Advertising
Advertising

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?

Advertising

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.)

    Advertising

    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.

        Advertising

        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.

        Advertising

        Featured photo credit: Nathan Rupert via flickr.com

        More by this author

        7 Reasons You Haven’t Found Your Passion Yet 7 Ways To Get Over Fear and Make Big Life Changes Fast Growth Is Overrated — Here’s Why Famous Biologist Louis Agassiz On The Usefulness Of Learning Through Observation How to Fall in Love With Boredom and Unlock Your Mental Toughness

        Trending in Communication

        1 The Key to Happiness and Leading a Fulfilling Life 2 13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently 3 15 Inspiring Ideas to Boost Your Motivation for Success 4 What Is an Existential Crisis and How to Cope with It 5 Joy Vs Happiness: What’s the Difference and Can We Achieve Both?

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on April 23, 2019

        13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently

        13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently

        Let me begin by being 100% frank with you – everyone is capable of happiness.

        Happiness is first a choice but it also takes persistence to maintain. Happiness is our birth right and my mission is to help as many people as I can live their happiest life.

        My mission is to spread the message that everyone deserves happiness.

        To live a happy life; however, you must do the work, gain the necessary knowledge, and increase your awareness.

        You must fully embody this state and begin to think and feel happiness on every level of your being.

        Often times, excuses present themselves and our mind gives us the reasons why we can’t be happy:

        “I am too busy right now to focus on happiness”

        “I will be happy when I finish school, when I have the money, when I am in the right relationship, when I have kids, when my children are older….”

        “I would have had a happy life if this traumatic event had never happened”

        “I don’t deserve happiness”

        EVERYONE deserves happiness. The reason that you are here right now is because you have a purpose and you are on the earth to enjoy your journey.

        Think BIGGER than your excuses. Push FARTHER than your complaints.

        Don’t be pulled away from greatness. Get uncomfortable. At least these are what happy and successful people do on a daily basis.

        This article highlights the top 13 tips and tricks of how happy people think and feel.

        If you would like to begin embodying this life-changing state, then… Here are the 13 ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently:

        1. Happy People Put Happiness First

        Happy people have made the decision that their end goal is happiness.

        Every situation, event, bad day ultimately ends with happiness.

        To them, happiness is equivalent to sleep and water – it is a necessity to their life. To live an unhappy life is to have never lived at all.

        The happy person asks,

        “What would be the point of living if every day and moment were filled with negativity?”

        Advertising

        “Why would I deplete my energy on negativity when I expend less to be positive?”

        They make happy-based decisions which means in EVERY MOMENT they choose happiness.

        If their circumstances can’t change then they instead change their perspective, they look for the silver lining in the negative.

        Happy people don’t let negativity steal their moments away – a positive mindset always prevails.

        If you ask a happy person how their day was, they will always answer your question with a highlight or a lesson learned.

        2. Happy People Embrace Pain

        I know what you are thinking –

        “No one is ALWAYS happy”

        or …

        “Even happy people get in bad moods”

        and …

        These statements are absolutely accurate.

        Happy people aren’t always happy and they DO get into bad moods. They get overwhelmed, they feel defeated, and their feelings get hurt.

        Happy people aren’t invincible and they feel pain just like everyone else. The only difference between happy people and people who let negativity run their lives is that…

        Happy people quickly acknowledge their pain and they make a decision to find a way to transform their pain into something greater. They also use these 13 simple ways to shake off the sadness.

        Happy people admit the negativity they feel and they do what it takes to get back into their natural state: happiness.

        When your end goal is happiness, then you will find a way to achieve it no matter how much strength you have to muster.

        3. Happy People Have a Happy Self-Image

        We all have an image in our minds that we subconsciously live up to.

        The reason that change is so hard is because our subconscious mind is programmed to live by how we define ourselves.

        How are you currently defining yourself?

        For happy people, they see themselves with a smile, positive outlook, and/or a bounce in their step. When an event or situation arises that brings in a negative emotion, they quickly change their state to resemble their natural self-image.

        Advertising

        When happy people are in a bad mood, it feels unusual to them because feeling negative isn’t aligned with how they see themselves.

        When they feel upset, they acknowledge the negativity and look for a solution to bring their emotions to the level of how they perceive themselves.

        Look at how you define yourself today – your mind and body are always trying to live up to the definition it is taught to believe.

        Your body’s job is to keep you in a “normal” state because this is where it feels most comfortable.

        If your self-image is happy, then your mind and body will naturally be brought back to where it feels at home. Your actions will be a clue to how you define yourself.

        4. Happy People Have a Strong Support System

        The happiest people know that it takes a village and they lean on others for support.

        Happy people feel comfortable reaching out for help when they feel that their resistances are overpowering them. They quickly sense their negativity and they tell somebody.

        Happy people ask for assistance when they can’t figure out a problem. Seeking help takes strength and it never gets in the way of their self-worth. Happy people appreciate the wisdom that their support system provides.

        They have strong connections with the people who are close to them. They never trudge through tough times alone because jeopardizing their happiness for too long would be detrimental to their well-being.

        5. Happy People Safeguard Their Minds from Negative Triggers

        Warding off negativity is almost impossible when we live in a society that lives by what went wrong and feeds off of what could go wrong. News travels instantaneously so it would be unrealistic to shut this out of your life completely.

        However, one strategy that happy people use to safeguard their minds is regulating their environment.

        We have a lot of control on how we allow our environments to affect us. We can control our social media feed, the television shows and movies we watch, the books that we read, the people that we spend our time with, and the places that we hang out.

        If happiness is your end goal, then take a good look at what is bringing you down. What triggers your unhappiness? See if there is anything in your environment that can be changed……

        What we listen to, read, and who we hang out with influence our mind, what we think about, what we worry about, our reactions, and behaviors.

        Happy people know what triggers a feeling of negativity and it feels out of alignment for them so they do what it takes to avoid it.

        They might regulate their social media news feed to reflect the information that brings them positive energy. They might regulate the people that they spend their time with. It is important to hang out with like-minded people.

        What are you triggers? How can you avoid the negativity in your environment?

        These are ways that happy people regulate their environment and safeguard their minds.

        6. Happy People Know When to Say “No”

        Happy people know when to sit one out and say “no.” They do this to protect their happiness and well-being.

        Life gets overwhelming – a lot of people need our attention and the to do list can seem never ending.

        Advertising

        Happy people give themselves permission to take the day off and they feel comfortable with saying “no” when their stress levels begin to climb. They understand that those around them aren’t benefiting from someone who is frazzled, overwhelmed, and tired.

        A happy person identifies their negative emotion and then they quickly treat it to bring themselves back to their “normal” state, so that they can be at their best for not only themselves but for those around them, too.

        A simple “no” can ultimately mean many more “yes’s” in the future because happiness has a long battery life. You can take a look at Leo Babauta’s article The Gentle Art of Saying No and learn to say no.

        7. Happy People Are Good Evaluators

        Happy people can quickly sense when something is off with themselves or others. They are very intuitive to happiness levels. When someone isn’t quite right, they are the first ones to notice.

        Being able to evaluate happiness means that you can identify when negativity is lingering around for too long.

        We all have bad days; however, the happy person evaluates often and quickly intervenes.

        In other words, happy people frequently evaluate their state and immediately change when their pessimism is overshadowing their joy.

        8. Happy People Bring Other People Up

        What goes on inside of us is mirrored into our physical world.

        What we think about literally consumes our life and is displayed in our work, relationships, and attitude.

        Happy people naturally feel good inside and about themselves so they treat others the way that they treat themselves. It never feels forced to give a compliment or to help out a stranger.

        When we are truly happy with ourselves, everyone around us has a better experience. Happy people are kind to themselves and because of this, it feels natural to them to want to make others’ happy, too.

        9. Happy People Go After Their Dreams

        Happy people are always following the joyful path. They make happy-based decisions and because of this, they always end up where they want to be.

        It’s absolutely impossible to be happy by following an undesirable path, which is quite opposite for unhappy people.

        Most people journey through life on a path they think they are “supposed” to be own. Warning signs (negativity) are often ignored because they truly believe that these feelings are a normal part of life.

        Negativity is NOT normal.

        The happiest people investigate the negativity in their life and quickly analyze the results. This process allows them to get back on the joyful path which ends in a desirable outcome.

        Follow your happiness and your dreams will come true (If that isn’t motivation then I don’t know what is!)

        In addition to happiness, here are 14 amazing things that happen when you live your passion.

        10. Happy People Never Sweat the Small Stuff

        The only expectation that the happy person has is that they remain in a joyful state.

        They rarely have expectations for the events and people in their lives because they know that this is a sure way to get let down.

        Advertising

        The happiest people take life as it comes – you could say that they roll with the punches. When you don’t have expectations, thenyoue can just sit back and watch how beautifully life unfolds.

        Happy people understand that bad things are inevitable, they are a part of life – The car will break, the kids will make mistakes, people will be late, and dinner will burn.

        If it’s not anything seriously affecting their lives, then they don’t give their energy to it.

        11. Happy People Rarely Have to Prove That They Are Right

        Happy people remember that it’s more important to live up to what they believe. When you live your life aligned with your belief system, then there is no need to explain or prove yourself to others.

        Differences in opinions are inevitable, but the happiest of people know it’s wasted energy to defend their position.

        It is more effective to simply show people, through actions, how you think, feel, and what you believe.

        Energy is saved, arguments are diminished, and credibility/respect are gained when we live by what we believe.

        12. Happy People Smile (Even When They Don’t Want To)

        Smiling is one of the healthiest things we can do; and happy people use this simple trick quite often.

        It has been proven that smiling has the ability to boost your immune system, decrease stress levels, and can even make you look younger. The benefits of smiling have even been backed up by science.[1]

        Better yet, smiling is contagious. When you engage in a quick smile, you are likely to brighten someone else’s day along with your own. It is no wonder why happy people smile often!

        13. Happy People Live Life in the Present Moment.

        When we are genuinely happy, we are living for the moment.

        Happy people let go of the past, enjoy the present, and look forward to the future. They take the moments for what they are worth – they only invest their energy in what feels right to them.

        Everyone is capable of living a happy-centered life. You deserve a life that you desire – your dream life. All you have to start doing is make happy-based decisions TODAY.

        In every moment, decide on what makes you happy – decide on what gets you excited. Stop doing what you don’t love, don’t listen to the people that you dislike.

        If you are engaging in something that isn’t bringing you joy, then quit doing it. Listen to your heart, stop ignoring the warning signs (negativity) because they are there for a reason.

        I have observed, studied, and interviewed some of the happiest and most successful people along with some of the most miserable and self-loathing.

        It starts with one decision – happiness.

        The happiest, most successful people choose happiness with EACH and EVERY decision. And you can start doing this today.

        Featured photo credit: Autumn Goodman via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Harvard Business Review: The Science Behind the Smile

        Read Next