A "Power Up" Exercise to Improve Confidence in Stressful Situations

We’ve all felt it before. Your palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. If you’ve got vomit on your sweater already, you might need more help than this Intel can give you. But everyone feels anxious before things like job interviews, important games, or sometimes even parties. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Have you ever had a terrible day, but suddenly you run into someone you really want to impress? It’s funny how you can turn into all smiles and high energy on a dime. That’s called a state change, and we can do it when it’s really needed. But, there are also few mind and body exercises you can do to increase the control over your state changes.

How you feel is strongly correlated to what you do. Many people have seen this TED talk by Amy Cuddy explaining how “power poses” like hands on hips for a few minutes can meaningfully increase the testosterone (confidence) and lower the cortisol (stress) in your body.

Before we share this quick exercise with you, we want to make something 100% clear. We do not support following in the footsteps of Dwight Schrute. But, you can’t argue that the man had some unshakable confidence in himself, and his method for getting a raise is hilariously close to what the experts like Amy recommend to do:

However, if you’re not in the place to listen to 80’s rock and scream “I AM AWESOME”, we present the Conquer Today Power Up. Use as needed before stressful situations to lower that heart rate and get the results you want, whether that be a job, having fun, or just feeling like you belong.

 

The POWER UP EXERCUSE

A personal power exercise to improve confidence before stressful situations:

 

START WITH: GROUNDING

Humans conduct electricity. Don’t stick forks in sockets. The earth also conducts electricity, and doesn’t that make you wonder if you could “plug into it”? It sounds crazy, but in fact, everything from Native American war dances to athletes in a huddle jumping up and down before a game are all conscious or subconscious efforts at “grounding”. It’s where the term feeling “grounded” comes from, and it feels really good.

How to Do It:

a) While standing, bend your legs ever so slightly so your kneecaps are not locked.
b) Push your pelvis forward to straighten your spine.
c) Breathe deeply from your belly at the same time you push down on your pelvic floor.
d) Close your eyes or focus on an object, and take 10 deep breaths in this way.

Can you feel it? People report feeling more “engaged and ready” with their knees bent & pelvis forward. Keep your shoulders down, stay relaxed but in place. Fill your entire core with air during every breath. If you’d like, hop back and forth a little like an athlete and just keep feeling the ground beneath you. We are all elite animals at the top of the food chain, but we need to learn how to feel that again.

 

MOVE INTO: EXPANDING

Many of us can feel small in stressful situations, and our physiology (body movement) reflects that feeling. Because it also works the other way around, we are going to spend a minute or so expanding our physical presence. You deserve to be here, you know.

How to Do It:

a) While continuing to breathe & stand with purpose, spread your arms out wide.
b) Hold this for a few breaths, then find another way to take up space, like hands on hips.
c) Keep your eyes forward or looking up, and head tilted back. Survey your mini-kingdom.
d) Optional: Throw down 30 pushups or jumping jacks to feel energized and strong.

 

CLOSE WITH: CALIBRATING

Affirmations have gone too far: you are not the greatest person in the universe. But listen to this little girl give herself a wonderful dose of positive encouragement before heading down the ski jump. True bravery!

If you just keep repeating that you’re OK, your brain will listen. We recommend everyone creates their own personal creed and mission statement. We have a full Campaign tutorial for it called Compass. With a personal creed about the values you stand for, you are unstoppable.

How to Do It:

a) Repeat your memorized personal creed to yourself three times. Smile. Keep breathing.
b) Tell yourself that whatever comes next is going to be a fun adventure.
c) Decided what is the first thing you are going to say out loud when you enter the situation.
d) Take three more deep, core-filling breaths with eyes closed, and then it’s off to the races.

 

MOVING FORWARD

Hopefully you’re now feeling like a true warrior. And remember, this isn’t a miracle drug, just a boost. If you want instant and effortless confidence, simply down a couple shots of whiskey before that interview. It shows initiative. Just kidding, please don’t do that.

We know this sounds like a bunch of bro-science, but everything around you is energy. Molecules in motion. If you’ve ever been in a high energy state, you maybe remember things going just a little bit easier for you. Ideas come faster, projects get done, people listen.

There is something real and tangible about using your personal energy to effect the world around you. Modern science can’t measure it yet, but sometimes science is just catching up to spiritual lessons from thousands of years ago. Or, for you skeptics, this is all placebo effect. Works anyway, though. Good luck out there!

THE SPARTAN MONK MORNING ROUTINE

Wake up like a warrior in just 15 minutes! Six simple exercises that will kickstart your body and mind:

+ Elevated Mood
+ Maximized Focus
+ Improved Health

WANT TO SET YOUR GOALS AND DAILY HABITS FOR THE LAST TIME?

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12 Comments

  1. Eric One

    These little things you can do to be more present are always awesome. I know I feel more connected to my moment and things seem to fall in place no matter how quickly they come at me. The most easily dismissed, yet of the highest impact advice I’ve ever received was “Don’t forget to breathe!”

    Reply
  2. Joey Whatley

    I love grounding exercises. I never knew how disconnected I had become until I tried to do something without thinking about anything else. It was next to impossible three years ago.

    Reply
  3. Anna Marie Smith

    Love this! That little girl skiing was so adorable.

    Reply
  4. Peter F

    To echo Eric if you take one thing away from this is the importance of breathing deeply.

    Reply
  5. Patrick McWilliams

    It might seem silly but it works. They taught us this in my first year of college. Breathe from the belly and fill those lungs up.

    Reply
  6. Denver Dietz

    Wow! That’s all I can say is wow. First experience here in QNCR and that was amazing. Just in general, I can see an exercise like this getting me pumped first thing in the morning at 4am before my first trip to the gym. Invigorating to say the least.

    Reply
    • JD At Conquer Today

      Denver, are you getting the emails from support responding to your access requests? Go to File > Make A Copy in Google Drive, not Request Access.

      Reply
  7. James Keogh

    I saw the Amy Cuddy TED talks about a year ago and thought it was very relevant to taking control and dictating to yourself how things will be. I loved this article and thought it was very practical and easy to do when entering a stressful situation. I also never thought about having my own personal creed. I will start the compass campaign next. I wish I had found this site sooner.

    Reply
  8. Samuel.krain

    Interestingly, the grounding is very similar to some karate stances.

    Reply
    • JD At Conquer Today

      I’d believe that for sure. How long have you been studying karate, that’s pretty cool!

      Reply
      • Samuel.krain

        I’ve been doing karate (fairly casually) for about 5 years now. I find it interesting how so many seemingly unrelated subjects link in together.

        Reply

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