The idea of “mind over matter” is well known. Everyone knows that our minds exert control our bodies. This phenomenon has been proven by medical research which has shown that patients “treated” with sugar pills, which they believe to be powerful drugs, actually recover from their illness. The same is also true in endurance sports where failure is often preceded by the mind first giving up.
However, do you know that the reverse is also true? That our physiology can also exert control over how we feel.
An Experiment …
But don’t just take my word for it. Try this simple experiment and discover what I mean …
“Sit down in your chair. Slouch. Drop and hunch your shoulders forward. Next, hang your head down. Take deep but short breaths.” How do you feel? Depressed. Now, do the opposite. How do you feel? Confident, right?
In fact, you will see that it is impossible to feel depressed if you force yourself to stand-up straight, pull your shoulders back and hold your head up high. Our body has the power to override our most powerful thoughts and emotions, even negative ones.
As we continue in our journey to success, having the ability to instantaneously change our feelings at will is an important and useful tool. It will allow us to be at our most resourceful whenever we need to. Feelings of total strength and resourcefulness, the prerequisite for peak performance, are only a posture change away.
Instantaneous State Change
Our bodies and minds need to be congruent. They both therefore actively seek congruency and it is impossible for them to remain in different states. “Forcing” our bodies into a physiology of “confidence and resourcefulness” will cause our minds to seek congruency and automatically follow suit.
Two methods therefore exist for us to change our states. We can do it either internally, through the changing of our thoughts and beliefs, or we can do it externally through the changing of our physiology. Both methods are capable of producing similar long lasting results. However, of the two methods, Instantaneous State Change, or the use of physiology to lead changes in our feelings, is the most useful as it can be done almost instantly and, more importantly, on demand.
How You Do It!
Assume that you are about to give an important presentation to the Board of Directors of your company. You, however, are not well prepared and as such feel extremely nervous and lack the confidence to do it well.
Step 1: Decide your Desired State
The first step is to choose your desired state. In the example above, you decide that you need to be in a state of total confidence.
Step 2: Create your Desired State
In Step Two, think back to a time when you felt total confidence and remember your physiology. Begin to recreate in your mind your posture, your rate and depth of breathing and your tone of voice. Once you have recreated this state of total confidence in your mind, move on to Step Three.
Step 3: Adopt the Physiology
Step Three – Adopt it! Stand and move as if you were totally confident. Physiologically, you will stand-up straight, pull your shoulders back and hold your head up high. Your breathing will slow and become deeper and more deliberate. Your tone of voice will be low. Initially you will find your physiology occasionally slipping back. Continue to consciously remind yourself to maintain this physiology, and in a matter of time, your mind will follow your body and you will begin to feel total confidence. You are now ready for the presentation.
Mastering the ability to create Instantaneous State Change gives us one more valuable skill to aid us in our journey to success. Similar to the various skills described previously in this series, everything we need to succeed is available within us. Remember, knowledge of these skills is merely potential power. Using them is actual power. Walk Tall!