8 Effective Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence
by Tiffany Walking Eagle | 6-minute read
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1. Be aware of your posture and body language.
Do you tend to hunch your shoulders and keep your eyes down? Do you have a habit of making yourself smaller by curling up or crossing your arms? Scientists have discovered that your posture and body language affects not only your body, but your emotions too. For example, holding a pencil between your teeth (forcing a fake "smile") for two minutes has been found to make people feel happy. Standing or sitting upright and taking up space has been linked with increased feelings of self-confidence. In a study done at Ohio State University, "Researchers found that people who were told to sit up straight were more likely to believe thoughts they wrote down while in that posture concerning whether they were qualified for a job. On the other hand, those who were slumped over their desks were less likely to accept these written-down feelings about their own qualifications." (Source: sciencedaily.com)
So whether you're about to give a presentation at work or you just feeling anxious at the grocery store, stand up straight, and fake it (it being confidence) till ya make it.
2. Write out your accomplishments & what you're grateful for.
Low self-esteem and low confidence can trap you in a hellish cycle of feelings of inadequacy. When you're feeling down about your circumstances and current state of being, take the time to write out things your grateful for, your talents, and things you've accomplished in life. This simple act of writing down your victories and talents and reflecting on them can help bring some perspective.
To take this a step further, after writing out what you're thankful for now as well as your past accomplishments, write out a few specific goals to aim for. Solidifying these goals can calm anxiety and boost inspiration by giving you something specific to work toward.
3. Take care of yourself.
It's easy to let self-care habits slide when your self-esteem is low. However, neglecting your physical and emotional health can leave you feeling drained and discouraged, causing your confidence levels to spiral downward even further. Even though it may seem difficult and you may not feel like it, push yourself to do the little things that are good for your body and your soul. Get outside for just 20 minutes and enjoy the fresh air. Take a soak in the tub with your favorite bath bomb. Slather on a face mask. Drink enough water! Even just taking tiny steps toward improving your self-care habits can make a difference in how you feel about yourself. Prove to yourself you value your self by making time to take care of your body and mind.
4. Make preparation a habit.
Full disclosure, I can be a major procrastinator. I tend to leave as much as I can to the very last minute, causing me to have to rush around like an anxiety-ridden headless chicken. Then, I beat myself up over the fact that A. I didn't plan better and B. I could have avoided a ton of stress if I would have just given myself more time. Can you relate?
This unhealthy cycle of pushing things off and beating yourself up about doing just that can put a dent in your self-confidence. Taking small, daily steps to prepare can make a huge difference in your stress levels. Rather than scrambling to dig through your pile of clean laundry in the morning, pick out your outfit the night before. Instead of caving and eating fast food every day and being mad at yourself later, take a couple hours on a Sunday to prepare some healthful meals for the week. Even simply planning out your tasks for the next day before you go to bed can help you feel ready to take on the day. Pro tip: plan a treat for yourself at some point in the day--whether it's a drink with a friend or a date with your favorite book-- to reward yourself for being a productive planner.
5. Stop negative self-talk.
You know that scene in the movie Mean Girls when all the "mean girls" are looking in the mirror taking turns making negative comments about their bodies? Then they turn all turn to Cady, expecting her to chime in with her own self-deprecating comments. This type of expectation that we're supposed to have a negative self-image is extremely problematic! Whether it's about your body, your habits, or your character, negative self-talk can be incredibly damaging to your confidence and self-worth.
Whenever you catch yourself speaking or thinking negatively, acknowledge those thoughts and refute them. Next time you say something like "I always screw everything up," to yourself, really think about it. Do you? No, of course not! You don't always screw up everything you do, but the more you say it to yourself, the more you'll start to believe it. Give yourself a break! Instead, replace those toxic thoughts with more positive thoughts like "I'm not perfect, but I'm not a screw up. I'm a capable, intelligent individual." Wallowing in caustic beliefs about yourself can bog you down and stagnate your progress. Yank yourself out of the mire with a healthy dose of self-awareness and positivity.
6. Get involved with activities that benefit your community.
"Looking for more meaning in your day-to-day existence? Studies show that volunteering enhances an individual’s overall sense of purpose and identity." (mentalfloss.com) Give your confidence a boost and get involved with your community, whether it's serving at the local soup kitchen, volunteering with a nonprofit, or just helping your elderly neighbor with their chores.
7. Take the time to do the things you're good at.
Do you play the guitar? Are you crafty or awesome at baking? Whatever activities you're good at, make time in your schedule for them, since regularly exercising your talents can increase your self-esteem. Actively pursuing your hobbies can be a great way to prove to yourself that you are a talented individual, and the confidence gained from existing talents can start to spill out into other areas of your life.
Make the time for regular exercise, whether you're hitting up the gym, doing yoga in your living room, or walking around your neighborhood. Sedentary lifestyles have been linked not just with physical health problems, but also lowered self-esteem (read more here). Do your body and your mind a favor, and get moving.