Not feeling confident?
Most people don’t feel confident 100% of the time.
Maybe you’ve had a bad day, week, or even a bad stretch.
Maybe someone directed some criticism your way, and you’re questioning yourself or feeling a bit self-conscious.
Or you might just be nervous about an upcoming meeting or event.
And unfortunately, making yourself feel confident when you’re not can be like forcing a square peg into a round hole.
The runaway mind
When we’re not able to feel confident, we usually have our minds to blame. That’s when we get caught up in habitual thoughts like self-doubt and worry. Our minds can sometimes feel like runaway trains – something beyond our control.
So what do you do when you can’t switch off or change the thoughts?
You turn your attention to something totally different: the body.
Though you probably can’t force yourself to suddenly start thinking “I’m awesome,” you can change your physical posture.
Body over mind
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.”
Next, stand up tall, feet wide, hands at your hips or arms up overhead. Lift your chest and draw your shoulders back. Then repeat the same statement.
Which of these postures felt most in line with the statement?
You guessed it – the second one.
And this is backed up by research.
Social psychologist Amy Cuddy gave a popular TEDTalk on the link between body language and confidence. She found that adopting a “high-power pose” in which you are expanding the body for two minutes can cause a significant increase in testosterone, the hormone associated with dominance or power, and a corresponding drop in cortisol, the hormone associated with stress.
So by not contracting but expanding the body – whether it be a “Wonder Woman pose” with hands at the hips, leaning back in your chair with your feet on your desk, or some other posture that expands the space your body takes up – you create the hormones for greater confidence!
In coaching too, body language is an important tool I use with clients because it allows them to tap into positive feeling states and parts of the brain aren’t otherwise being accessed.
So when your mind is stuck in stress and doubt, don’t forget about the body.
Strike a pose
The next time you’re needing a boost of confidence, try taking a couple minutes to strike a powerful pose and see what happens.
If you’ve got a friend who’s nervous about an upcoming event, share this post via one of the icons below.
Have fun taking up some space!
Photo by Ryan McGuire at gratisography.com.