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How to Boost Your Mood in 2 Minutes Flat

HandsFoldedHead_400Did you know that a simple shift in your posture will lower stress and boost your confidence? It’s been scientifically proven. Try the “power poses” shared in MONEY Master the Game to immediately change how you feel for the better.

You can change the way you think by changing the way you move and breathe. Emotion is created by motion. Massive action is the cure to all fear. Think about it, fear is physical. You feel it in your mouth, in your body, in your stomach. So is courage, and you can move from one to another in a matter of milliseconds if you learn to make radical shifts in the way you move, breathe, speak, and use your physical body. I’ve used these insights for almost four decades to turn around some of the world’s greatest peak-performance athletes, financial traders, and business and political leaders. Last year, Harvard University did a scientific study that proved the validity of this approach.

Social psychologist and Harvard professor Amy Cuddy offered a “notech life hack” in her famous 2012 TED Talk when she asked the audience to change their posture for two minutes. Cuddy’s research showed that just assuming “power poses” or postures of high power (think Wonder Woman with her hands on her hips and legs firmly planted on the ground; or the guy in your office leaning back in his chair, hands clasped behind his head, elbows out wide—you know the one) increased testosterone (the dominance hormone) by 20%, while simultaneously reducing cortisol (the major stress hormone) by 25%. The impact of this biochemical change immediately transforms your willingness to face fears and take risks. All within just two minutes of changing your body. In Cuddy’s study, 86 percent of the power posers reported feeling more likely to take chances. But when the second set of volunteers were asked to stand or sit for two minutes in more passive poses, with their legs and arms crossed tightly, their testosterone levels dropped by 10 percent, and the stress hormone rose by 15 percent. Far fewer of these men and women, only 60 percent, behaved assertively. Remember, these weren’t just psychological changes but actual biochemical changes, hormonal changes. What I have taught for 38 years and what all of my students knew was true through experience was now validated by science. What does this mean? It means, basically, you rock. You’ve got some swagger in your step, you’re ready to put yourself on the line, to take the necessary risks and shape your world. Two minutes of posing can lead to the changes that either configure your brain to be assertive, confident, and comfortable, or really stress reactive. Our bodies are able to change our minds!


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