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No matter how well prepared we are, life tests us all the time.
We may need to give a presentation in front of a crowd, reach the final interview in a selection process, or we may need to present our project in front of a group of investors. The point is that no matter how much we prepare, we cannot avoid being ravaged by nerves and anxiety.
It is normal. Our minds are programmed to interpret almost any situation that may determine our future as a threat. Every time we step out of our comfort zone and face a challenge we are not used to, our body responds by trying to stop.
How we experience this feeling will determine our success. There are people who are able to normalize it, while others block it completely, preventing them from fighting for what they want.
Science has studied for years why certain people succumb to uncertainty and why others persist. If you've ever felt like you lacked confidence or missed an opportunity, here are five keys to help you feel more confident next time.
1. Use a power pose for two minutes
Several research has shown that communication between your mind and your body is not one-way, but rather has two senses. When you feel sad, your body will reflect this by shrugging its shoulders and showing a dejected expression. However, if you adopt the same attitude when you are not sad, you will gradually have more compassion.
It's kind of retrospective logic. Your mind realizes that your body is expressing a certain emotion. In order to be congruent, he begins to enter the same emotional state.
Fortunately, you can use this phenomenon to your advantage. Dr. Amy Cuddy observed that maintaining a confident posture for two minutes, inflating your chest, lifting your chin, and placing your hands on your waist all reduced cortisol levels, stress hormones, and anxiety.
Before your next challenge, find a private place to hold this pose for a few minutes and you will immediately feel more confident.
2. Remember your previous successes
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In an experiment carried out at several universities (Lammers J. et al., 2013), it was found that those candidates who remembered an achievement they were particularly proud of before taking on a challenge (in In this case it was an interview), a better impression were made than those who did not.
The next time you feel suspicious or uncomfortable, think of an achievement that you are especially proud of. They increase your self-confidence.
3. Interpret your fear as excitement
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Why do some people, faced with the same situation, feel full while others feel anxious?
For example, consider skydiving or a public presentation. Surely you know people who can enjoy both situations and even try to provoke them. Where is your secret
The key is that both sensations are caused by the same substance: adrenaline. However, the way we interpret each situation determines the effect adrenaline will have on us. When we expect a happy ending, we become overwhelmed by emotions. When we imagine something bad is about to happen to us, fear invades us.
In an experiment conducted by Harvard University, the authors exposed participants to situations that could cause great anxiety, such as: B. to sing in public or to present in front of an audience. However, the participants who repeated "I'm excited" at the beginning of each test had better results.
Start rephrasing your fear as if it were excitement and you will feel a lot less concerned.
4. Acknowledge your feelings out loud
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If you can't feel more confident despite these first three tips, don't worry. In this case, it is best to recognize your true emotions, as a study has shown that naming your real emotional state aloud can decrease the intensity of the same emotion (Kircanski K. et al., 2012).
If you had to be on stage to give a presentation, you could admit to the audience that you are overwhelmed by the large number of attendees, or admit that you feel nervous in an interview in front of the evaluator. That way, by empathizing with you, you would relieve the pressure of hiding your fear, lessen its intensity, and allow others to forgive you for your mistakes.
5. Treat yourself like a friend
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Have you noticed that we do a lot harder on ourselves than it does on our friends? When we fail, we tend to criticize ourselves sharply while comforting him and trying to downplay him when a friend tells us about a mistake.
This strategy is the central axis of self-compassion, a new form of self-esteem that is revolutionizing the scientific community thanks to its excellent results in reducing anxiety and depression.
Instead of applying pressure when something goes wrong, self-pity is obliged to take it away. If all of these fail and you don't reduce your anxiety or make a mistake, forgive yourself and use support words with yourself the same way you would with a friend. This gives you enough comfort to try again rather than penalizing yourself for your mistakes.
Using these proven strategies, you will find that you can reduce your anxiety better and feel more secure than you think.