Confidence is considered to be a controlled state of mind. Through experience and the pure knowledge that you have adequately prepared for your cause, confidence should be the least of your problems. Although this may be true, when exposed in situations of high importance and seriousness, we often find ourselves folding under the pressure and stress. Luckily, the cause can be linked to our bodies, which we can manipulate to boost levels of confidence within the heat of battle.
According to studies, we can alter how our bodies react to stressful situations by programming them ahead of time. The concept, known as the power pose, as coined by Amy Cuddy who was featured on TED Talks, determines how our bodies operate. By holding yourself in a position of power, with your chin held high, you can literally fake confidence in order for your body to react in a more confidence manner. The opposite also applies. If you cross your arms and try to shield yourself from the outside would, the body will reduce its overall level of confidence.
The science behind this is simple to understand. Our bodies produce two important hormones that we can associate with our overall level of confidence. Cortisol and Testosterone. Each is produced during separate occasions. Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, production is heightened during events of stress, which clouds the mind, restricting the ability to clearly think and, in turn, causing you to feel less confidence. On the other side of the spectrum lies testosterone. This hormone is mostly associated with the feeling of both power and dominance. Upon winning a close race on the track, you would burst out in excitement with your head high as a result of this enhanced level of testosterone. On any other occasion, you would likely feel awkward doing such an act of superiority. For this reason, Amy has conducted studies to find that the process works both ways.
If you were to position yourself into a physical position of power, despite not currently confident, your body would naturally increase testosterone while lowering cortisol levels, giving you that extra feeling of “I Got This!”. As stated above, if you position yourself in a submissive manner, your level of confidence will decrease while stress does the opposite. Try it out next time you are nervous about a big event! You should be able to look in the mirror and see a confident individual.
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