How to be confident and reduce stress in 2 minutes per day

How to be confident and reduce stress in 2 minutes per day

You can’t tackle stress management the same way you tackle other goals.

You can’t tackle stress management the same way you tackle other goals.

Bill Rielly had it all: a degree from West Point, an executive position at Microsoft, strong faith, a great family life, and plenty of money. He even got along well with his in-laws! So why did he have so much stress and anxiety that he could barely sleep at night? I have worked with Bill for several years now and we both believe his experience could be useful for other capable, driven individuals.

At one time, no level of success seemed enough for Bill. He learned at West Point that the way to solve problems was to persevere through any pain. But this approach didn’t seem to work with reducing his stress. When he finished his second marathon a few minutes slower than his goal, he felt he had failed. So to make things “right” he ran another marathon just five weeks later. His body rejected this idea, and he finished an hour slower than before. Finally, his wife convinced him to figure out what was really driving his stress. He spent the next several years searching for ways to find more joy in the journey. In the process he found five tools. Each was ordinary enough, but together they proved life-changing and enabled his later success as an Apple executive.

Breathing. He started small by taking three deep breaths each time he sat down at his desk. He found it helped him relax. After three breaths became a habit, he expanded to a few minutes a day. He found he was more patient, calmer, more in the moment. Now he does 30 minutes a day. It restores his perspective while enabling him to take a fresh look at a question or problem and come up with new solutions. Deep breathing exercises have been part of yoga practices for thousands of years, but recent research done at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital document the positive impact deep breathing has on your body’s ability to deal with stress.

Meditating. When Bill first heard about meditation, he figured it was for hippies. But he was surprised to find meditators he recognized: Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Marc Benioff, and Russell Simmons among them. Encouraged, he started with a minute a day. His meditation consisted of “body scanning” which involved focusing his mind and energy on each section of the body from head to toe. Recent research at Harvard has shown meditating for as little as 8 weeks can actually increase the grey matter in the parts of the brain responsible for emotional regulation and learning. In other words, the meditators had increased their emotional control and brain power!

Listening. Bill found if he concentrated on listening to other people the way he focused when he meditated his interaction immediately became richer. The other person could feel he was listening, almost physically. And when they knew he was listening they formed a bond with him faster. Life almost immediately felt richer and more meaningful. As professor Graham Bodie has empirically noted, listening is the quintessential positive interpersonal communication behavior.

Questioning. This tool isn’t about asking other people questions, it’s about questioning the thoughts your mind creates. Just because your mind creates a thought doesn’t make it true. Bill got in the habit of asking himself “Is that thought true?” And if he wasn’t absolutely certain it was, he just let it go. He said: “Thank your mind for coming up with the thought and move on. I found this liberating because it gave me an outlet for negative thoughts, a relief valve I didn’t have before.” The technique of questioning your thoughts has been popularized by Byron Katie who advocates what she calls “the great undoing.” Her experience and research show there is power in acknowledging rather than repressing negative thoughts. Instead of trying to ignore something we believe to be true, questioning allows us to see our thoughts “face to face” and to discredit them because they are untrue.

Purpose. Bill committed to living with purpose. Not so much a Life’s Purpose — it was easier than that. He committed to purposefully doing whatever he was doing. To be doing it and only it. If he decided to watch TV he really watched it. If he was having a meal he took the time to enjoy the meal. There is research to support Bill’s experience. In “A Pace Not Dictated by Electrons: An Empirical Study of Work Without Email” Gloria Mark and Armand Cardello cite evidence to suggest knowledge workers check email as much as 36 times an hour. The result is increased stress. Giving each activity your undivided attention ensures you’re in the moment and fully living that experience.

An important key for Bill in all of this was starting small—very small. It’s important because you can’t take on stress in a stressful way. Often we try to bring about change through sheer effort and we put all of our energy into a new initiative. But you can’t beat stress using the same techniques that created the stress in the first place.

Instead, the key is to do less than you feel you want to. If you feel like breathing for two minutes, do it for just one minute. If you are up for a day of really listening to people deeply, do it for the next meeting only. Leave yourself eager to try it again. What you want is to develop a sustainable habit: a stress-free approach to reducing your stress.

There is a simple strategy that you can use to reduce anxiety, improve your ability to deal with stress, and boost your confidence.

The best part? It works immediately and only takes two minutes to do.

Your Hormones and Your Confidence

Recent research coming out of Harvard University, The University of Oregon, The University of Texas and many other places is revealing that powerful and effective leaders not only share similar mindsets, but also similar hormone levels. More specifically, powerful leaders tend to have higher levels of testosterone and lower levels of cortisol.

Higher levels of testosterone (in both men and women) lead to increased feelings of confidence. Meanwhile, lower levels of cortisol lead to decreased anxiety and an improved ability to deal with stress.

Here’s what that means: if you enjoy these hormone levels, then you are biologically primed to be more assertive, confident, and relaxed. At the same time, you will be less reactive to stress and more likely to handle pressure situations well. In other words, the correct hormone levels can make you feel more confident and less stressed.

Sounds good, right?

What is particularly important about testosterone and coritsol is that your levels of each hormone can change rapidly depending on the social, physical, and environmental cues that surround you.

What does this have to do with feeling more confident?

Well, it turns out that one of the physical cues that impacts these two hormones is body language. And if you understand how to improve your body language, then you can increase your testosterone, decrease your cortisol, and “magically” feel more confident and risk tolerant.

Let’s talk about the link between body language and confidence…

Body Language: The “Power Poses”

Amy Cuddy is a researcher at Harvard University who studies body language and the impact it has on your hormones.

Cuddy and her team have classified different body positions as “high power” or “low power” poses. In general, the high power poses are open and relaxed while the low power poses are closed and guarded.

Below is an image showing the different types of power poses.

How to be confident and reduce stress in 2 minutes per day

Cuddy and her research team studied the impact of high power and low power poses by conducting a research study on 42 students. (Original article available here.)

Here’s how the study went down…

  • First, a saliva sample was taken from each subject and their testosterone and cortisol levels were measured.
  • Second, the subject was asked to sit in either a high power pose or a low power pose for two minutes.
  • Third, a second sample of saliva was taken from each subject and their testosterone and cortisol levels were measured again.

When the researchers looked at the results, they were stunned by the impact that body language had on the hormones within the body. High power poses increased testosterone by 20 percent and decreased cortisol levels by 25 percent.

Here’s a graph showing the results…

How to be confident and reduce stress in 2 minutes per day

This brings us to the most important question…

How can you make this actionable in your life?

Stand Like This for 2 Minutes Per Day

How to be confident and reduce stress in 2 minutes per day

The most well–known and versatile high power pose is nicknamed “The Wonder Woman” pose. You simple stand tall with your chest out and your hands on your hips. The images above show powerful women like Christine Lagarde and Beyonce in classic “Wonder Woman” pose.

Just to be clear: despite the nickname and the photos, the impact of these poses is just as relevant to men as it is to women.

Making This Work in Real Life

If you’re aware of it, body language is easy to adjust throughout your day.

But if you’re anything like me, you’ll get busy with other tasks and completely forget to check your body language. Because of this, I’ve found it most useful to insert a high power pose into my morning routine for 2 or 3 minutes and then move on with the rest of my life.

Here’s a pattern that I have been playing with recently…

Each morning, I’ll wake up and stand in a high power pose for two minutes. While I’m doing that, I’ll close my eyes, breathe in deeply for a count of 3, hold for 1, and then breathe out fully for a count of 5. In this way, I combine breathing exercises, meditation, and power poses for a relaxing and confidence–boosting start to the day.

Plus, it only takes 120 seconds. It’s kind of hard to say you don’t have time for it.

For more ideas on how to improve your morning routine, read this: 8 Ways to Improve Your Morning Routine

What You Should Do Now

It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting.
—Millard Fuller, Founder of Habitat for Humanity

Just to be clear: I don’t believe that body language is the end–all, be–all of becoming more confident.

That said, it is pretty clear that confidence is a two–way street that involves both your mind and body. Sure, your personality and your emotional state will impact your confidence levels, but it’s obvious that assuming better body language, taking up space, and expanding your physical presence can play an important role as well.

Most importantly, you now have another tool in your toolbox to use whenever you need it.

If you’re feeling stressed a few minutes before your next presentation, interview, or meeting — take a moment to adjust your posture and stand in a powerful position. Put your hands on your hips, keep your chin up, and your chest out. Doing this for just two minutes will raise your testosterone and increase your confidence, while also decreasing your cortisol and improving your ability to handle stress.

Your behaviors and emotions are firmly tied. The most powerful leaders don’t merely think a certain way, they carry themselves a certain way. You should do the same.

Watch Amy Cuddy’s 20–Minute TED Talk

Want more? You can watch Amy Cuddy talk about her research and the impact of body language in her 20–minute TED Talk. It’s well worth the time.

Thanks for reading. You can get more actionable ideas in my popular email newsletter. Each week, I share 3 short ideas from me, 2 quotes from others, and 1 question to think about. Over 1,000,000 people subscribe. Enter your email now and join us.

There is a simple strategy that you can use to reduce anxiety, improve your ability to deal with stress, and boost your confidence.

The best part? It works immediately and only takes two minutes to do.

Your Hormones And Your Confidence

Recent research coming out of Harvard University, The University of Oregon, The University of Texas and many other places is revealing that powerful and effective leaders not only share similar mindsets, but also similar hormone levels. More specifically, powerful leaders tend to have higher levels of testosterone and lower levels of cortisol.

Higher levels of testosterone (in both men and women) lead to increased feelings of confidence. Meanwhile, lower levels of cortisol lead to decreased anxiety and an improved ability to deal with stress.

Here’s what that means: if you enjoy these hormone levels, then you are biologically primed to be more assertive, confident, and relaxed. At the same time, you will be less reactive to stress and more likely to handle pressure situations well. In other words, the correct hormone levels can make you feel more confident and less stressed.

Sounds good, right?

What is particularly important about testosterone and cortisol is that your levels of each hormone can change rapidly depending on the social, physical, and environmental cues that surround you.

What does this have to do with feeling more confident?

Well, it turns out that one of the physical cues that impacts these two hormones is body language. And if you understand how to improve your body language, then you can increase your testosterone, decrease your cortisol, and “magically” feel more confident and risk tolerant.

Let’s talk about the link between body language and confidence…

Body Language: The “Power Poses”

Amy Cuddy is a researcher at Harvard University who studies body language and the impact it has on your hormones.

Cuddy and her team have classified different body positions as “high power” or “low power” poses. In general, the high power poses are open and relaxed while the low power poses are closed and guarded.

Below is an image showing the different types of power poses.

How to be confident and reduce stress in 2 minutes per dayHigh Power body language is open and relaxed. Low Power body language is closed and guarded.

Cuddy and her research team studied the impact of high power and low power poses by conducting a research study on 42 students. (Original article available here.)

Here’s how the study went down…

  • First, a saliva sample was taken from each subject and their testosterone and cortisol levels were measured.
  • Second, the subject was asked to sit in either a high power pose or a low power pose for two minutes.
  • Third, a second sample of saliva was taken from each subject and their testosterone and cortisol levels were measured again.

When the researchers looked at the results, they were stunned by the impact that body language had on the hormones within the body. High power poses increased testosterone by 20 percent and decreased cortisol levels by 25 percent.

Here’s a graph showing the results…

How to be confident and reduce stress in 2 minutes per day High power poses increased testosterone levels by 20% (which boosts confidence) while simultaneously decreasing cortisol levels by 25% (which reduces anxiety).

This brings us to the most important question…

How can you make this actionable in your life?

Stand Like This for 2 Minutes Per Day

The most well–known and versatile high power pose is nicknamed “The Wonder Woman” pose. You simple stand tall with your chest out and your hands on your hips. The images above show powerful women like Christine Lagarde and Beyonce in classic “Wonder Woman” pose.

Just to be clear: despite the nickname and the photos, the impact of these poses is just as relevant to men as it is to women.

Making This Work In Real Life

If you’re aware of it, body language is easy to adjust throughout your day.

But if you’re anything like me, you’ll get busy with other tasks and completely forget to check your body language. Because of this, I’ve found it most useful to insert a high power pose into my morning routine for 2 or 3 minutes and then move on with the rest of my life.

Here’s a pattern that I have been playing with recently…

Each morning, I’ll wake up and stand in a high power pose for two minutes. While I’m doing that, I’ll close my eyes, breathe in deeply for a count of 3, hold for 1, and then breathe out fully for a count of 5. In this way, I combine breathing exercises, meditation, and power poses for a relaxing and confidence–boosting start to the day.

Plus, it only takes 120 seconds. It’s kind of hard to say you don’t have time for it.

For more ideas on how to improve your morning routine, read this: 8 Ways to Improve Your Morning Routine

What You Should Do Now

It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting.
—Millard Fuller, Founder of Habitat for Humanity

Just to be clear: I don’t believe that body language is the end–all, be–all of becoming more confident.

That said, it is pretty clear that confidence is a two–way street that involves both your mind and body. Sure, your personality and your emotional state will impact your confidence levels, but it’s obvious that assuming better body language, taking up space, and expanding your physical presence can play an important role as well.

Most importantly, you now have another tool in your toolbox to use whenever you need it.

If you’re feeling stressed a few minutes before your next presentation, interview, or meeting — take a moment to adjust your posture and stand in a powerful position. Put your hands on your hips, keep your chin up, and your chest out. Doing this for just two minutes will raise your testosterone and increase your confidence, while also decreasing your cortisol and improving your ability to handle stress.

Your behaviors and emotions are firmly tied. The most powerful leaders don’t merely think a certain way, they carry themselves a certain way. You should do the same.

Watch Amy Cuddy’s 20–Minute TED Talk

Want more? You can watch Amy Cuddy talk about her research and the impact of body language in her 20–minute TED Talk. It’s well worth the time.

Relax. You deserve it, it’s good for you, and it takes less time than you think.

Video Transcript

American Heart Association: “Four Ways to Deal With Stress.”; PubMed Central: “Psychosocial and Psychophysiological Effects of Human-Animal Interactions: The Possible Role of Oxytocin.”; NIH News in Health: “Can Pets Keep You Healthy?”; Cleveland Clinic: “Want a Healthy Heart? Laugh More!”; HelpGuide.org: “Laughter Is the Best Medicine.”; Association for Psychological Science: “Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal; Displays Affect Neuroendocrine; Levels and Risk Tolerance.”; Harvard Business School: “Power Posing: Fake It Until you Make It.”; IZA.org: “The Effect of Sexual Activity on Wages.”

You don’t need a spa weekend or a retreat. Each of these stress-relieving tips can get you from OMG to om in less than 15 minutes.

A few minutes of practice per day can help ease anxiety. “Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress,” says psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, a Chicago health and wellness coach.

It’s simple. Sit up straight with both feet on the floor. Close your eyes. Focus your attention on reciting — out loud or silently — a positive mantra such as “I feel at peace” or “I love myself.” Place one hand on your belly to sync the mantra with your breaths. Let any distracting thoughts float by like clouds.

2. Breathe Deeply

Take a 5-minute break and focus on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth.

“Deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure,” psychologist Judith Tutin, PhD, says. She’s a certified life coach in Rome, GA.

3. Be Present

“Take 5 minutes and focus on only one behavior with awareness,” Tutin says. Notice how the air feels on your face when you’re walking and how your feet feel hitting the ground. Enjoy the texture and taste of each bite of food.

When you spend time in the moment and focus on your senses, you should feel less tense.

4. Reach Out

Your social network is one of your best tools for handling stress. Talk to others — preferably face to face, or at least on the phone. Share what’s going on. You can get a fresh perspective while keeping your connection strong.

5. Tune In to Your Body

Mentally scan your body to get a sense of how stress affects it each day. Lie on your back, or sit with your feet on the floor. Start at your toes and work your way up to your scalp, noticing how your body feels.

Continued

“Simply be aware of places you feel tight or loose without trying to change anything,” Tutin says. For 1 to 2 minutes, imagine each deep breath flowing to that body part. Repeat this process as you move your focus up your body, paying close attention to sensations you feel in each body part.

6. Decompress

Place a warm heat wrap around your neck and shoulders for 10 minutes. Close your eyes and relax your face, neck, upper chest, and back muscles. Remove the wrap, and use a tennis ball or foam roller to massage away tension.

“Place the ball between your back and the wall. Lean into the ball, and hold gentle pressure for up to 15 seconds. Then move the ball to another spot, and apply pressure,” says Cathy Benninger, a nurse practitioner and assistant professor at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.

7. Laugh Out Loud

A good belly laugh doesn’t just lighten the load mentally. It lowers cortisol, your body’s stress hormone, and boosts brain chemicals called endorphins, which help your mood. Lighten up by tuning in to your favorite sitcom or video, reading the comics, or chatting with someone who makes you smile.

8. Crank Up the Tunes

Research shows that listening to soothing music can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety. “Create a playlist of songs or nature sounds (the ocean, a bubbling brook, birds chirping), and allow your mind to focus on the different melodies, instruments, or singers in the piece,” Benninger says. You also can blow off steam by rocking out to more upbeat tunes — or singing at the top of your lungs!

9. Get Moving

You don’t have to run in order to get a runner’s high. All forms of exercise, including yoga and walking, can ease depression and anxiety by helping the brain release feel-good chemicals and by giving your body a chance to practice dealing with stress. You can go for a quick walk around the block, take the stairs up and down a few flights, or do some stretching exercises like head rolls and shoulder shrugs.

Continued

10. Be Grateful

Keep a gratitude journal or several (one by your bed, one in your purse, and one at work) to help you remember all the things that are good in your life.

“Being grateful for your blessings cancels out negative thoughts and worries,” says Joni Emmerling, a wellness coach in Greenville, NC.

Use these journals to savor good experiences like a child’s smile, a sunshine-filled day, and good health. Don’t forget to celebrate accomplishments like mastering a new task at work or a new hobby.

When you start feeling stressed, spend a few minutes looking through your notes to remind yourself what really matters.

Sources

American Psychological Association: “Exercise fuels the brain’s stress buffers.”

Bennett, M. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, March 2008.

Bennett, M. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 2003.

Cathy Benninger, RN, CNP, MS, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Joni Emmerling, wellness coach, Greenville, NC.

Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, clinical psychologist, health and wellness coach; founder and owner, Centered Coaching, Chicago.

Harvard Health Publications: “In Brief: Sing along for health.”

Koelsch, S. Frontiers in Psychology, June 2011.

Judith Tutin, PhD, psychologist, life coach, Rome, GA.

How to be confident and reduce stress in 2 minutes per day

We all have different triggers that leads to stress, as well as different reactions to that stress. Some of us get anxious, others shut down, and many get angry. Certainly these three reactions are only a mere drop in the ocean of reactions that people have to stress. There are people who get so worked up over stressful events or feelings that they make themselves physically ill.

The thing is, it doesn’t have to like that. Changing your personal reaction to stress is easy to say, but not as easy to do (as is the case with most things in life).

However, when you feel like you’re going to succumb to stress (or you are already there), here are 14 tricks that you can begin to practice and use to calm yourself down in just five minutes.

1. Smile.

“Age-old adages, such as ‘grin and bear it,’ have suggested smiling to be not only an important nonverbal indicator of happiness but also wishfully promote smiling as a panacea for life’s stressful events,” says researcher Tara Kraft.

The research conducted by Kraft did in fact find that simply smiling did reduce stress.

“The next time you are stuck in traffic or are experiencing some other type of stress, you might try to hold your face in a smile for a moment,” said Sarah Pressman, one of the researchers. “Not only will it help you ‘grin and bear it’ psychologically, but it might actually help your heart health as well.”

2. Breathe deeply.

Another simple tactic to get rid of that stress? Breathe.

Deep breathing helps us disengage from distracting thoughts and sensations, which makes the body feel like it does when it’s relaxed.

To practice this technique, find a quiet and comfy area and then breathe normally. Then begin to breathe in slowly through your nose, so that your chest and lower belly rise. Next, let your abdomen expand fully and breathe out slowly. The key to this type of breathing seems to be to let the breath come out longer than it takes your large breath to come in. Take more time in the out breath.

3. Chew gum.

Andrew Scholey, a professor of behavioral and brain sciences at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia, found that that chewing gum helped relieve anxiety, improve alertness, and reduce stress by 16 percent during mild stress and nearly 12 percent in moderate stress.

4. Change your passwords.

This is actually a form of priming, which basically means that you use cues in your environment to help you act in a desired way. For example, this was a guy who changed his password to “[email protected]” to help him get over his anger following his divorce. Other suggestions may be “Ilovemywork” and “Ilikemymotherinlaw.” (You get the idea.)

5. Meditate or stretch.

Meditation and stretching are both tried-and-true tactics to help you relieve stress. Both are incredibly simple to do no matter where you where. Simply close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and concentrate on your current state. Or, simply stretch your limbs for a moment. This suggestion fits in somewhat with the “exercise” category, and so these methods are often ignored — just as exercise is ignored. However, it is much easier and faster to take a stretch in the bathroom stall at work than to hit the gym.

6. Call a friend or mom.

Whenever you’re stressed out, pick up the phone and vent to your bestie. Or, better yet, give your mom a call. According to a study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, those who chatted with mom reduced a key stress hormone and also released oxytocin.

7. Visualize.

Here’s another simple technique that you can do anywhere whenever you feel overwhelmed. Just make yourself comfortable, close your eyes, and think about your happy place, like the beach. You can even visualize accomplishing a future goal to help your relax.

8. Count numbers.

When you count numbers, you’re giving your mind something neutral to think about, as opposed to all the things that are freaking you out. Some have found counting backward helps the best. Better yet, picture an old-fashioned blackboard, and in your mind, watch the numbers slowly being written in white on that blackboard. 100, 99, 98.

9. Give someone a hug or kiss.

Hugs have been known to release oxytocin, which is a hormone that can lead to relaxation, trust, and compassion. Kissing, on the other hand, helps the brain to release endorphins.

“Kissing relieves stress by creating a sense of connectedness, which releases endorphins, the chemicals that counteract stress and depression,” says Laura Berman, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry and ob-gyn at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

10. Drink and eat.

This doesn’t mean that you should chow down on a double-bacon cheeseburger and wash it down with a couple of beers. Many people already turn to unhealthy eating and drinking, so it may be a wiser option to determine ahead of time and in a calm moment what you will eat or drink for your next stress-relieving episode. Instead of something destructive, snack on foods like chocolate, sparingly, since snack foods can release beta endorphins.

Also sip on some green tea, which contains the amino acid L-theanine and has been linked to the reduction of stress and anxiety.

11. Use aromatherapy.

It’s no secret that different scents can stimulate different moods. So the next time you’re stressed, rub just a little bit of sandalwood and myrrh on your temples. A little lavender scent of the pillow at night or in the bath is relaxing. If you are at work, you can have a bottle of essential oil in your desk and take a whiff of it when the stress is too much for you. There is all kinds of information online about this subject, but of particular interest is that from Dr. Jean Valnet, a physician and an Army surgeon during WWII and the father of modern phyto-aromatherapy.

12. Pet an animal.

It’s been found that petting animals can increase your levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters that have calming properties.

13. Listen to music.

Classical music has been found to lower blood pressure, slow down your pulse, and reduce stress hormones. Besides that, music can increase dopamine. However, think of your last wild air guitar or air drum solo — those concerts were probably not given to your air audience with classical music. Turn up the tunes if you need to. Music relieves stress.

14. Buy a houseplant.

A study from the Washington State University found that when a group of stressed-out people entered a room full of plants, there was a four-point drop in their blood pressure.

Another study from the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School found that “people feel more compassionate toward others, have less worry and anxiety, and feel less depressed when fresh cut flowers are present in the home.”

How to be confident and reduce stress in 2 minutes per day

Did you know that April is Stress Awareness Month? We all experience stress at some point in our lives. Whether it’s preparing for a sales presentation, worrying about bills, or running all over town from kid activity to kid activity, stress can creep up on you.

Some of you probably tensed up just reading that sentence, but don’t fret! I’m here to share some of my favorite apps and resources to alleviate the stress we all face in our daily lives.

Take a deep breath, Frisco, and try these six simple ways to de-stress.

An App a Day Keeps the Stress Away

The Shine App — This is my top favorite app that I use every single day. The app offers a daily short meditation (I like to start my day with this!), a daily check-in feature to assess your emotions, a question of the day you can share with other community members of the app, an evening meditation, and a library full of topic-specific resources for things like stress and anxiety, sleep practices and productivity challenges.

Ritual — Ritual is a wellbeing app that focuses on all of the dimensions of mental, emotional, spiritual, and social health. I love this app because it offers a variety of well-rounded, self-guided practices like journaling, mindfulness, reflection, and prayer. You’ll hear from a variety of experts in the wellness space! Turn it on during your morning commute to work or before bed to shake off the stress of the day.

Endel — One of the newest apps I’ve discovered is Endel. It offers personalized soothing sounds to help you relax, focus or sleep. It’s pretty cool; it has an algorithm that helps customize soundscapes for those high-anxiety moments we all face. I’ve only been using it for about a week, and I’m hooked! There’s something about calming sounds that make everything better.

Self-Care is the Best Care

Horizon Hot Yoga — Yoga is the perfect way to de-stress. Beyond the physical postures, learning to breathe deeply with intention can be useful all day long. Horizon Hot Yoga offers a variety of classes for beginners through the most seasoned yogis. Among them, try Hot 26 – a class focused on 26 different postures and two breathing exercises, and Yoga Nidra – a practice that will allow your body to be completely relaxed by lightly withdrawing from your five senses.

BEYOND Pilates — Maybe a consistent, challenging workout is what you need to keep your stress in check. Sweat the stress away with a 50-minute Pilates class that will leave you feeling both mentally and physically stronger. BEYOND will teach you how to put your mind to your muscle to take your movement and your body to the next level.

Culture A Day Spa — Unwind from a stressful week by booking a massage therapy appointment that your body will definitely thank you for later! Culture A Day Spa offers a variety of massage options like hot stone, deep tissue, Swedish, as well as a customizable option designed to fit your specific needs. Or, try their other luxury spa services, such as facials and body scrubs!

Although it’s a normal part of life, stress is still a negative force that can have a serious impact on both our professional and personal lives, not to mention our health. Just keep breathing, Frisco, and please tell us, how do you destress? Leave a comment below.

How to be confident and reduce stress in 2 minutes per day

There is a long history of researchers discussing the mind-body connection. Body posture “speaks” and is part of the non-verbal way people communicate with each other. In the workplace, this means that you are constantly communicating, whether you are talking or not. For example, eyes cast down or shoulders slumped are usually associated with lower confidence or even sadness. It is important to understand that our body language speaks to others but our body language also communicates with us internally.

Amy Cuddy, a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School studied the question of how does our body language affect us? She gave a great TED talk on the topic. She coined the termed “power posing” to study how a certain body posture might actually help increase confidence.

This pose consists of standing tall with the arms raised into a V-Shape above the head with a slight turn up of the chin and eyes looking up to the sky. It has been determined that this is the universal body posture of victory. “Our bodies change our mind, and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.” This concept can be very valuable in the workplace from the perspective of outcome-based performance. When we need to give a strong presentation or be interviewed, it might be helpful to be mindful of our posture prior to the event and consciously choose to do some power posing as a way to boost our hormones and help our minds change our behavior. Every person wants to go into these situations with confidence and power posing is a means to increase the chance of this.

This is where the simple practice of power posing can change the game.

Power Posing: What is the Science Behind this Posture?

Body language is a form of non-verbal communication both to others and to our own body. For example, when a person gives a presentation their non-verbal body language will set the stage before they speak and there is a steady stream of information being shared through body postures and actions. Co-workers size up one another and look for subtle non-verbal cues that say things like “I am confident” or “I am nervous”.

Professor Cuddy has studied the effect that Power Posing has on hormones in the body. Powerful people tend to respond to stress, while less powerful people react to stress with more stress. This can be measured through two hormones in the body: Testosterone and Cortisol. Testosterone is a regulator of physical energy and the ability to think clearly. Cortisol is released in response to stress and it helps generate new energy from stored reserves.

Here is how this works:

Powerful people have elevated levels of testosterone and lower levels of Cortisol. Less powerful people have elevated testosterone and higher levels of Cortisol. Thus, a person who responds to stress have elevated levels of testosterone and lower levels of Cortisol. Practicing power posing once a day is a simple way to set yourself up for success in the work place.

Imagine this situation:

Today is the day for your big presentation at work and you have been preparing for a few weeks. You get in your car and head off to work and remark at how sunny and nice the morning feels. You come to a stop at a traffic light and suddenly, boom, you are rear-ended by a distracted driver. The damage is minimal, but you are shaken up and frustrated. In your mind you are thinking, “Why did this happen today of all days? I have my big presentation in an hour!” You finally make it to work and you have about 30 minutes gather your senses before your big presentation. This is where Power Posing can have a large impact on the quality of your presentation. You are faced with TWO choices:

Choice A – Do nothing but hope.

You arrive at your desk and quickly open your laptop and turn it on to pull up the power point presentation and your mind is moving one hundred miles per hour-bouncing all over the place thinking about the accident. Five minutes until you have to present and you just decide to HOPE it goes well. Hope is not a plan.

Choice B – Change your body and mind with Power Posing.

You arrive at your desk and quickly open your laptop and turn it on to pull up the power point presentation and your mind is moving at one hundred miles per hour-bouncing all over the place thinking about the accident. You recognize your racing mind and stop yourself to do a 2 minute power pose. You raise your hands above your head, slightly look upwards and begin to take some deep breaths. You feel your heart rate slow down and then your mind begins to calm. You even decide that you are going to think positive thoughts, “I am ready for this presentation, I am calm and present, I can do this.” You feel focused and ready, all in just 2 minutes.

Workplace Power Posing

Prior to a presentation or an interview, stand and breathe for 2 minutes in a power pose as a way to improve your performance. You can fake it before you make it, meaning your non-verbal body posture can assist you to feel more powerful.

How to be confident and reduce stress in 2 minutes per day

Did you know that April is Stress Awareness Month? We all experience stress at some point in our lives. Whether it’s preparing for a sales presentation, worrying about bills, or running all over town from kid activity to kid activity, stress can creep up on you.

Some of you probably tensed up just reading that sentence, but don’t fret! I’m here to share some of my favorite apps and resources to alleviate the stress we all face in our daily lives.

Take a deep breath, Frisco, and try these six simple ways to de-stress.

An App a Day Keeps the Stress Away

The Shine App — This is my top favorite app that I use every single day. The app offers a daily short meditation (I like to start my day with this!), a daily check-in feature to assess your emotions, a question of the day you can share with other community members of the app, an evening meditation, and a library full of topic-specific resources for things like stress and anxiety, sleep practices and productivity challenges.

Ritual — Ritual is a wellbeing app that focuses on all of the dimensions of mental, emotional, spiritual, and social health. I love this app because it offers a variety of well-rounded, self-guided practices like journaling, mindfulness, reflection, and prayer. You’ll hear from a variety of experts in the wellness space! Turn it on during your morning commute to work or before bed to shake off the stress of the day.

Endel — One of the newest apps I’ve discovered is Endel. It offers personalized soothing sounds to help you relax, focus or sleep. It’s pretty cool; it has an algorithm that helps customize soundscapes for those high-anxiety moments we all face. I’ve only been using it for about a week, and I’m hooked! There’s something about calming sounds that make everything better.

Self-Care is the Best Care

Horizon Hot Yoga — Yoga is the perfect way to de-stress. Beyond the physical postures, learning to breathe deeply with intention can be useful all day long. Horizon Hot Yoga offers a variety of classes for beginners through the most seasoned yogis. Among them, try Hot 26 – a class focused on 26 different postures and two breathing exercises, and Yoga Nidra – a practice that will allow your body to be completely relaxed by lightly withdrawing from your five senses.

BEYOND Pilates — Maybe a consistent, challenging workout is what you need to keep your stress in check. Sweat the stress away with a 50-minute Pilates class that will leave you feeling both mentally and physically stronger. BEYOND will teach you how to put your mind to your muscle to take your movement and your body to the next level.

Culture A Day Spa — Unwind from a stressful week by booking a massage therapy appointment that your body will definitely thank you for later! Culture A Day Spa offers a variety of massage options like hot stone, deep tissue, Swedish, as well as a customizable option designed to fit your specific needs. Or, try their other luxury spa services, such as facials and body scrubs!

Although it’s a normal part of life, stress is still a negative force that can have a serious impact on both our professional and personal lives, not to mention our health. Just keep breathing, Frisco, and please tell us, how do you destress? Leave a comment below.

How to be confident and reduce stress in 2 minutes per day

Did you know that April is Stress Awareness Month? We all experience stress at some point in our lives. Whether it’s preparing for a sales presentation, worrying about bills, or running all over town from kid activity to kid activity, stress can creep up on you.

Some of you probably tensed up just reading that sentence, but don’t fret! I’m here to share some of my favorite apps and resources to alleviate the stress we all face in our daily lives.

Take a deep breath, Frisco, and try these six simple ways to de-stress.

An App a Day Keeps the Stress Away

The Shine App — This is my top favorite app that I use every single day. The app offers a daily short meditation (I like to start my day with this!), a daily check-in feature to assess your emotions, a question of the day you can share with other community members of the app, an evening meditation, and a library full of topic-specific resources for things like stress and anxiety, sleep practices and productivity challenges.

Ritual — Ritual is a wellbeing app that focuses on all of the dimensions of mental, emotional, spiritual, and social health. I love this app because it offers a variety of well-rounded, self-guided practices like journaling, mindfulness, reflection, and prayer. You’ll hear from a variety of experts in the wellness space! Turn it on during your morning commute to work or before bed to shake off the stress of the day.

Endel — One of the newest apps I’ve discovered is Endel. It offers personalized soothing sounds to help you relax, focus or sleep. It’s pretty cool; it has an algorithm that helps customize soundscapes for those high-anxiety moments we all face. I’ve only been using it for about a week, and I’m hooked! There’s something about calming sounds that make everything better.

Self-Care is the Best Care

Horizon Hot Yoga — Yoga is the perfect way to de-stress. Beyond the physical postures, learning to breathe deeply with intention can be useful all day long. Horizon Hot Yoga offers a variety of classes for beginners through the most seasoned yogis. Among them, try Hot 26 – a class focused on 26 different postures and two breathing exercises, and Yoga Nidra – a practice that will allow your body to be completely relaxed by lightly withdrawing from your five senses.

BEYOND Pilates — Maybe a consistent, challenging workout is what you need to keep your stress in check. Sweat the stress away with a 50-minute Pilates class that will leave you feeling both mentally and physically stronger. BEYOND will teach you how to put your mind to your muscle to take your movement and your body to the next level.

Culture A Day Spa — Unwind from a stressful week by booking a massage therapy appointment that your body will definitely thank you for later! Culture A Day Spa offers a variety of massage options like hot stone, deep tissue, Swedish, as well as a customizable option designed to fit your specific needs. Or, try their other luxury spa services, such as facials and body scrubs!

Although it’s a normal part of life, stress is still a negative force that can have a serious impact on both our professional and personal lives, not to mention our health. Just keep breathing, Frisco, and please tell us, how do you destress? Leave a comment below.