The Winning Cocktail for Strength
In Physical Intelligence terms, Strength refers to inner strength, confidence, resolve, appropriate risk taking, standing our ground and acting and speaking wisely and decisively without threatening others or feeling threatened.
As human animals we have a natural negative bias. We have made it to the top of the food chain by anticipating and fighting off threats. As human beings with a highly developed pre-frontal lobe of the brain, we apply positive bias to a given situation with some success only if we understand what is happening. Unfortunately, our business and home environments can change rapidly, leading to uncertainty. When that happens, our Physical Intelligence is crucial to resetting a positive mind-set. Developing our Physical Intelligence puts us firmly in the driver's seat of our own performance.
Strength is the ability to fundamentally manage our threat response. This means managing cortisol and testosterone levels and developing behaviour that builds confidence and risk tolerance in ourselves and others. Until recently it was thought that high testosterone alone gave us competitive confidence. Research now shows that when cortisol is high, higher testosterone may actually decrease dominance and in turn motivate lower status, which means keeping cortisol levels low is vital to our performance.
Here are a few of the many Physical Intelligence techniques that will help you build your strength through the effective use of posture, breath and physical movement:
Perfect your posture. It impacts how we and those around us feel and perceive us. With good posture we feel empowered, stronger, and more present and at ease. Open, expansive posture projects confidence and leadership ability.
To reduce nerves and increase confidence, stand in a winner (starfish) pose for 2 minutes before key events (balancing cortisol and adrenalin).
Paced breathing helps us manage our response to demanding situations. Use it daily to release acetylcholine (recovery chemical that counteracts adrenaline): breathe diaphragmatically, smoothly and regularly, measure the length of each breath in and explore the counts comfortable for you (numbers don’t need to be even) – for at least 10 minutes a day.
Holding Your Ground and Managing Change
Being centred, puts everything in perspective; we feel confidence and inner strength. To ‘ground’ yourself, feel the weight of the body on the ground/in the chair – rooted rather than ‘uptight’. Continue paced breathing, release tension throughout the body; place your centre of mass where you need it (move your body forwards sideways and backwards to find the optimal point); breathe down to below the navel (to your centre of gravity), and focus. Repeat three times: Balance, Breathe, Focus