywood but by moving you’ll shake out the stress hormones that flood your system, cloud your thinking and make you sweat and allow yourself to breathe more deeply and listen with real attention.
You’re in a meeting with your team, or a direct report, or your co-worker and mid-conversation, things take a turn. Someone gets angry, someone feels attacked, you just simply can’t understand why this person is not accepting your idea of how to get to the next phase of the project. Get up. Everybody take 5 and MOVE. Walk outside, touch your toes, reach up high and take 3 deeeeeep breaths. Try taking the 2nd half of the meeting in a different space, another conference room, out in the courtyard, over coffee.
The mind/body connection is well documented.º When you stand with your arms up, your brain thinks you’ve won something (it’s called a power pose for a reason). Your blood flow changes, the feeling of fear or anger may even be interpreted by your brain as excitement! You can change the way your endocrine system pumps hormones into your blood by changing your physiology. Power poses are proven to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone by an average of 25% in stress-inducing situations such as public speaking.*
In addition to the physiological ways movement changes your blood chemistry, there are obvious psychological effects as well. By moving you’re making a choice, a physical choice that will resonate with your brain as a choice to change. You are getting out of patterns of behavior physically, freeing up your lungs to take deeper breaths (in stress we breath shallow-ly) and changing what you see. Emotionally and mentally those changes are echoed in a willingness to change perspective, to change what you see in another person’s words, attitude, choices and decisions.
So the next time you have a difficult conversation, ask to have it on the go. And the next time a meeting starts to go down the tubes, invite everyone to take a break.
Not the team leader, not sure how to ask for such a "weird" thing? Share this article with those you'd like to try this strategy with and start a conversation about the benefits of shaking things up to settle people down.