In my own personal experience, I found that I stepped into the physiological/ psychological feedback loop when I was particularly exhausted from a hard training session. This would become more apparent to me when I had had a break from training and my fitness was not at a comparable level to that of my training partners (or at least that was my belief). Now it stands to reason that if I was less physically fit, that my training partner would get the better of me, right? Honestly in my experience it’s not that cut and dry, and more often than not the result can be attributed to the physiological/ psychological feedback loop.
I actually noticed this quite recently when I had been displaying a rather outward expression of cardiovascular fatigue. I went on to dig a deeper hole for myself when there were another 3 rounds of wrestling remaining until the class was over. I made a joke to my trainer; I said something to the effect of “can we just do push-ups now”. You don’t have to be Nostradamus to predict what occurred over the next few rounds. My training partner proceeded to speak of how full of energy he felt prior to demolishing me both physically and psychologically. Not only is this an example of my beliefs and physiology dictating the situation, but also the way that we, as humans are wired up to step into power roles when either verbal or non-verbal cues are offered to us.
Take 2- an empowered feedback loop
Now let us step back to before this tale of woe, where by definition I possessed no more cardiovascular fitness than the aforementioned experience. I had a rather successful day at work, and upon reflection, my self-talk was more positive than it was in the first scenario. I was unconsciously standing with my chest high and my hands on my hips for several minutes when my trainer was outlining the technique we were to be focusing for the class. The combination of of these factors was rather astounding. When we began to undertake the wrestling portion of the class, my training partner (the same as in the previous story) began to tell me how utterly exhausted he was. His body language and approach to the wrestle equally corroborated the verbal utterances. Now I bet you have guessed the results of the sparring. I was in utter control of all positions and dictated the direction of where my training partner moved throughout the entirety of the session. In fact, I found the more that I moved with grace and power, the more my training partner would let out a sigh or an uncomfortable gurgle. Of course, one could put either of these occasions in the category of coincidence. Not without taking into consideration that since these encounters I have had half a dozen or more almost identical experiences with regard to the essence of the social dynamics described. Even in the event that I was aware of the power dynamics at work, unless I made a concerted effort to adjust my behavior, I would essentially end up with the expected result exhibited. It is also worth noting that it did not matter what side of the loop I hijacked, the desired effect would play out.
That being said, I personally feel that in the moment, thoughts can sometimes be more difficult to instantaneously shift due to how unconscious many of them are(also the reason people come to see me as a therapist and hypnotist). Which is why I found the TED talk that I have attached below so extremely valuable. It basically outlines 6 power stances that give anyone in everyday life the opportunity to hijack the physiological/ psychological feedback loop from the physiological entry point. One of my personal favourites is the ‘Wonder Woman’ (or superman if you want to get gender specific), due to the fact that it is very natural, and weather you are in sporting, social or business context is very natural and would more than likely be outside of your colleagues conscious awareness. The beauty is that although this particular postural stance may be covert, the rewards that you will reap in your life will pay dividends. And all you have to do is put your hands on your hips.