Posture First. Confidence and Success Will Follow.

What came first, the chicken or the egg?

You might think that confident people stand up tall… but what if I told you that, “people who stand up tall are more confident”? It’s true. In fact, posture can affect the way you feel and perform in several ways. I’m going to tell you why that’s true, and what you can do about it.

A 2009 article in Science Daily (1) cites several studies, concluding that posture gives people more confidence in their own thoughts. Other research (2) supports that Idea, by proving that cognitive performance is reduced when using bad posture. This might be because Oxygen delivery to your brain is compromised up to 30% by poor posture.

In terms of your physical body, you already know the consequences of poor posture: back pain, increased risk of injury, reduced efficiency/strength/endurance, chronic aches and pains, etc.

So, posture affects how you feel inside and out. It also affects how other people perceive you. Upright posture projects confidence and assertiveness. Rivals respect those with good posture more readily. Women are more attracted to men with strong posture (3).

So what should you do about it?

Posture is an outward manifestation of your internal beliefs and your daily actions. If you’re consistently taking action, you WILL stand up taller.

Prioritize training for posture and core strength FIRST in your workouts. Everything else will follow. Stretch what’s tight, strengthen what’s relatively weak, and aim for a structurally balanced body.

Strengthening the muscles that support upright posture, first, will cause standing/sitting up tall to be your default position. You’ll feel more confident, alert, and assertive. Other people will perceive you as more powerful. Your body will hurt less and be able to achieve higher performance in training over time.

Also try:

  1. Check your posture when you wash your face or brush your teeth. Stand up tall and look your reflection in the eyes, proudly.
  2. Try sitting tall for your whole car ride. Exaggerate it, and remind yourself by holding 10 and 2 on the steering wheel. Challenge yourself to hold posture for longer and longer drives.
  3. Try a standing desk, or sitting on an exercise ball at your work station. Don’t settle for slouching in crappy chairs, if you don.t have to.

Just stand up tall, FIRST.

  1. Ohio State University. “Body Posture Affects Confidence In Your Own Thoughts, Study Finds.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 October 2009.
  3. Tom Jacobs. 2016.

Dopamine Detox for High performance

Dopamine is a “feel good” chemical released in our brains under certain stimuli. In an evolutionary sense, it was meant to reward early humans for behaviors that would aid in their survival. It’s released by all kinds of pleasant activities; from shopping to sex.

When regulated normally, Dopamine is associated with rewards, motivation, and productivity. Today’s world, though, can overstimulate the human brain in myriad ways. That over-stimulation becomes problematic as “hits” of Dopamine become more and more addicting. The resulting addiction cycle leads to all forms of anxiety, sleeplessness, and lack of motivation.

In more extreme cases, that same addiction cycle can also lead us into risky or unhealthy behaviors, as we chase those hits of “feel good”. Promiscuous sex/porn, drugs, and outrageous spending are common vices of Dopamine fiends.

One of the biggest contributors to Dopamine overload is one that you wouldn’t think of, too. Your cell phone (that you’re probably reading this on) is bombarding your brain with potentially addictive Dopamine triggers all day long. Every beep, vibration, and notification is like a little hit of “Dope”. You subconsciously start to look forward to those hits, and miss them when they don’t come.

If you start your day by looking at your phone, please stop. Doing that was one of the most profound changes I made on the road to self improvement. I started a morning routine that involved paper pages in books, rather than the glow of my phone. That allowed me to start my days with more calm and confidence, almost immediately. I made the same adjustment at night; and as a bonus, less exposure to blue light before bedtime is also very beneficial for restful sleep.

With reducing my screen time as step #1, here’s what I did for the rest of my Dopamine detox:

  • I did some serious self reflection to identify my top 3 temptations. What were the 3 things that I was most guilty of indulging in too often? I now only allow myself to do or have these things as a reward for set amounts of productivity. Four hours of work = 15 minutes of a reward. 8 = 30. etc.
  • I cut more sugars and processed foods out of my diet. No one is perfect, but trying harder makes a big difference. Less sugar highs and lows will drastically affect your mood. Try 30 days of strict fasting from sugar, and then ease into healthy moderation.
  • Dopamine is actually a neurohormone, so its proper regulation requires a healthy schedule for sleep and rest.

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