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How to Be Confident and Reduce Stress in 2 Minutes Per Day

How to Be Confident and Reduce Stress in 2 Minutes Per Day

There is a simple strategy that you can use to reduce anxiety, improve your ability to deal with stress, and boost your confidence.

The best part? It works immediately and only takes two minutes to do.

Here’s the deal…

Your Hormones and Your Confidence

Recent research coming out of Harvard University, The University of Oregon, The University of Texas and many other places is revealing that powerful and effective leaders not only share similar mindsets, but also similar hormone levels. More specifically, powerful leaders tend to have higher levels of testosterone and lower levels of cortisol.

Higher levels of testosterone (in both men and women) lead to increased feelings of confidence. Meanwhile, lower levels of cortisol lead to decreased anxiety and an improved ability to deal with stress.

Here’s what that means: if you enjoy these hormone levels, then you are biologically primed to be more assertive, confident, and relaxed. At the same time, you will be less reactive to stress and more likely to handle pressure situations well. In other words, the correct hormone levels can make you feel more confident and less stressed.

Sounds good, right?

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What is particularly important about testosterone and cortisol is that your levels of each hormone can change rapidly depending on the social, physical, and environmental cues that surround you.

What does this have to do with feeling more confident?

Well, it turns out that one of the physical cues that impacts these two hormones is body language. And if you understand how to improve your body language, then you can increase your testosterone, decrease your cortisol, and “magically” feel more confident and risk tolerant.

Let’s talk about the link between body language and confidence…

Body Language: The “Power Poses”

Amy Cuddy is a researcher at Harvard University who studies body language and the impact it has on your hormones.

Cuddy and her team have classified different body positions as “high power” or “low power” poses. In general, the high power poses are open and relaxed while the low power poses are closed and guarded.

Below is an image showing the different types of power poses.

body-language-power-poses
    High Power body language is open and relaxed. Low Power body language is closed and guarded.

    Cuddy and her research team studied the impact of high power and low power poses by conducting a research study on 42 students. (Original article available here.)

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    Here’s how the study went down…

    • First, a saliva sample was taken from each subject and their testosterone and cortisol levels were measured.
    • Second, the subject was asked to sit in either a high power pose or a low power pose for two minutes.
    • Third, a second sample of saliva was taken from each subject and their testosterone and cortisol levels were measured again.

    When the researchers looked at the results, they were stunned by the impact that body language had on the hormones within the body. High power poses increased testosterone by 20 percent and decreased cortisol levels by 25 percent.

    Here’s a graph showing the results…

    testosterone-cortisol-power-poses
      High power poses increased testosterone levels by 20% (which boosts confidence) while simultaneously decreasing cortisol levels by 25% (which reduces anxiety).

      This brings us to the most important question…

      How can you make this actionable in your life?

      Stand Like This for 2 Minutes Per Day

      wonder-woman-power-pose-body-language
        From Left to Right: Lynda Carter poses as Wonder Woman (Image courtesy of ABC TV and Amazon Archives). Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF stands in a high power pose (Image courtesy of Amy Cuddy). Beyonce strikes a high power pose during a performance (Image courtesy of Getty Images).

        The most well–known and versatile high power pose is nicknamed “The Wonder Woman” pose. You simple stand tall with your chest out and your hands on your hips. The images above show powerful women like Christine Lagarde and Beyonce in classic “Wonder Woman” pose.

        Just to be clear: despite the nickname and the photos, the impact of these poses is just as relevant to men as it is to women.

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        Making This Work in Real Life

        If you’re aware of it, body language is easy to adjust throughout your day.

        But if you’re anything like me, you’ll get busy with other tasks and completely forget to check your body language. Because of this, I’ve found it most useful to insert a high power pose into my morning routine for 2 or 3 minutes and then move on with the rest of my life.

        Here’s a pattern that I have been playing with recently…

        Each morning, I’ll wake up and stand in a high power pose for two minutes. While I’m doing that, I’ll close my eyes, breathe in deeply for a count of 3, hold for 1, and then breathe out fully for a count of 5. In this way, I combine breathing exercises, meditation, and power poses for a relaxing and confidence–boosting start to the day.

        Plus, it only takes 120 seconds. It’s kind of hard to say you don’t have time for it.

        For more ideas on how to improve your morning routine, read this: 8 Ways to Improve Your Morning Routine

        What You Should Do Now

        “It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting.”
        — Millard Fuller, Founder of Habitat for Humanity

        Just to be clear: I don’t believe that body language is the end–all and be–all of becoming more confident.

        That said, it is pretty clear that confidence is a two–way street that involves both your mind and body. Sure, your personality and your emotional state will impact your confidence levels, but it’s obvious that assuming better body language, taking up space, and expanding your physical presence can play an important role as well.

        Most importantly, you now have another tool in your toolbox to use whenever you need it.

        If you’re feeling stressed a few minutes before your next presentation, interview, or meeting — take a moment to adjust your posture and stand in a powerful position. Put your hands on your hips, keep your chin up, and your chest out. Doing this for just two minutes will raise your testosterone and increase your confidence, while also decreasing your cortisol and improving your ability to handle stress.

        Your behaviors and emotions are firmly tied. The most powerful leaders don’t merely think a certain way, they carry themselves a certain way. You should do the same.

        Watch Amy Cuddy’s 20–Minute TED Talk

        Want more? You can watch Amy Cuddy talk about her research and the impact of body language in her 20–minute TED Talk. It’s well worth the time.

         This article was originally published on JamesClear.com.

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        Featured photo credit: Nathan Rupert via flickr.com

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        Last Updated on June 13, 2019

        How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

        How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

        Think you have a boring life?

        The definition of boring is dull or not interesting. Maybe you’ve been doing the same thing and living the same life for too long, or maybe your daily routine is limiting your growth and happiness. Whatever your reason is, the following list of 20 things can definitely make any day more interesting. Some of them are silly, while some are more meaningful, so hopefully just reading the list makes your life less boring and sparks your creativity.

        Let’s dive in the list to quit your boring life and start living an interesting (and meaning) one!

        1. Channel Your 7-Year-Old Self

        What would he or she want to do right now? Color? Paint? Run around outside? Play dress up? Eat with your hands? Play that instrument hiding in the back of your closet that you haven’t touched in years?

        Just because you’re a grown up doesn’t mean any of this stuff will be less enjoyable than you remember it. Give yourself permission to play.

        2. Go Play with Kids

        Speaking of little kids, if you have your own or access to any (in a non-creepy way, like they’re your niece or your best friend’s kid, you get the idea) go play with them!

        They didn’t create an entire show called Kids Say The Darndest Things because kids aren’t hilarious. They also keep things so simple, and we can really stand to be reminded of this and stop allowing ourselves to get bogged down in boring details.

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        3. Order a Hot Dog

        While you’re eating it, Google: “What’s in a hot dog?” You decide whether or not you want to finish it.

        4. For the Ladies: Wear Your Sexiest Lingerie Under Your Work Clothes

        Your “little secret” will leave you feeling anything but boring all day!

        5. Play Cell Phone Roulette

        You’ll need at least one buddy for this. Scroll through the contacts in your phone, stop on a random one and call the person.

        You could spark an incredible catch up session or be incredibly awkward. Neither are boring.

        6. Fill out a Pack of Thank-You Cards

        Give them to random people who probably don’t get thanked too often for doing what they do ever day.

        Ideas: police officers, librarians, servers, baristas, cab drivers, sanitation workers, teachers, people behind any check out counter, receptionists, your friends, the guy at the falafel stand, etc.

        7. Sign up for a Class in Something You’ve “Always Wanted to Do”, or Something That Makes You Really Uncomfortable

        Ideas: pole dancing, salsa lessons, improv, pottery, cooking, knitting (yup, there are classes for this, too!), karate, boxing, something techy like the workshops they run in Apple stores, get Rosetta Stone and learn that language you’ve always wanted to speak, etc.

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        What’s good about joining an interest class is that you will also meet new people!

        8. Interview Your Grandparents About Their Lives

        You can bet they’ve had some crazy experiences you probably never knew about.

        9. Get up on Stage at an Open Mic Night

        Whether you’re funny or not, get up on stage and just talk funny. And if you’re not, memorize a few of your favorite jokes and tell those!

        10. Do Something for Someone Else That You Wish Someone Would Do for You

        We all have a few ideas on this list. I promise you will feel amazing after and anything but bored.

        11. Start a DIY Project in Your Home

        It doesn’t have to be super complicated. If you need ideas, there’re plenty on Pinterest. Or you can also check out these 30 Awesome DIY Projects that You’ve Never Heard of.

        12. Plan a Weekend Trip or an All-Out Vacation

        This will give you something to look forward to.

        Even if you don’t have the time or money to go on a vacation, plan for a staycation, which is same fun and relaxing!

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        13. People Watch

        Find a bench in a crowded area (centers of transportation like airports, bus stops and train stations are great for this!) and just observe.

        People are infinitely interesting.

        14. Eat Something You’ve Never Eaten Before

        Bonus points if it’s a random fruit or veggie.

        15. Dance

        You can get your friends together for a night on the town or just pull up a video on YouTube and bust a move from your own living room.

        If you’re feeling extra brave, you can even dance in public and get other people involved.

        16. Go to YOUTUBE and Search “Funny Pets” or “Funny Babies”

        This is also a great quickie ab workout as you will be laughing hysterically.

        17. Pick up a Book and Start Reading

        Check out the NY Times Best Sellers lists and grab a new book you can get lost in.

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        18. Step Away from the Computer and Go Get Some Time with People You Care About in Real Life

        Facebook stalking doesn’t count as real social interaction. You can even share this post with your friends and vote on which one you’d like to do together!

        19. Check out a Museum You’ve Never Been to Before

        OK, depending on your interests, this one might actually be boring. If you love learning, art or different cultures though, this one is for you!

        20. Write a List of Things You Desire and Truly Want

        This is a great way to help you figure out the real reason why you’re feeling bored about your life. Maybe you haven’t really done things that you truly enjoy? Maybe what you’ve wanted to do all the time has been left behind?

        Think about the list of things you really want to do, and ask yourself why you aren’t doing these things (yet). Then start taking your first step to make what you want happen.

        Now go make your life interesting and live your dream life!

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        Featured photo credit: Kev Costello via unsplash.com

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