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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 October 18, 2018

        50+ Best Motivational Quotes To Prepare You For Any Challenges In Life

        50+ Best Motivational Quotes To Prepare You For Any Challenges In Life

        Life is filled with highs and lows —happiness and struggles that will test your resilience and integrity, push you to overcome challenges and leave you with lessons that will make you even stronger on your way up.

        It’s the way you feel and think about yourself, including your expectations and beliefs about what is possible to you, greatly determines everything that happens to you.

        It all starts with your thoughts. When you change your thoughts, you transform the quality of your life. (Right, Nancy’s story is a typical example!)

        Below is a list of the best motivational quotes to inspire you to start your day with a blast:

        Quotes for self-assurance

        1. Don’t downgrade your dream just to fit your reality, upgrade your conviction to match your destiny.

          2. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.

            3. You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.

              4. The man who has confidence in himself gains the confidence of others

                5. You attract what you are, not what you want. If you want great, then be great.

                  6. It’s not who you are that holds you behind, it’s who you think your are not.

                    Quotes about positivity

                    7. Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and think of what could go right.

                      8. You should never regret anything in life. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it is experience.

                        9. Falling down is an accident, staying down is a choice.

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                          10. If you have the power to make someone happy, do it. The world needs more of that.

                            11. Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.

                              12. Don’t be afraid to give up the good and go for great.

                                13. Remember that life’s greatest lessons are usually learned from worst times and from the worst mistakes.

                                  Quotes for work and success

                                  14. Don’t talk, just act. Don’t say, just show. Don’t promise, just prove.

                                    15. Never stop doing great just because someone doesn’t give you credit.

                                      16. Discipline is doing what needs to be done, even if you don’t want to.

                                        17. Work while they sleep. Learn while they party. Save while they spend. Live like they dream.

                                          18. The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire, not things we fear.

                                            19. Never apologize for having high standards, people who really want to be in your life will rise to meet them.

                                              20. If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.

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                                                21. Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it, time will pass anyway.

                                                  22. Don’t fear failure. Fear being in the exact same place next year as you are today.

                                                    23. A hill is just another opportunity to leave your competition behind.

                                                      24. Don’t quit. You’re already in pain. You’re already hurt. Get a reward from it.

                                                        25. Hustle until you no longer need to introduce yourself.

                                                          26. You didn’t come this far only to come this far.

                                                            27. Be selective in your battles for sometimes peace is better than being right.

                                                              28 If we keep doing what we are doing, we’re going to keep getting what we’re getting.

                                                                29. You will never know your limits until you push yourself to them.

                                                                  30. Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.

                                                                    31. The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.

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                                                                      32. If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.

                                                                        33. If you can’t handle stress, you won’t manage success.

                                                                          34. Don’t be pushed by your problems, be led by your dreams.

                                                                            35. Don’t mistake silence for weakness. Smart people don’t plan big moves out loud.

                                                                              36. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

                                                                                37. Obsessed is the word the lazy use to describe dedicated.

                                                                                  38. You become who you spend your time with.

                                                                                    39. Be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods.

                                                                                      40. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

                                                                                        41. If you don’t build your dreams, someone else will hire you to build theirs.

                                                                                          42. Between stimulus and response is our greatest power –the freedom to choose.

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                                                                                            43. What comes easy won’t last, what lasts won’t come easy.

                                                                                              44. Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits.

                                                                                                45. Work until your idols become your rivals.

                                                                                                  Quotes about money

                                                                                                  46. Formal education will make you a living. Self-education will make you a fortune.

                                                                                                    47. I create new enemies every day, it’s called business.

                                                                                                      48. When you have a Million Dollar vision, don’t surround yourself with 1 cent minds.

                                                                                                        49. You can’t get rich thinking poor.

                                                                                                          50. Doing what is comfortable is rarely profitable.

                                                                                                            51. If you can count your money, work harder.

                                                                                                              If you find yourself feeling lost and frustrated, it’s never too late to change things up. Check out this guide:

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