This mindfulness game is so much fun! And it’s seriously effective, too. My wife, Hanna, used it to conquer her fear of driving when she finally attended driver’s ed a few years ago.
She was able to increase her testosterone levels and decrease stress hormones when she needed it the most.
Hanna shared this secret with me a few weeks ago … but she felt it was a little embarrassing. I thought it was amazing and she agreed to share her experience with you.
Here’s what my superhero wife did:
She posed like Wonder Woman!
Yes, standing like Wonder Woman for two minutes is enough to change how you feel.
So, just before driving with the instructor she went to a bathroom stall ( no, not a phone booth ;-)
She locked the door and stood in front of the mirror … and …
made a super awesome superhero pose!
You go Hanna!!!
By changing her posture and thinking to herself: “ I CAN DO THIS “ she changed the game. And when she got into the car she felt super. She felt confident and ready to face the challenge. And she aced it!
It’s all about the hormones
It’s no joke, there are studies showing that this works. We can change the game with this simple activity!
Scientist talk about high-power ( open postures ) and low-power poses ( closed postures ). In one study scientists found that when participants changed their pose they changed their hormonal balance!
“Participants who assumed high-power poses had their testosterone levels increase relative to their baseline, while participants who assumed low-power poses had their testosterone levels drop. The reverse was true of cortisol levels.”
High-power poses resulted in less stress and more testosterone. High-power poses led to more risk-taking with less stress.
Low-power poses resulted in more stress hormones and less testosterone. Low-power poses also led to “playing it safe”.
I included a fun video at the end of this article so that you can hear all about it from psychologist Amy Cuddy.
Here are a few examples from Harvard University.
Learning all about this we thought kids would love to play superhero and see if they can change the way the feel. And they do—since it’s so much fun :-)
Here’s how you can do the activity with kids…
Fun Mindfulness Games – Be a Superhero
Purpose: Fun, body awareness, awareness of thoughts and emotions
Best for: Ages 3+, groups or one-on-one
What you need: Pictures of superheroes in awesome poses ( optional )
1. A good way to start is by talking about how our bodies feel and look like when we feel sad, discouraged and nervous. When we think “I can’t do this” or “I’m no good”.
You can demonstrate a low power pose where you take as little space as possible, and how you might self-talk in that state. Then ask the kids to do that, too. And see how it makes them feel.
Example poses from Princeton University:
How does it make them feel? Does it make them feel good? Probably not.
2. Next tell them that they can try and see if they can change how they feel.
Ask them to stand with their back straight and take superhero pose ( high-power pose ) of their choosing. Maybe a classic Superman pose or a Wonder Woman pose.
For example: place your fists on your hips, spread your legs, lift your chest, and gaze to the heavens. Or lift both your arms up in a victorious pose like my superwife did.
Example poses from Princeton University:
Ask them to take the pose, pretend they are a superhero and say to themselves out aloud or with their inner voice:
“I CAN DO THIS“,
“I’VE GOT THIS“,
Try the high power pose for one to two minutes.
But, how you do get kids to pose for a minute or two?
a) Make it a competition, and see who can pose the longest :-)
b) Make a countdown from one to two minutes on your phone or tablet. Pretend to “super up” and when the countdown ends all superheroes get to fly and complete their heroic mission.
c) If your children know mindful breathing then you can ask them to do ten to twenty mindful breaths and pretend they are breathing in superpowers :-)
I like to put my hands on my hips with my fingers touching my belly so that I can feel my breath and do mindful breathing.
3. Finally, ask them to pay attention to how they feel? Is there a change in the way they feel after posing like a superhero?
This is so much fun and an eye opener for both kids and adults. Have fun and experiment with the game.
Oh, and to make it even more exciting you can make capes out of towels or any piece of soft fabric.
I hope you’ll enjoy this fun mindfulness game, we sure do :-)
In case you want more …
then you’ll find 150 playful mindfulness activities in my 5-star rated best selling book:
“The Most Important Mindfulness Book You’ll Ever Buy” – Helen Hudson
I wish you many many fun mindful moments :-) Be safe <3
Chris Bergstrom ( Chief Mindfulness Ninja @ Blissful Kids )
PS Here’s Amy Cuddy’s brilliant talk on “power posing”
( Her Ted Talk on the subject made her the #2 biggest TED speaker in the world )
If you are new to mindfulness with children OR you want to make practice easy we recommend our online mindfulness courses.
Chris Bergstrom is a bestselling mindfulness author, the founder of BlissfulKids.com, a blog dedicated to children’s mindfulness, and a dad who is thrilled to practice mindfulness with his son. He is a certified mindfulness facilitator and trained to teach mindfulness to students in K-12. He’s also known as “the dad who tried 200+ mindfulness activities” and has taught meditation for more than 15 years.