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 50 Ways To Show Her You Love Her 2 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do 3 Why Am I Not Happy? 5 Steps to Figure Out the Reason 4 9 Things to Remember When You Had a Bad Day 5 How to Use a 5 Minute Journal to Invest in Your Happiness

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on August 12, 2019

        13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

        13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

        Mentally strong people have healthy habits. They manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in ways that set them up for success in life.

        Take a look at these 13 things that mentally strong people don’t do so that you too can become mentally stronger.

        1. They Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves

        Mentally strong people don’t sit around feeling sorry about their circumstances or how others have treated them. Instead, they take responsibility for their role in life and understand that life isn’t always easy or fair.

        2. They Don’t Give Away Their Power

        They don’t allow others to control them, and they don’t give someone else power over them. They don’t say things like, “My boss makes me feel bad,” because they understand that they are in control over their own emotions and they have a choice in how they respond.

        Advertising

        3. They Don’t Shy Away from Change

        Mentally strong people don’t try to avoid change. Instead, they welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible. They understand that change is inevitable and believe in their abilities to adapt.

        4. They Don’t Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control

        You won’t hear a mentally strong person complaining over lost luggage or traffic jams. Instead, they focus on what they can control in their lives. They recognize that sometimes, the only thing they can control is their attitude.

        5. They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone

        Mentally strong people recognize that they don’t need to please everyone all the time. They’re not afraid to say no or speak up when necessary. They strive to be kind and fair, but can handle other people being upset if they didn’t make them happy.

        6. They Don’t Fear Taking Calculated Risks

        They don’t take reckless or foolish risks, but don’t mind taking calculated risks. Mentally strong people spend time weighing the risks and benefits before making a big decision, and they’re fully informed of the potential downsides before they take action.

        Advertising

        7. They Don’t Dwell on the Past

        Mentally strong people don’t waste time dwelling on the past and wishing things could be different. They acknowledge their past and can say what they’ve learned from it.

        However, they don’t constantly relive bad experiences or fantasize about the glory days. Instead, they live for the present and plan for the future.

        8. They Don’t Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over

        Mentally strong people accept responsibility for their behavior and learn from their past mistakes. As a result, they don’t keep repeating those mistakes over and over. Instead, they move on and make better decisions in the future.

        9. They Don’t Resent Other People’s Success

        Mentally strong people can appreciate and celebrate other people’s success in life. They don’t grow jealous or feel cheated when others surpass them. Instead, they recognize that success comes with hard work, and they are willing to work hard for their own chance at success.

        Advertising

        10. They Don’t Give Up After the First Failure

        Mentally strong people don’t view failure as a reason to give up. Instead, they use failure as an opportunity to grow and improve. They are willing to keep trying until they get it right.

        11. They Don’t Fear Alone Time

        Mentally strong people can tolerate being alone and they don’t fear silence. They aren’t afraid to be alone with their thoughts and they can use downtime to be productive.

        They enjoy their own company and aren’t dependent on others for companionship and entertainment all the time but instead can be happy alone.

        12. They Don’t Feel the World Owes Them Anything

        Mentally strong people don’t feel entitled to things in life. They weren’t born with a mentality that others would take care of them or that the world must give them something. Instead, they look for opportunities based on their own merits.

        Advertising

        13. They Don’t Expect Immediate Results

        Whether they are working on improving their health or getting a new business off the ground, mentally strong people don’t expect immediate results. Instead, they apply their skills and time to the best of their ability and understand that real change takes time.

        More About Mental Strength

        Featured photo credit: Candice Picard via unsplash.com

        Read Next