If you’ve heard “motion creates emotion” before, then chances are you’ve spent a little time learning from Tony Robbins. If not, then you might find this useful!

I had the privilege of seeing the man Tony Robbins live this weekend at the ExCel in London. If I had to sum him up in 1 word, that word would be “awesome”. I’ve never witnessed in real life a single person with that much authority and presence; it was mind-blowing. There were many things that he talked about which stuck with me, but one thing in particular that really rang true was “motion creates emotion”. 


The science behind the fact that motion creates emotion

I’ve heard the phrase several times through reading Tony’s books and watching his YouTube videos, but I’ve never quite realized just how extremely relevant this is to everything that you do. The principle, is that the way you hold your body, move, breath and speak, directly influences your state. There is a physical biochemical reaction within your body when you use your body in different ways. 

One example he gave was that it’s been scientifically proven that if you were to stand with your shoulders back, chest out, your hands on your hips and your head high while breathing deeply (Think Superman pose) for just 2 minutes, you will experience more than a 20% increase in testosterone and a 20% decrease in the stress hormone cortisol. This in turn increases the likelihood that you’ll make bold decisions and take risk throughout your day (which is essential for success in every area of life) by over 30%.


Picture someone who is depressed. How do they look? How are they standing? Is their breathing shallow or deep? Is their voice loud or quiet? Are they moving slowly, or quickly with purpose? You already know the answers, because the posture of someone who is depressed is standardized across the human race. Their shoulders will be forwards, their head will be down, their breathing shallow, their voice quiet and their movement slow.

Now picture someone who is happy and confident. How do they look? How are they standing? Is their breathing shallow or deep? Is their voice loud or quiet? Are they moving slowly, or quickly with purpose? Literally the polar opposite right? People believe that the way you act is a result of how you feel, yet that is completely wrong. The way you act, dictates how you feel. Not the other way round. Motion creates emotion.

So if you were depressed yet you were to stand in this Superman pose, breathing deeply with your head held high, would it be possible to stay depressed? Absolutely not. Your biochemistry as a result of your change in body posture would alter and change your emotional state, in 2 minutes flat. 

How Tony proved that motion creates emotion

If you’ve ever been to the ExCel in London, you’ll know that the conference halls are absolutely huge, and can fit thousands and thousands of people inside. So to prove this idea that motion creates emotion he got everyone to stand up, and try an exercise. 

Firstly, he wanted us to spend 30 seconds greeting as many people as we could, but as if we didn’t even remotely care about them whatsoever, and as if we openly deemed them to be completely insignificant to us. We did that, and everyone shouted out their posture and breathing at the end; shoulders forward, breathing shallow, reluctant to approach the other person.

Next, we had to do the same again, but this time as if we were terrified that they weren’t going to like us. This time the posture and breathing across the room was; shoulders even more forwards, head down, breathing even more shallow, even more reluctant to approach and avoiding eye contact. Tony then asked us how we actually felt at that moment. From doing these two simple exercises, I felt unsure of myself, much more closed and more fearful.


The other side of the coin

Then we had to go around the room and again greet as many people as we could in 30 seconds, but this time we had to imagine that if the other person didn’t like us in 3-5 seconds, all of our loved ones would instantly die. Pretty big idea, but it meant we really committed to it! This time after the exercise, everyone said that their chests were out, shoulders back, breathing deep, that they were making eye contact, much more purposeful, direct and certain.

Finally, Tony asked us to do the same thing again, but this time imagining that the other person was your best friend or loved one and you hadn’t seen them for years! It was quite an interesting experience to run up to people that you didn’t know, grab them, hug them and spin them around… but nevertheless the results were very eye-opening. Afterwards everyone noted that they were much more animated, louder, extremely purposeful, confident, strong eye contact and very certain. 

So this time when Tony asked us how we felt at this point, I realized that I felt more certain, more confident, happier and bolder. All I’d done was greet a bunch of random people who I didn’t even know, and 5 minutes before that I’d done the same thing yet tut myself in a bad state of mind just through doing it in a slightly different way. Why would this create such a drastically different state and frame of mind? Because motion creates emotion.

The motion of jumping up and down like a lunatic (in the video above), definitely put me in a really positive emotional state directly afterwards that’s for sure!

The lesson to take away

The lesson here is very simple. Outside influences only act as triggers for us to run certain habit patterns. So let’s say you’re driving to work and someone cuts you up, what do you do? Swear? Frown? Hunch over the steering wheel? Most of us will alter our body posture in response to this influence (our habit pattern), manifest a negative state, and then have a bad morning as a result of that. Can you see now that you have the choice though?

When you’re angry why do you think people will tell you to “breathe”, or “take a deep breath”? If emotion created motion, then obviously this would do nothing. The damage would have already been done. However the act of breathing deeply will calm you down, and move you away from a state of anger, to a state of calm. Why? Because motion creates emotion. We all instinctively know it, we’ve just chosen to believe that we’re slaves to external influences that happen to us in life. 

Outside influences will happen to us every day, but we can choose whether to react to these influences, or whether to check our body posture, break our negative habit patterns, and keep ourselves in the right physical state to maintain the right mental state as we go about our days. 

If you enjoyed reading this then please add my page on Facebook by clicking here. That way won’t miss my next post when it goes up. I tend to write a new one most days, and this post about motion creating emotion is the kind of topic that I often write about. 

Thanks for reading!

To Your Success,

Dan Holloway