A Surprising Way to Boost Self Confidence
Are there times you could use a little boost in self confidence? Normally I give tips on ways to change your thoughts but this time I want to share a strategy that uses your body. More and more research is supporting the idea that not only do our thoughts affect how we feel, but signals from our body also shape our feelings. Studies show that when we go from a hunched, closed position to a more open and expansive pose, it makes us feel more powerful, we’re more willing to take risks, we present our ideas with greater confidence and enthusiasm, and we perform better in demanding situations. Scientists can even see a decrease in our cortisol levels, which reduces our stress, and increases in testosterone, which increases our assertiveness.
These changes also affect how we are perceived by others. People who maintained a power pose for 2 minutes before a job interview were judged to be more confident and were considered as better candidates for the position compared to a control group by impartial interviewers.
Check out Amy Cuddy’s amazing TED talk on her research in this area. She is a professor and researcher from the Harvard Business School. http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are?language=en
The great thing about this information is you can easily try it for yourself. Compare how you feel about tackling a challenging task or situation when you are in a closed, withdrawn pose vs an open, expansive pose for at least 2 minutes. Try folding your arms, slouching your shoulders and hanging your head, then a few minutes later, stand with your feet apart and your hands on your hips, or with your arms reaching up in a ‘V.’ I can definitely notice a shift.
The take-away is to tune into how you are sitting or standing. What is your body posture telling your brain? Because, as Amy Cuddy says, “Our bodies change our minds, and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.”
Tina Hallis, Ph.D., is a professional speaker and consultant for The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping people and organizations fulfill their true potential using strategies from the science of Positive Psychology.