Do you want to cultivate greater self-trust?

If so, I invite you to experiment:

Inhale through your nose for a count of four, hold for a count of seven, and exhale for a count of eight.

Do this a few times, and notice how you feel.

The 4-7-8 breath—popularized by Dr. Andrew Weil—relaxes your nervous system and improves impulse control, optimism, and performance.

Breath is one small example of how our bodies continuously send messages to our brains about how to feel and act.

Another example is posture. Throughout the day, our bodies habitually return to certain shapes—tight, relaxed, hunched, straight, leaning back, leaning forward.

Most of us might think that our perspectives inform the shapes of bodies. But research repeatedly demonstrates that just as often, our bodies’ shapes inform how we see the world and how the world sees us.

As Professor William James—who oversaw Harvard’s first doctorate in psychology in the late 1800s—said: “I don’t sing because I’m happy. I’m happy because I sing.

For example, if you hunch your shoulders and hang your head, your view becomes limited.

You’re not able to breathe as deeply. You might feel physical discomfort, have a hard time thinking creatively, or feel down about yourself.

Other people might treat you with less respect, further compounding your negative feelings.

On the other hand, when you stand upright with your gut, heart, and head aligned with one another, it becomes easier to take a stand for what matters, face challenges head-on, and take yourself seriously.

If you want others to trust you—or trust yourself more—your body matters.

When someone’s posture, facial expressions, or tone of voice don’t match their words, they’re harder to trust. (Imagine that you ask someone how they are, and they tell you they’re great, but their body says otherwise.)

When your body matches your feelings, thoughts, words, and actions, you embody a sense of alignment and coherence, as if all parts of you unite to form a whole.

When you are coherent, you become trustworthy.

From now on, I invite you to bring awareness to your breath, your posture, your body. Ask yourself—Does my body reflect my intentions?

If not, make a small shift. Each time you bring your body into alignment, you lay down new neural pathways that support you to become the person you’re called to be now.

With enough practice over time, alignment becomes effortless.

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