For the most part, I help clients achieve health goals through weight loss—which is inextricably interwoven with self confidence. If you feel good about the way you look, mostly likely, you’ll have healthy self confidence.
Now, even if you are at your ideal weight and feel good about your appearance— most people aren’t confident 100 percent of the time. Even ultra-successful billionaires and world-class athletes are prone to self-doubt. But what differentiates generally confident individuals is actions they take to cultivate confidence. These people use specific techniques and adopt specific behaviors to help put them in their most positive, self-assured state.
Taking a cue from highly productive people, here are 11 effective ways to boost your self confidence.
1. Hold a Power Stance
In her famous TED talk, Harvard professor Amy Cuddy found that standing in a “Power Pose” can physiologically release testosterone that helps you become more courageous. A Power Pose is one that speaks confidence. Cuddy suggests the Wonder Woman pose: Straighten your back with your shoulder high (as opposed to cowering down), place your legs apart and put both hands on your hips. Do this in front of the mirror before a big presentation and you’ll feel your confidence soar instantly.
2. Fake It ‘Til You Make It
Even if you lack self-confidence, exhibit the behavior of someone who does. Act like you’re already there. Margie Warrell, author of Find Your Courage, suggests you channel someone you aspire to be like. Imagine you have the confidence of a political figure, celebrity, executive, or other luminary you admire. Channel their confidence to project your own self-confident attitude.
3. Show Gratitude
Confidence comes from a place of positive emotions. On the flip side, if you’re constantly putting yourself down or focused on the negative, it’s nearly impossible to breed self-assurance. Research suggests that actively practicing gratitude – that is, appreciating what you do have, not what you don’t have – offers extraordinary benefits, like higher positive emotions, optimism, and happiness. Start each day by writing down three to five things you’re thankful for, whether it’s the sunshine or a loved one. Make sure you take a moment to truly absorb it so it sticks with you.
Michael Jordan has said he would imagine himself taking a shot before he actually did. This is the art of visualization. Instead of worrying about what could go wrong (“I’m going to fail this interview,” or “What if my date doesn’t think I’m attractive enough?”), get laser-focused on all the great things that could happen: “I’m going to blow their socks off!” Then, in your head, play the scene of you triumphing over and over again.
Although it sounds like something an unstable TV character would do, repeating affirmations to yourself can help boost your confidence by instilling positive statements into your head. Choose one that actually makes you feel good. It could be as simple as “I am extraordinary” or “I love myself, and so do many other people.” Or you can make one up that’s more personalized to you.
6. Dress up
Ever feel bolder because you’re wearing red lipstick or more powerful because of a dapper black suit? According to a study, your clothes can affect your mood and confidence. Another study suggests that wearing makeup can also provide a temporary increase in confidence. Choose items from your closet that make you feel good. Save your sweatpants for when you’re ready to relax!
7. Celebrate small wins
Too often, we set our sights far, and as we keep reaching toward the horizon, our confidence progressively shrinks. That’s because we don’t feel like we’re achieving our goals. Instead, break down your personal goals into smaller, manageable sub-goals, and celebrate each one. This doesn’t only apply to career objectives. You can do this for your health and social life, too.
Exercise – particularly the aerobic variety – is known to be beneficial for just about everything, including confidence. Not only do you get a rush of “feel good” hormones when you get moving, but you’re also taking care of your body and staying in shape. Considering exercise has even been credited with reducing anxiety and depression, this comes as no surprise. So get your running shoes and get outside!
9. Public speaking
This may seem counterintuitive, since public speaking is nerve-wracking for many people, but practicing in front of other people can slowly but surely make you more confident in your abilities. You’ll come to realize that not only do you have the ability to hold an audience, but that there are people who appreciate what you have to say. Join your local Toastmasters, or form your own group.
10. Surround yourself with positive people
It’s important to be optimistic, but it also helps when people around you are encouraging and verbalize their beliefs in you. When someone you value tells you something positive about yourself, you tend to believe it, and you give more effort in your daily life, boosting confidence. Be honest with yourself, and take a look at who you spend time with. Are they energy vampires or motivating? If you feel like you need more motivating friends, join a group that pertains to your interests on Meetup.com.
11. Make your bed
Adjusting and fluffing your pillows and neatly folding your sheets over your bed in the morning can make you happier, according to a survey. Although it’s such a simple thing, it makes sense, considering your environment can easily affect the way you feel. Think about the last time you were caught in the midst of a chaotic situation (perhaps a group of angry subway passengers during a delayed train ride). You were probably more stressed than, say, lying on the beach full of happy people.
Keys to Confidence
Confidence isn’t something you’re born with – you can train yourself to become it (and if you aren’t, you can at least act like it). This is all good news, since it means confidence is accessible to anyone and everyone who’s willing to get there. That’s you!
For more confidence building tips and diet suggestions, keep reading here:
1. Cuddy, Amy. “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are”. Ted.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
2. “Forbes Welcome”. Forbes.com. N.p., 2015. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
3. “Expanding The Science And Practice Of Gratitude”. Greater Good. N.p., 2017. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
4. “Enclothed Cognition”. Sciencedirect.com. N.p., 2012. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
5. “Enclothed Cognition”. Sciencedirect.com. N.p., 2012. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
6. “Exercise And Psychological Health”. Unm.edu. N.p., 1998. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
7. “How To Be More Confident: 5 Research Backed Methods”. Time.com. N.p., 2014. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
8. Dutton, Judy. “Make Your Bed, Change Your Life?”. N.p., 2012. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.