Being confident is a wonderful feeling and in turn seems to attract positive experiences. It can relax you, give you clarity of thought and as a result, make your interactions with those around you far more productive. In contrast, you probably experience days when you feel that you lack confidence and are just not “in the zone” and firing on all cylinders.
Is it possible for you to bolster your confidence and learn how to make it a strength that you can consistently call on?
Social behaviour researcher, Amy Cuddy, is based at Harvard University and has been investigating the impact of body language on confidence. Via saliva samples taken from research participants, she has established that when people feel confident we have high levels of testosterone in our bodies, whilst simultaneously having low levels of cortisol, which is our stress hormone.
Cuddy’s theory is that powerful leaders not only share the same mindset but that they also have similar hormone patterns, being increased levels of testosterone, the confidence hormone.
Hormone levels in our bodies change rapidly, given external triggers such as anxiety and pressurised deadlines. Amy’s results have shown that adopting so-called high power body postures which open the body and make us more relaxed, can generate the production of testosterone.
In contrast, it’s the low power body postures, as when we cross our legs and hunch our bodies into closed and guarded positions that produce stress-causing, cortisol.
Watch Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk which incidentally, has already had over 35 million views:
Higher power poses increase testosterone by as much as 20% and decrease cortisol by 25%.
One of the confidence boosting poses that Amy recommends is standing tall with your chest out and your hands on your hips. Doing this exercise for only 2 minutes per day is all it takes to boost your testosterone level and is a technique that you can call on before going into an interview or a client meeting. (I’ve tried it and it’s working for me!)
Why not do this higher power exercise when you get up in the morning with some deep breathing, so you start the day on a really positive note.
Personally, I favour doing affirmations on rising, so I think I’ll combine them with this power technique. That way I’ll be able to prepare both my mindset and my body.
There’s no getting away from the fact that preparing well for that presentation or tough client meeting, can assist us in feeling more confident. If it’s a presentation, make sure you have practised well and have tested all the technical equipment you will be using (do have back up in case of technical failures).