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12 Easy Actions You Can Take Today to Boost Your Confidence

12 Easy Actions You Can Take Today to Boost Your Confidence

Small actions built up over time become large results.

Every one of us want to boost our confidence, but few of us know where to start. The key is to start small. So here are 15 small actions you can take to boost your confidence today.

1. List 3 things you’re grateful for

Most of our unhappiness sprouts from anger, fear, and disappointment. If we can shift our focus for a moment to the things we’re grateful for in our lives, these feelings start to fade away.

How to get started: Think of 3 things you’re grateful for in your life today and if you want to continue this practice, purchase a gratitude journal like the Five-minute journal.

“The antidote to fear is gratitude. The antidote to anger is gratitude. You can’t feel fear or anger while feeling gratitude at the same time.” -Tony Robbins

2. Public speaking

When Warren Buffett was asked what skillset is the most important one to focus on for graduates, he confidently said public speaking.

How to get started: Check out your local Toastmasters, where you’ll find a supportive group of people offering constructive feedback to help you learn faster.

3. Speak a foreign language: Learning a new language has shown to enhance your mental focus, advance your career, and even improve your native language.

How to get started: The key to learning how to speak a new language is the way we learned our first language: speaking with native speakers. Check out websites like Rype, which connects you with handpicked professional language teachers for up to unlimited 1-on-1 lessons.

4. Build your network

Your network is your net worth. Not to say that your network is the end all for boosting your confidence, but having people around you that will be there to support your goals is reassuring.

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How to get started: Visit websites like Eventbrite and Meetup, and find local events in your industry.

5. Learn how to cook a new dish: Want to improve your friends or date this weekend? Try picking up your cooking skills.

How to get started: Go to Youtube or niche websites like Epicurious to get inspiration for new dishes you can cook.

6. Travel somewhere new

Discovering new cultures and visiting countries you’ve never been to may seem scary at first, but will do wonders for your confidence after traveling.

How to get started: Not everyone may have the freedom to travel when they want, due to time constraints, financial reasons, etc. But there are creative ways to travel cheaply by following travel hacks laid out by others.

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7. Meditation

Regular meditation has proven to increase your happiness, reduce your anxiety, and improve your relationships.

How to get started: Leverage free applications like Headspace or Calm, which provides guided meditation on-demand.

8. Speed reading

Knowledge is power. One of the best ways to improve your knowledge is by reading. Unfortunately, we all have 24 hours in a day. By learning how to speed read, we can go through more articles, books, and papers to enhance our knowledge.

How to get started: You can either learn the techniques of speed reading, or you can use technological tools like Spritz.

9. Volunteer

One of the best ways to boost your confidence is by doing good for others, specifically for those that truly need it. Whether it’s serving food for the homeless, or teaching children how to read, it’ll be one of the best times you’ve spent this week.

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How to get started: Wherever you live, you can find non-profit organizations that are constantly seeking volunteers to bring into staff. A simple google search can answer your question.

10. Say “No” more often

Saying “Yes” to external demands like coffee meetings or favors from friends can drain you after a certain limit. By saying “no” more often, you can carve more time out for yourself, and do more to improve yourself, like learning new things, etc.

How to get started: There’s really no easy way to do this or a tool that can help you. It just comes down to being bold, and saying “no” more often without trying to offend those that want your help or time.

11. Make your bed

 It sounds simple, but there’s studies that show that making your bed can boost your happiness. According to Psychology Today, 71 percent of bed makers consider themselves happy; while 62 percent of non-bed-makers admit to being unhappy.

12. Pick 1 small goal for today, and achieve it

The biggest mistake most of us make is to try to tackle a large goal without breaking it down into tiny steps. If your goal is to learn a new language, pick a small goal like deciding how you’re going to learn or even what language you should learn.

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More by this author

Sean Kim

Sean is the founder and CEO of Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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