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The Easiest Way to be Tough is to Look Tough

Wimps, listen up! There's an easy way to make yourself look tougher without all the hassle of pumping iron and all that Charles Atlas nonsense.

Just listen to your mom and stop slouching:

Mothers have been telling their children to stop slouching for ages. It turns out that mom was onto something and that poor posture not only makes a bad impression, but can actually make you physically weaker. According to a study by Scott Wiltermuth, assistant professor of management organization at the USC Marshall School of Business, and Vanessa K. Bohns, postdoctoral fellow at the J.L. Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, adopting dominant versus submissive postures actually decreases your sensitivity to pain.

The study, "It Hurts When I Do This (or You Do That)" published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, found that by simply adopting more dominant poses, people feel more powerful, in control and able to tolerate more distress. Out of the individuals studied, those who used the most dominant posture were able to comfortably handle more pain than those assigned a more neutral or submissive stance.

Link - via bakadesuyo


It's a double-edged sword; you experience less pain - actually you are just not focusing on the pain, your conscious attention is elsewhere or on getting away from the pain. If you suffer a serious injury or disability this can cause you more harm.

When I was roughly 8 years old I fell out of a kitchen chair and broke my arm. A day or two passed before my parents noticed I was favoring my arm and took me for x-rays at the hospital. They were surprised I hadn't complained about having a broken arm, since broken limbs are generally quite uncomfortable. But no more than a year earlier I had been hit by a truck that caused a paramount pain, so much that my mind blocked it out. This "blocking out" of the pain must have carried over to my broken arm a year later. It may have even modified my pain sensitivity and pain threshold; it is a matter of some amazement to my friends and family that I do not react to items they find unbearably hot, cold or otherwise painful.

One night when partying with my father; we were doing drugs and drinking. He and I got around to playing a "tough-guy" game. We put our forearms together and dropped a lit cigarette between them; whoever pulls away first loses. My father pulled away after only a few seconds and exclaimed "I don't know how you can stand it." to which I said "It's only pain." It may seem a strange paradox or out-right contradiction to say that pain doesn't hurt, but that is the position I occassionaly find myself in with respect to certain pains; heat pain, cold pain, stabbing pain, sharp pain, etc... Only the throbbing pains do I find difficult to bear. But there may be other reasons for this; for one I want to overcome pain, I do not want pain to have the final say over my actions. It is a useful indicator, but I do not want it to cause a reaction. So I consciously focus on that task; but not by "resisting pain", resisting pain only causes more pain, I do so by accepting the pain, loving the pain, inviting the pain, and then it is not unbearable.

But to put on a show of confidence, puffed up chest and all, is to put up a facade, to play a part that is not realistic. I think feelings and attitudes convey an epistemic content; they reflect a judgment of the way the world actually is. Pride is the easiest to identify as having epistemic content; the feeling is defined as 'an elevated sense of self-worth'. To be more or less worthy than others is an epistemic claim; it not only says "I" am better or worse, which is erroneous in and of itself, it also says "You" are better or worse than me. So by feeling proud, or by harboring the attitude of pride within me, I am making not just a moral judgment, I'm also making a factual claim about the state of the entire world. This is the depth at which we can examine our factuality, or the degree to which our feelings and attitudes are justified or unjustified, realistic or delusional. By fancying myself proud; I become a delusion.

“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you're looking down, you can't see something that's above you.” - C.S. Lewis
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"Scott Wiltermuth, assistant professor of management organization at the USC Marshall School of Business, and Vanessa K. Bohns, postdoctoral fellow at the J.L. Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto"

Since when has bookkeeping school and micro-manager classes taught physiology?

Tell ya what, I have a degree in Electronic Engineering, so come to me for all of your brain surgery needs.
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@Ryan S

You've really got to lighten up. Especially the number of words you use in a goddamn comment to a post on a site called Neatorama.
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@Wes

Who needs to lighten up? I'm not the one complaining about someone's comments to a post on a site called Neatorama. You [guys] need to lighten up; Especially the number of posts used to castigate one commentor.
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@ryan s

Nice post. Ignore the trolls.

The real test of one's pain endurance is when strapped or held down in a really debasing humiliating position then having your ..it get pushed up. This is when you learn physical posturing does not hold a candle to mental-posturing. Pain is a mind-game, which from your post, I guess you already grasp ;)
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