A Simple Tip To Decrease Stress Levels and Increase Self-Confidence
Written by: Christine Obee
I can just hear my mom now, ‘Christine, sit up straight!’
I think for her it was partly a respect thing, partly a physical thing. There’s no denying that someone sitting up tall and erect gives off the vibe of being alert and engaged (in my parents eyes, the opposite of being rude). There’s also no denying that it’s better for your body.
I don’t know when or why the slouching started. My guess is high school. I wasn’t particularly confident as a teenager and that certainly lends itself to hunching over and making yourself as small as possible. I was also tall, taller than most of the girls I saw as popular and taller than a lot of the guys. Of course I didn’t want to sit or stand up tall. That would have meant I stood out more. And that was the last thing I wanted to do.
As I moved into adult life though, things changed.
I became more comfortable with myself and I found yoga. It was practically impossible not to sit or stand tall in a yoga class. Plus, my body felt better in those positions. Gradually, the slouching lessened and I was more often reaching my full height potential.
When I got into the professional world, I had read something about taller people being more likely to get hired into leadership positions. Hmm, another reason to stand tall.
So where I am now in regards to the whole erect posture thing?
I’m all in.
Not only for the reasons I listed above, but also for the scientific proof I stumbled across about 6 months ago in a TedTalk titled “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” by Amy Cuddy, Social Psychologist.
It not only explained why being my full, tall self felt better than being hunched over, the message impacted me so much I became a walking body language infomercial. I shared her findings with my friends, family, students and clients.
Now, I will share them with you:
- People and animals that feel powerful exhibit body positions that are open. Think marathon race winner coming across the finish line with arms up.
- People that naturally exhibit power positions are more assertive, confident, optimistic, take more risks and are more willing to participate.
- People that naturally exhibit power positions have higher testosterone (dominance hormone) and lower cortisol (stress hormone).
- Being in a power position for just 2 minutes – imagine hands on hips like wonder woman – you can change the hormones in your body. Specifically:
- A second study done as part of the same research showed that interviewers chose to hire those interview participants that had stood in a power position for 2 minutes before the interview, rather than those who didn’t. It’s important to mention the interviewers didn’t know anything about the power positioning.
Is it just me, or is that crazy?! Crazy simple, crazy exciting. Think about the changes you can make in your body and ultimately, in your life.
I haven’t done experiments in labs or run any statistical significance, so I can’t add to the science. What I can tell you is what happens when I do this before I get on the phone with clients or teach a yoga class:
- I’m more confident.
- I’m more in flow and have more fun.
- I’m less attached to how I perform, so there’s less pressure and I can focus more on those I’m serving.
All of these result in fuller classes, more clients and therefore, a greater ability to help more people. It’s been a life-changer for me and for those I’m working with.
Give this a try and comment below. Tell me how this simple practice has helped you to increase your confidence and a decrease your stress, or any others changes you’ve experienced!
Christine is certified as a Lifestyle Design Coach and Yoga Teacher. Having made the transition from a draining, ‘just paying the bill’s’ job to doing work she loves, Christine now helps others in their own transitions. Through personalized coaching programs that combine practical methods with energetic and spiritual concepts, she moves professionals from a place of being disengaged and unfulfilled to finding clarify, hope and purpose.
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