If your self-esteem is your engine, then your confidence is the transmission that puts it into motion (we just made that up). What we didn’t make up is that confidence goes a long way in personal and business success, so how to you strengthen it if you’re feeling a little unsure of yourself?
While it’s nice to receive compliments and praise once in a while to help you feel good about yourself, sometimes it takes a little bit of an effort from yourself to feel more confident. Here are eight ways to reach that goal…
Stop Worrying About Others Opinions
Opinions are like belly buttons, everyone has one (the original saying was a bit different from this, but we’re editing this for a family-rated website). Anyhow, if someone has said or done something to deflate your ego a bit, then remember that’s just one person, and there are plenty of others out there cheering you on.
The Huffington Post notes in an article that if you ask 30-people for their opinion of you, “you are likely to find you have 30 different reputations.” The important opinion is your own; know that you’re doing your best and you can’t control what a negative Nelly has to say about it.
Focus on Your Strengths
People tend to dwell on things they’re not good at, or aspects of their appearance they’re not happy with. In this haze of negativity, you can forget that you bring a lot to the table – and have talents that some others don’t.
“Make a list of all your assets including skills, experiences, physical and social resources, talents, and anything else that makes you feel good about yourself,” notes the site. The site also reminds you that you’re more than one thing; you’re many things to many people, so remember that you’re dynamic and competent.
Tackle Your Fears
There may be a barrier in your way that seems too high to climb that’s making you doubt yourself. Canadian Living magazine says instead of avoiding that challenge, you should face it head-on. “The anticipation of the attempt might feel like torture, but the sense of accomplishment that will breed from your courageous act will do far more for your confidence than if you avoid it,” notes the source.
This doesn’t mean you have to jump off a cliff to prove your bravery; try tackling smaller things to help you put some check marks in your “win” column and boost your confidence along the way. Even if you don’t do as well as you wanted when it comes time to tackle that challenge (like public speaking, for example), pat yourself on the back knowing it took confidence and bravery to do it, and that you’ll get better with practice.
Treat Yourself Like a Friend
Negative thoughts can creep into our brains and tell us we’re not good enough or confident enough to tackle a particular task, but you can tell that little voice where to go. One way to break this pattern is to ask yourself if you’d talk to a good friend the way you’re (unfairly) talking to yourself, notes LifeHack.org.
Another trick is to distract yourself from negative projections by being in the moment. Observe the room you’re in, take in the smells, be aware of your sense of touch – basically, get into a more meditative state where your mental energy is being redirected away from a dark place.
Change Your Outer Image
While confidence is something we have within, changing your outward appearance can help you along the way, notes RealBuzz.com. “What you look like will always affect your confidence,” notes the site.
That could mean getting a new hairstyle, a new and more colorful wardrobe – if you like the person you’re looking at in the mirror a little more, it could help you more confidently tackle your day. If you get some nice comments from friends or strangers, then that’s just a bonus!
Straighten Your Posture
This may seem a bit weird, but if you’re a very unsure person you’re probably walking with your shoulders rolled forward and your head down, which doesn’t help you feel confident walking down the street (not to mention not doing any favors for your spine and neck).
Greatist.com notes that you can “catch” yourself slumping whether you’re sitting in a chair or standing, and straighten yourself out. Not only will you probably look more confident to others, “According to research, doing so can lead to more confidence in your own thoughts,” offers the site. Open up your chest and keep your head level for best results.
Greatist also suggests picturing yourself succeeding, even if you don’t think you’re in the right frame of mind to perform your best. This could be visualizing scoring a goal during a hockey/soccer game, or pushing yourself a little further in your workout (without overdoing it).
The source suggests setting a very specific goal in your head – “one study suggests that the more detailed your vision of future success, the more confident you’ll feel,” it notes. Picture this great outcome when you go to bed at night, and remind yourself how great it will feel when you’ve actually achieved it.
Speaking of being a sports hero, if you’re not already doing some kind of activity, then you should change that. Exercise is important to remind you of your physical abilities (as well as mental), and the feel-good hormones that are released when you push yourself a bit can be a great, natural way to feel like you can tackle challenges for the rest of the day.
Exercise naturally reduces stress, increases calm, gives mental clarity and can help you sleep more soundly at night (which is important for being in the right mental state). “Exercise that really engages your mind can keep you in the present and prevent you from going negative in your mind,” notes GreatHealthyU.com. It doesn’t have to be sports or a trip to the gym; a brisk walk in nature can do wonders as well, it adds.