A Quick Fix for Confidence

May 18, 2022 | Confidence, Leadership

Sometimes we could all use a quick confidence boost, right?

Whether you’re about to go into a difficult meeting, have a presentation, or are just dealing with someone who makes you nervous – we’ve all got situations that make us feel less than confident.

Usually we’ve got some mental chatter or past experience creating a degree of fear or anxiety.

It’s not so easy to change those mental patterns in a moment when you need it.

But the good news is you’ve got a quick fix for feeling more confident that doesn’t require changing the mind.

Confidence in the body

Maya Angelou said, “Stand up straight and realize who you are, that you tower over your circumstances.”

She was right. The body is the tool for feeling confident quickly.

Don’t worry, it’s not about loving everything about your appearance – although that can help – but about your physical posture.

Many studies have been done on how posture can affect our feelings. A recent meta-analysis of 130 studies concludes that an upright posture (i.e. sitting or standing tall) or a dominant pose (i.e. taking up space, such as arms up or outstretched) can help you feel more confident.

The research is inconclusive as to the chemical effects of the postures, but I’m not sure if that matters too much. If we feel more confident, that’s enough to affect how we show up and how we’re perceived.

Both upright posture and dominant poses created a more positive self-perception. Dominant poses also had a positive effect on behavior such as sticking with a task instead of giving up.

The body signals the brain

The brain is constantly receiving signals from the body to assess what we’re feeling in order to guide us.

The beauty of this process, sometimes referred to as interoception, is that we can hack it by choosing to change the body in a way that changes the signals to the brain.

If we’re hunched over, arms crossed, muscles clenching, and looking down, what do you imagine that signals to the brain about how we’re feeling? Not safe, must protect –  confidence is not available here.

Not only that, but in a process called neuroception, we observe other people’s posture and the brain and nervous system make judgments about how they’re feeling too. Try it for a day and notice what judgments you make about how others are feeling based on how they are standing or sitting.

Practice feeling more confident

Here’s a little experiment for you. Sit in your seat, hands folded, head and shoulders slumped forward. In this posture, say something empowering, like “I’m great” or “I can do this.” Notice how it feels. Do you believe what you’re saying?

Next, stand up tall, arms reaching overhead or hands on hips and repeat the phrase. How does that feel in comparison?

If you want to feel more confident over time, check out this post for a confidence-building exercise that taps into mindset.

Ultimately, if you combine the body posture and the mindset, you are building more neural connections for confidence and it will grow deeper and faster.

But any time you need to quickly tap into confidence and motivation for completing something, strike a powerful pose!

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

1 Comment

  1. Honady J

    Love this so much
    Thank you


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Jen Riggs Blog

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Jennifer is the creator of Pathways to Change, a framework for mindful leadership development that integrates coaching, neuroscience, mindfulness and mind-body principles.

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