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Forget the Power Pose and Find Real Confidence

by Liz Brown
February 27, 2018 | Living

Confidence is that elusive quality that most people either think they have or desperately want. Whether you need it for standing up to your boss at work or asking someone on a first date, feeling powerful and unwavering in your decision-making is a useful tool for getting what you want.

The power pose is one of the top confidence boosters recommended these days. Channel a super hero confronting an evil villain or an insurmountable catastrophe and stand tall with your fists on your hips, chin up and chest puffed out. This TED Talk boasts the power of body language and how postures of confidence can be used to your advantage.

Confidence pbs rewire

Feeling nervous before an important meeting? Hit the power pose in the elevator. Anticipating telling your mom "no" for the first time ever? Take a deep breath and then puff out that chest.

Most of the time, that pose does elevate you for a minute or two. But its power doesn’t seem to carry over into the rest of the day. If you don’t focus hard enough, it may actually just feel silly.

Drop the act

But there are several recent studies that suggest the power pose doesn’t really do anything for confidence. There’s no guarantee that power posing is going to change your life for the better.

If the super hero stance isn't going to save the day, what can you do to harness your inner confidence? Here are some tips that offer long-term benefits:

1. Know that words are powerful

Consciously try to remove negativity from your self-talk. Trade in “I can’t do this,” for “I’m going to find a way to achieve this goal.”

Don’t be too hard on yourself or doubt your abilities. Thinking and speaking positively can make all the difference when it comes to accomplishing difficult tasks.

2. Get stronger emotionally

Practice acceptance and learn to cope with doubts to become emotionally resilient. If you’re stronger emotionally, it’s easier to bounce back from setbacks and failures. One way to do this is to embrace rejection. With some practice, you'll be able to handle nearly any curveball thrown at you.

Acknowledging your emotions, rather than letting them overtake you, can help you stay present and mindful.

3. Do something for others

Paying it forward, even by doing something as simple as holding the door open for someone, can really help shift your mood in a positive direction. Helping someone else can make you feel better about yourself, too.

4. Remember past accomplishments

It’s easy to block out the past and look exclusively to challenges of the future. But don’t forget to acknowledge and give yourself credit for past successes.

Confidence pbs rewire

When you feel uncertain about something, remember that you’ve leaped over hurdles before and are equipped to handle this new task.

As Jenny Foss wrote for The Muse, "sometimes, in our panic and despair, we forget how awesome and powerful we were in overcoming an earlier curveball, mess or conundrum. When you realize you've done it before, it will help you to remind yourself that you can—and will—weather this one, too."

5. Learn to expect the unexpected

Plans fall through and resulting frustration can be hard to deal with. But if you can open yourself to change and try to go with the flow, you’ll spend less energy getting mad if something doesn’t go the way you wanted it to.

Enjoy the unexpected and learn from your failures. These incredible TED Talks can show you how to own your mistakes.

6. Believe in your own abilities

When was the last time you told yourself "good job" or patted yourself on the back? We tend to put a lot of weight on validations that come from other people. But when your accomplishments go unnoticed, it’s up to you to affirm that you completed your work and did it well.

We can be our own best cheerleaders. Treat yourself after completing that important presentation. Buy yourself something nice for accomplishing your goals for the week. If you can encourage yourself to get things done, you can give yourself a confidence boost and feel powerful in your own right, without the need for others' praise.

Liz Brown
Liz Brown is a San Francisco-based writer and copyeditor whose day job is in marketing and communications. Her passion lies in finding the unique angle to every story. Follow her ramblings on Twitter at @lizb411.
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