How to Mentally Put More Confidence in Your Life

Katie Corbett holds the book "Presence" by Amy Cuddy

By Katie Corbett


Want to boost your confidence, even if you don’t have a private place to do a power pose? It’s definitely possible! In her book, “Presence,” Amy Cuddy divulges yet another secret of science! It turns out you can hold your power pose mentally and get the same calming result as if your body was in the position physically.


I used this technique right before I gave a talk in my Introduction to Human Resources class. My small group and I needed to present our final project. We weren’t the first group to present and it would have been rude to duck out on another project presentation to go to the bathroom to hold my power pose. I wasn’t feeling entirely calm, though, so I sat quietly in my seat and pictured myself standing with my feet shoulder-width apart with hands on hips and counted for two minutes, or 120 seconds, in my head. When it was time to stand up and present, I wasn’t nervous anymore.


Does it seem too easy? Try it for yourself right now. I guarantee you’ll feel more assured just to have this knowledge in your back pocket. You never know when you’ll be in a nerve-racking situation without a space in which to physically do a power pose, so why not try it mentally. It could make all the difference!


I also think it’s cool to note that this idea was discovered because someone who uses a wheelchair wrote to Dr. Cuddy and asked if they could benefit from imagining themselves doing poses they could not physically do. So if you, too, are unable to move your arms and/or legs, remember this mental trick and power posing can work for you!


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How to Use Body Language to Decrease Stress

Katie Corbett holds the book "Presence" by Amy Cuddy

By Katie Corbett


It’s ten minutes before a job interview. This is your first time meeting anyone from the company and you want to make a good first impression. You’ve done your research. You know some ideal answers to interview questions you might be asked and you’ve come up with thoughtful, intelligent questions of your own about the company and position.


But you’re still nervous. Your heart is pounding and your palms are slick with sweat. In spite of all your careful planning, your stomach is in knots. Is there anything you can do? Can you decrease your stress levels in time to ace the interview? Yes. Yes, you can. It only takes two minutes.


In her book, “Presence,” Amy Cuddy elaborates on a method of stress reduction called “Power Posing.” This entails holding your body in a certain position for two minutes, which will lower your cortisol and raise your testosterone. The change in chemicals decreases sensations of anxiety and stress and increases feelings of confidence and empowerment.


My favorite power pose involves standing with my feet shoulder-width apart and placing my hands on my hips. I stand tall like that for two minutes and let the body chemistry take over.


I have used this poise producing life-hack in many situations, one of which was my annual review with my boss and the CEO of the nonprofit for which I work. Even though I had a feeling everything would go well, I was still nervous. My breaths were shallow, my heart was pounding and I was afraid if I opened my mouth to speak, my voice would be shaky.


Shortly before it was time for my review, I stood in my office and held my power pose for two minutes. When my power pose time was over, I was breathing more deeply, my head felt clearer and my heart was no longer going a mile a minute. I was able to walk into my review with self-assurance and present my ideas, feedback and opinions with a strong voice and clear communication.


Anyone can do this. All it takes is finding a private, quiet place to go for two minutes before an important event. Amy suggests many other power poses in her book and explains the science behind the technique, so pick up “Presence” to learn more.


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Perfecting Poise with Presence

Katie Corbett holds the book "Presence" by Amy Cuddy

By Katie Corbett


It was 2 in the morning and I’d just gotten done hanging out with my friend Ashley. (Early bedtimes are not a necessity of the unemployed job seeker.) Ashley was driving me home and I was telling her about a job interview I had later in the week.


“I just don’t know what to do,” I said. “I’ve been interviewing for so many jobs and I’m just not feeling confident anymore.”


“Have you heard of doing ‘power poses’?” she asked.


“No. What’s that?”


“You can hold your body in positions that alter your chemistry and give you a confidence boost,” Ashley explained as we rounded the last corner before parking in front of my apartment building. “It’s really awesome!”


“That does sound cool. Where can I learn more?”


“There’s a TED Talk about it, by a woman named, Amy Cuddy, I think. I’ll send you the link on your Facebook.”


Later that week, Ashley posted on my Facebook Wall the link to the TED Talk, with the text “This is seriously a game-changer.”


I watched the talk and I was floored. It was just as Ashley had described. One thing, however, was that the presenter hadn’t verbally described any of the poses, so I didn’t know what to do. (I’m blind and so I couldn’t watch what she was doing to hold the positions.) I thought, “There’s gotta be a book about this!” And there was.


The book is called, “Presence” by Amy Cuddy. I read the book and the ideas I found in it changed the way I approach nerve-racking situations. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to illustrate some of what I learned and how it could make a difference for you, too.


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