You are afraid. Vulnerable. What if you fail? What if they don’t like you? You wish you could summon the strength to ask for that raise you deserve, but the idea makes you cringe. You need a self-confidence boost.Confidence is one quality all of us strive for. But it is also one of the hardest qualities to attain. Click To Tweet
Am I alone in being plagued by self-doubt? Is my writing good enough? What if I made a spelling mistake? Will they like it?
Thoughts like this are with me incessantly.
Self-doubt plagues most of us. Whether it concerns the content on our website, our appearance, intelligence, or our likeability. But how do you build self-confidence when you feel fat/inexperienced/lacking credentials/whatever else your critical self-tells you?
I have lost count at the number of times that I have been told, “just be confident.” As if feeling confident is as simple as telling yourself to do so.
From my own experiences, there are all too frequent situations when you need an instant confidence boost.
And it is being able to live with failure and learn from it that helps you build self-confidence.
This is different to a permanent cure for confidence issues. That requires changing the thinking patterns and the belief systems that feed our insecurities. You can’t achieve a permanent cure in an instant. It takes time and persistent action.
Like we need a band-aid over a cut, to give a positive and temporary effect, we sometimes need an instant confidence boost. Here are strategies that you can use to get that instant boost.
Search the topic of instant confidence you will find dozens of tips and tricks. But the question becomes: which ones work and are worth trying?
I have used every one of the nine I present here. Many I have tested on myself, some I have seen at work in my mentoring activity. I believe these to be the most efficient strategies for instant confidence.
Confidence by better posture
When you were little, you were probably nagged by your parents and teachers to sit straight and stop slouching.
Does anyone do that for you now?
As an adult, it would be annoying to be constantly told off for having bad posture. But, it turns out that it might make you believe in your capabilities a lot more.
A recent study looked at the consequence of posture when test subjects wrote down how qualified they were for a job. It found that people who sat up straight believed in their abilities far more than those individuals who did the same activity, but who slumped over their desks.
If you’re reading this now, time to sit or stand up straight, keep your head up, and make eye contact and improve your posture to boost your confidence. By practising good posture, you’ll automatically feel more confident.
Standing up straight and tall, with your back straight and your legs spread out slightly further apart than hip width, is a way of asserting your proposed self-confidence. In fact, your body will recognise the superhero stance and send feedback to your brain to feel more confident.
Crack a smile
Letting people see your pearly whites make you appear both confident and composed. But the effect isn’t just external.
Science suggests that smiling reduces feelings of stress, which may pave the way for happier and more relaxed feelings.
Remember positive experiences
It can be difficult to remember all of the good experiences in our lives, especially when things are tough. It can be beneficial to have a list of the good things in your life so you can remind yourself of the positives.
When you fill your thinking with positive thoughts, you generate and amplify positive emotions. And at the same time, you combat negative ones.
Recall an experience in which you felt strong positive emotions, especially emotions like confidence. Close your eyes and visualise it as clearly as you can. Include every little detail, every sight, sound, feeling and smell as if it were happening again.
The better you visualise these positive experiences, the more you will improve your mood, your confidence for the moment.
Confidence by dressing well
Although clothes don’t make the person, they certainly affect the way they feel about themselves. No one is more conscious of your physical appearance than you are. When you don’t look good, it changes the way you carry yourself and interact with other people.
Use this to your advantage by taking care of your appearance. In most cases, significant improvements can be made by bathing and shaving frequently, wearing clean clothes, and being aware of the latest styles.
This doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot on clothes. One great rule to follow is “spend twice as much, buy half as much”. Rather than the purchase of a bunch of cheap clothes, buy half as many select, high-quality items. In the long run, this decreases spending because expensive clothes wear out less easily and stay in style longer than cheap clothes.Dressing well can change how you perceive yourself, what you focus on and as a consequence how you feel. Click To Tweet
Acknowledge your accomplishments
In a similar fashion to remembering positive experiences, what you pay attention to affects your mood. By focusing on what’s working in your life, you recognise your accomplishments.
This sets the stage for continued success. It also allows you to see what you did to create these accomplishments and you develop your achievement playbook.
We all have the tendency to focus too much on ourselves and not enough on the needs of other people. When you stop focusing on yourself and concentrate on the contribution you’re making to the rest of the world, you tend not to worry much about your flaws.
Many people downplay their successes and focus on those things they struggle with. This is a big mistake. Continually remind yourself of your past accomplishments. It does not matter how small they may be.
Do not downplay the positive parts of your life. When you remember past successes, you continue to develop your achievement playbook. The bigger and better your achievement playbook the more quickly you create future successes.
After the end of each day and week, take a few moments to sit and reflect on what went well, and what you did to make your day and week successful and fun
Be prepared to be surprised by how much your confidence peaks as time goes by.
Confidence by breathing
Your physiology changes when you feel insecure. This insecurity causes your breathing to become faster and shallower.
Your emotions impact your physiology, but it can also work the other way. Here is a calming breathing technique for stress, anxiety and panic that only takes minutes and you can do anywhere.
Your body position doesn’t matter. You can stand up, sit in a chair or lie on a bed or yoga mat on the floor. Loosen any clothes that restrict your breathing and make yourself as comfortable as you can.
With your feet roughly shoulder-width apart:
- Allow your breathing to flow as deep down into your belly as is comfortable, without forcing it.
- Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Breathe in regularly and gently. Some people find it helpful to count, try counting from one to five.
- Then, let your breath flow out gently, without pausing or holding your breath, again repeat counting from one to five, but only if you found this helpful.
- Keep doing this for three to five minutes.
As you do this, you will notice your negative emotions dropping and you will feel more confident. You will get the most benefit if you do it regularly, as part of a daily routine.
Confidence by focusing on action
That feeling of insecurity causes your thoughts to go into a negative cycle. You start thinking negative, dramatic things. This, in turn, triggers more negative and more dramatic thoughts and so on.
We become so caught up in this internal dialogue that we lose touch with our goals. We make excuses, rationalise, tolerate, accept. And we put off.
One way to get out of this cycle in a moment is to stop focusing on your thinking and instead take action.
In other words, you’re getting out of your head by doing something, and thus, you make the insecurity go down instead of rising. So if you want results, you have to take action. To gain confidence and get things done, take action.
Try these steps:
- Identify the cause: Define what is making you feel uncomfortable.
- Acknowledge that it is uncomfortable.
- Choose not to let fear keep you from enjoying the success you deserve.
- Take action: Pick one small positive step that you can take right now. And then do it!
When you take action, you don’t have time to make excuses, second-guess yourself or think about the “what if’s”,. And the more you take action, the less scary it becomes.
Feelings of stress are often reflected by increased muscular tension, especially in the hands, shoulders and face. By deliberately and intentionally relaxing muscles, it is possible to halt and reverse this process of growing tension and stress.
There is a straightforward and effective technique for doing so. You focus on your internal dialogue and when you not that it becomes full of negative thoughts you say with conviction: “Stop!” Either out loud, or if it’s not convenient, in your internal dialogue.
You can have a shot a doing it yourself by following these steps:
- Say “Stop!” when you experience a recurring negative or stressful thought, either aloud or to yourself.
- Negate the thought by exchanging the negative thought for a positive one. Replace “I cannot…” or “I will not…” with “I can…” or “I will…”
- Take a deep breath to let go of the tension and help you relax. Say the peaceful thought out loud or in your mind repeatedly until the negative thought disappears.
- Repeat this technique every time you notice the recurring thought.
This STOP self-command interrupts the negative internal dialogue. This prevents it from spinning out of control and helps you boost your confidence.
Confidence by working out
It’s not about hitting the gym for a few hours. It is along the same lines as dressing well. Physical fitness and exercise have a huge effect on self-confidence.
It’s about using a couple of minutes to do some simple exercising, like stretching or walking briskly.
Exercise helps release tension in the muscles and boosts your endorphin levels. Endorphins are your body’s natural drug for improving your mood, including your confidence.
If you’re out of shape, you’ll feel insecure, unattractive, and less energetic. By working out, you improve your physical appearance, energise yourself, and do something positive. Having the discipline to work out not only makes you feel better, but it also creates positive momentum that you can build on the rest of the day.
Think of your qualities
A lot of times, lack of confidence is a result of losing sight of our qualities. Identifying our good qualities can be challenging when we believe we are not worth much.
We tend to exaggerate our flaws and because of this, we think we are going to do badly.
When you feel like this, your negative thoughts distort your perception of yourself.
And you overlook all the positives. However, they’re not the truth even though you might believe it. No matter who you are, you are not worthless, and you do have good qualities.
When you feel this negative spiral, consciously remember your good qualities, especially those which are relevant in the context.
For example, you are making a presentation to the entire company. Reminding yourself how well organised you are in your speaking will boost your confidence.
These simple strategies work well, but they are merely temporary patches. If you find yourself needing regularly, it may be a sign you’re not addressing your confidence issues at their roots. For your well-being addressing the roots is an important thing.
Let me know what strategies you use to give yourself a confidence boost. Share them in the comments section.