Here's the first thing you should do when you wake up, according to a Harvard psychologist

Here's the first thing you should do when you wake up, according to a Harvard psychologist

We've all cultivated morning routines. That might include going to the gym, taking a shower, cooking breakfast, walking the dog, yelling at the cat, or just looking at BS on the internet until you can't put off going to work any longer. Everybody's different, but there's one simple thing we can all do to make our mornings better, according to an expert.

Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy studied how posture affects our well-being, and found that powerful body language makes people feel more powerful. She says that the first thing you should do after you wake is stretch as much as you can in bed. (Like man-spreading, but with your arms!) When your body takes a confident pose, your brain is tricked into thinking that you really are confident. (Ha-ha! Stupid brain.) "When you pretend to be powerful, you are more likely to actually feel powerful," says Cuddy. (And if you sleep in the fetal position, that will create the opposite effect.)

Woman stretching after waking up Credit: Getty

It's part of a theory called 'power posing,' which Cuddy discussed at a TED talk in 2012. At Harvard University, she conducted a study where some people sat in a pose for two minutes. Some people sat in a high-power pose, with expansive posture, while others sat in a low-power pose, leaning inward with their legs crossed. Afterward, Cuddy conducted mock job interviews with all of the participants. Those who sat in the high-power pose felt more powerful and performed better than those who sat in the low-power pose.

Cuddy's research had two major conclusions: One, that people who sit in high-power positions feel more powerful than people who sit in low-power positions. Two, that posing in a powerful condition changes your body chemistry, due to an increase in testosterone and a decrease in cortisol, the body's main stress hormone. However, these hormonal affects were later disputed by scientists, who unable to sufficiently replicate the hormonal aspect of Cuddy's results. Her first conclusion, though, about body posture governing feelings, remains sound. Last March, she published a new study which offered enough evidence to claim power posing is science. Take that, detractors!

So, tomorrow when you wake up, give power posing - or "postural feedback" a try. Take a big stretch, like  Leonardo DiCaprio on the bow of the Titanic, and feel free to yell "I'm the king (or queen) of the world!" The powerful posture make your dumb gullible brain believe you are powerful. Then, you can start your day with confidence, ready to take on whatever situation this crazy world throws at you.

I mean, it's not like this will be hard to add to your morning routine. It'll just take a few seconds. You'll still be able to take a shower, cook breakfast, walk the dog, yell at the cat and look at BS on the internet until the last possible minute to go to work.