These days, it can seem like stress is taking over our lives. But what if we told you that you have the power to control it?
Yes, we’re on tighter deadlines at work, we’re doing more in our downtime, and disconnecting from technology to recharge can seem like an impossible proposition.
BUT there are legit science approved things you can do to reduce anxiety and increase your confidence and happiness.
And the best part is, they actually work.
Yep, standing like Wonder Woman might make you feel like an idiot, but its effects on your body on a chemical level are incredible.
Studies conducted by Harvard University found that “power posing” – that is any pose which increases the space you take up around you, for example: standing with your legs spread, chest out and hands on your hips – for even just two minutes can increase your levels of testosterone, which affects your confidence, and decrease your levels of cortisol, which causes stress.
Experts recommend “power posing” before important meetings, big presentations, or in any situation where you feel anxious or would like to feel more powerful.
It doesn't have to be a full-on Wonder Woman pose either (although that's most effective). If you find yourself lacking confidence when you're sitting down, you can still throw your shoulders back and tilt your chin up to reap the benefits of power posing.
Change your circadian rhythm.
No, it's not just you. Most people report waking up feeling tired and groggy, even on the rare occasions when they manage to scrape "enough" sleep.
One way to combat the awful half-asleep feeling in the morning is to align your sleep patterns more closely with the sun. It might seem counterintuitive to leave the blinds open when you're looking to feel better rested, but experts say it's key to finally achieving that elusive "morning person" status.
You can also help your body adjust to a better circadian rhythm by exposing yourself to more sunlight during the day and keeping your home darker at night (try lighting candles or only using lamps instead of bright overhead lights).
As we all already know, using your phone before bed is a big no-no, since the bright light on your phone's screen can make it harder to fall asleep. But since that's near impossible for most of us mortal, you can try turning your screen brightness right down.
For those who stare at a screen all day, there's an app called F.lux that will adjust the colour and brightness of your screen to the correct level throughout the day.
The message you want to send to your body is a clear one: daytime is for being awake and nighttime is for sleeping.
Use the power of music.
If you've ever felt like you could work out harder and longer at the gym because a great song was playing, you're not imagining it.
Music actually does have the power to make you stronger.
This happens in part because your brain is distracted (and counting reps is really, really boring), and in part because everything is easier when it's done in time to music.
Scientists have found that synchronicity (matching your movements to music) allows you to spend less energy thinking about how and when you're going to do the movement, and more energy actually doing it.
Personalise your space.
A feeling of anonymity at work can lead to increased anxiety and mental health problems. Luckily, there's a quick fix: jazz up your impersonal workspace with personal photos and trinkets to make it feel like yours.
Particularly if you work for a big corporation, it's easy for things to feel impersonal and removed.
Something as simple as a snap of your family or favourite pet can make all the difference to your mental wellbeing - and, as we all know, happy employees do better work. It's a win-win.
It sounds so simple because it is.
Laughter releases a chemical called dopamine, which makes you feel happier. If you laugh, even for a few seconds, you'll feel better - and, as a bonus, your memory is also said to improve.
If you're feeling overwhelmed, the best quick fix is a good belly laugh. Ring a friend who's always got a funny story, read one of your favourite humorous blogs, or revisit a funny video.
Let's face it, there's a whole internet full of cats out there. You really have no excuse.
Looking for a laugh? Look no further than these hilarious uses for lemons.
Trick yourself into forming good habits.
If it sounds like a cliche, it's only because it's true: the more you do something, the easier it becomes.
This is great when you're creating positive habits for yourself, like getting up early to exercise or taking time out to cook yourself a meal, but not so great when you're allowing yourself to fall into negative ones.
While crashing on the couch every single night is probably all you feel like doing, remind yourself that each time you do it, you're more likely to do it the next night.
Apply the same psychology to things you wish you did more - it might be getting out of the house to socialise, taking time out away from distractions to meditate or just reading a good book.
If you make yourself do it for a few weeks, it will soon become something you don't even think about. Just a bit of casual brain trickery.