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20 Confidence-Boosting Tricks You’ll Love

20 Confidence-Boosting Tricks You’ll Love

If you’re self-assured, believe whole-heartedly in your abilities, know your judgements to be sound, and feel prepared for any of life’s challenges, congratulations! You are one flawlessly confident individual.

Odds are, though, you have self-doubt, guilt, or shame in your perceived inadequacies tumbling around your brain. Don’t worry—you’re human. These things happen.

And this list of confidence-boosting tips and tricks will help inspire you to pursue a more complete, more confident you.

1. Try Out Power Poses

Our body language speaks volumes about how we feel about ourselves and our abilities. You’ve likely heard many ways body language influences others—closed arms signals others to stay away, for instance. Taking this research one step further is Harvard Professor Dr. Amy Cuddy whose research into “Power Poses” in the business world applies to many life situations. High-power posing is about “opening up,” taking up as much space as possible, while low-power poses require taking up as little space as possible (fetal position, hands in pockets, etc.).  Her research found that after 2 minutes of high-power posing, testosterone levels increase and cortisol levels—the stress hormone—sharply falls. For a quick boost of testosterone to gear yourself up for many situations where confidence is key, practice some high-power poses.

2. Take Risks

If you don’t give yourself new challenges to tackle or jump on opportunities to grow, you’re liable to get stuck in a self-defeating low confidence rut. Take the initiative to take risks. Even small everyday risks (let me take a new route to work) can have a cumulative effect on your overall level of confidence. You have to be willing to risk failure and systematically ignore the mantra that failure means you are worthless. In truth, failure is a sign of incremental growth. Accept this, and you’ll no longer be self-conscious about admitting failure—you’ll actively seek it out, one risk at a time. That’s some serious confidence!

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3. Exercise

exercise

    By now you’re probably sick of hearing how vital to our mental health exercise is. It’s not a cure-all, but it’s as close as we’re likely to get, especially where confidence is concerned. Our self-image is intimately linked with our sense of self-confidence. Research shows that light exercise of any kind boosts self-image, and boosts it more than in people who rigorously work out 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week. This result holds true for older people, as well. Killer workout routines aren’t the deciding factor, here; the key to a confident body image, and more confidence, in general, lies in frequent, low-intensity workouts.

    4. Dress Well and Groom

    Another surefire way to boost your self-image (ergo self-confidence) is to treat your body like a temple. Exercise is important, as is eating right, but our outermost layers—grooming, clothes, self-presentation—can really make a difference, too. Make a routine out of healthy grooming habits. Brush your teeth, comb your hair. Look your best to feel your best. The goal is to present your best at-a-glance side, and this starts with the simple habit of cleanliness and dressing well.

    5. Be Resilient

    Everyone is familiar with big disappointments or situations that drag their confidence to new lows. One way to swim against the depths of low confidence is to activate your resilience. Resilience is the innate human quality of rebounding from tough, even devastating life events, and being flexible enough to adapt and not let our short-term failures leech our confidence dry. The best ways to be resilient include setting realistic expectations for yourself, rewarding yourself for jobs well done, and being curious and self-compassionate enough to examine your failures without being overly critical. Practice is key; the more resilient you are, the more confident you will be when life throws you a curve ball.

    6. Be Optimistic

    Pessimism—thinking that the worst is always in store—plays the role of the thug in our mental lives. Both pessimism and optimism are both free outlooks to use, but only the latter is linked to self-confidence benefits. Thing is, it’s very hard to think the best of yourself, or even recognize when you accomplish something big, if you keep your nose to the ground instead of to the sky. Being optimistic doesn’t mean you have to be naïve, but adopting a mindset that says “I feel I’m good enough to do this” scrubs your self-perception clean, makes success sweeter, and failure more manageable.

    7. Prepare

    Much of our stress and anxiety comes from feeling or being underprepared. These feelings cling to our sense of self-confidence like vampire bats, sucking our resolve dry. Better to be prepared, then! Preparation and forethought are natural antidotes to the worst thoughts fear, stress, and anxiety can muster. Even better, no matter what your personal style, there are always ways to cut down the time it takes to do necessary things. It may seem like preparation takes too much time—but being prepared actually increases the time you can put toward building your confidence, instead of being stressed you still have so much to do.

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    8. Use Positive Affirmations

    That little voice in your head? The one telling you what a lousy person you are? Guess what? Using positive affirmations gives you the discipline to fire the negative man in your head and get a new mental coach. The things we say to ourselves before, during, and after a goal or event have wide-reaching influence over how we think about ourselves and behave. Practice giving yourself affirmative feedback, even if (and especially if) you fail. Make your affirmations unique to you and take time out of your day to focus on them. They’ll seep into your unconscious with routine use and become automatic sound bites in your life. Follow this link to get some affirmation ideas.

    9. Set and Achieve Small Goals

    Often people setting out on the road to enhance their confidence feel overwhelmed. It seems like too many factors are involved, that there are too many things to consider and spend time and energy managing. Luckily, you can always break down these mental mountains into smaller hills of success. Make a list of short- and long-term confidence goals you want to achieve. Actively think about how success at this or that goal, or failure at other goals, still helps you in the long run. Be sure to set goals that are meaningful, not the ones you feel you have to meet to appease some imaginary audience. Make your goals personal, bite-sized, and realistic—you’ll dedicate yourself to them more and not be so distraught if things shouldn’t work out the first time.

    10. Know Your Values and Live By Them

    Do you know what you stand for? Knowing what your values are, and sharing those values with other people, is an underlying method to use to live with confidence. At any moment you can ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing/thinking in line with what I believe? How I want to behave?” Your values help you plot out what is most important in your life; things not on your value list can be easily deflected from awareness. Though this tip takes quite a bit of introspection, the greater your conviction in what your guiding principles are, the tougher your skin becomes to outside forces and opinions set to squash you under inadequacy. Know who you are, strive to be that person every day, and watch your confidence soar.

    11. Smile

    smile

      The simple smile has a wealth of research to back up its effectiveness as a confidence-boosting tool. People take more notice of you, and think more positively of you, when you smile. And since smiling in groups is “contagious,” each social encounter you enter with a smile increases your odds of feeling positive about yourself and your abilities. You feel emotionally and psychologically better after a good smile. Plus, laughter and smiling have health benefits—upticks of testosterone and lowered blood-pressure to name a few. Even “fake smiles” put us in a better frame of mind. Don’t underestimate the power that smiles have on your own sense of confidence and worth.

      12. Know What You Can/Cannot Control

      Not everything that happens to you is directly under your control. Pretending that external factors are all knowable, or that there is always something you can personally do to turn a situation around, can be self-destructive. Self-blame is a confidence killer, so it’s best to pay attention to and accept situations outside of your direct influence. The less guilt you feel about not reacting in such-and-such a way to a situation that’s indifferent to our actions, the more self-confident you’ll become. Know what’s under your responsibility and what is beyond your grasp. Your self-confidence will thank you later.

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      13. Try Mindfulness Exercises

      mindfulness

        It’s easy to let our insecurities wash over us. We only have so much attention to spend, and if we don’t spend it wisely—worrying about missed opportunities, blaming ourselves for not being “good enough”—we have nothing left to contribute toward positively increasing our confidence. Mindfulness is a hyper-focused mental state wherein you focus solely on the present moment. Practicing mindfulness techniques, even for as little as 10 minutes a day, is a way to safely confront lingering feelings of fear, doubt, or low self-worth. Through mindfulness exercises, you’ll learn how to gently allow these emotions and feelings to enter your awareness, and without judgement let them pass you by. You’ll also learn how not to get bogged down by the negative records that skip in your head, which clears your mental schedule for more important exercises—like building self-confidence!

        14. De-Stress

        A relaxed mind is a mind best armed to defend itself against the demons of thought that strip confidence of its wings. When you’re stressed, your inherent negativity bias is on overload. Things you used to do with confidence and ease suddenly turn into immovable objects. Stressed minds aren’t just pessimistic—they systematically peel back the layers of your self-worth and agency to do what you dream of doing. Regular de-stressing sessions are a must for anyone in need of a confidence boost. Your mind, body, and sense of confidence all work their best on foundations of unstressed belief.

        15. Work on Your Posture

        We’ve talked about Power Poses, but even something as rudimentary as your posture has a rippling effect on your self-confidence. Most people think their thoughts of confidence and worth come from inside their own minds; really, the way we carry ourselves (literally) informs our self-perceptions. When you pay attention to your standing and sitting postures, you tend to believe in your opinions more, whether positive or negative. Slouchers are indifferent about their opinions and beliefs, which is not a conducive attitude toward setting confidence goals. If you want to experience greater confidence in your own thoughts, simply adopt a confident can-do posture to create a mini-feedback loop of positivity.

        16. Find Your Confidence Idol

        We humans are visual creatures. When we watch someone perform in a way that speaks to us, we have the ability to not only learn from their examples, but actually behave like them and see how it feels. You may lack the confidence to follow through to their abilities now, but just as even fake smiles prime our minds for positivity, “faking” a higher form of confidence can seed the idea that, actually, yeah, I can do this! Look over the aspects of your life in which you’d like to be more confident, find a mentor or coach to model, and you’ll instill the small, powerful idea that someday you can do the same thing.

        17. Do What You Enjoy

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        fun

          This advice can seem pat or cliché, but when it comes to confidence, we all do our best and want to succeed at the thing we love most. Pursuing the things that inspire us leads us to meet like-minded people who encourage our development, keeps our minds goal-directed and excited to work, and gives us the exact right amount of success-to-challenge ratio researchers call “flow.” When we find our niches, we have ample opportunities to increase our self-confidence doing, discussing, and sharing the things that drive us wild.

          18. Have a Great Support Network

          Let’s face it: that confidence-building trail can seem long, arduous, and lonely. That’s why the greater your support network, the more likely you are to succeed in your goals. Find people who you feel comfortable sharing your journey of growth with. Ask them to help keep you accountable. Let them join you on some of your confidence-building exercises, and seek outside advice or join groups of people all trying to do the same thing. Connection is key to maintaining any gains in confidence.

          19. Get Creative

          The act of creation—whether writing a story, dancing the tango, playing the clarinet, or making epic meals—is the act of confidence. Despite the widespread stereotype that only “certain people” are creative, research shows that humans use creativity like a Swiss Army Knife. What’s more, gaining confidence in creative endeavours has the potential to spill confidence over into other areas of life. If you haven’t doodled in a while or tried to do a handstand since middle school, remember that achieving even a minor creative act can act as a catalyst, and give you confidence, to try other important things.

          20. Don’t Be Overconfident

          Oh, the irony! While many of these tips advocate “Fake It Till You Make It” behaviours, you should know that there is a cap to this mantra. In your quest to gain true confidence, remember that overconfidence can be your undoing. Overconfidence comes on the scene when we believe we have more accurate information about ourselves, other people, or the ability to do important things or make important decisions, than we really do. At some point—the point of no return—your overconfidence will unravel. You’ll start a negative spiral of shame, guilt, and doubt (justifiably so) that can then infect your mind, deterring you from ever trying to put the time and work into building confidence again. Don’t be an Achilles; use these confidence-boosting tips, as well as this handy infographic, to gain confidence the honest (and long-lasting) way.

          Photo credit: cyclist, smile, mindfulness, vegetables.

          Featured photo credit: www.myalexu.us via myalexu.us

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          Last Updated on January 21, 2020

          5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory

          5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory

          Do you forget stuff every now and then? Are you trying to enhance your memory but not sure how?

          All you need is the right memorization techniques to make the most of your memory.

          The human brain is fascinating. More specifically, the vast interconnections within our mind. Mendel Kaelen compares the human brain to a hill covered in snow,

          “Think of the brain as a hill covered in snow, and thoughts as sleds gliding down that hill. As one sled after another goes down the hill a small number of main trails will appear in the snow. And every time a new sled goes down, it will be drawn into preexisting trails, almost like a magnet. In time it becomes more and more difficulty to glide down the hill on any other path or in a different direction.”

          The intent of Kaelen’s discussion is to think of new ways to temporarily flatten the snow. Kaelen remarked,

          “The deeply worn trails disappear, and suddenly the sled can go in other directions, exploring new landscapes and, literally, creating new pathways.”

          The idea here is to temporarily rewire your brain, or as Michael Pollan remarked in How to Change Your Mind,

          “The power to shake the snow globe, disrupting unhealthy patterns of thought and creating a space of flexibility-entropy-in which more salubrious patterns and narratives have an opportunity to coalesce as the snow slowly settles.”

          So, how can we rewire our brain allowing deeply worn connections to disappear and new connections to form? The answer is quite simple. We must change the way we store information in our mind.

            Let’s examine 5 specific memorization techniques that will change the way you think and remember information.

            1. Build a Memory Palace

              What is it?

              The method of loci[1] (aka memory palace) is a method of memory enhancement using visualizations with the use of spatial memory. It uses familiar information about your environment to quickly recall information. It is a method that was discussed by Cicero in an ancient dialogue called De Oratore.

              How to use it?

              Ron White discusses in How to Memorize Fast and Easily: Build a Memory Palace, that it’s essentially a room or building that you have memorized and you use locations in the room to store data. Ron informs us,

              “You memorize locations in a room and then you later go back to those locations to retrieve the data that you want to remember.”

              Example

              An easy 5-step example, in the form of a Wiki, can be found at Artofmemory.com. Let’s examine the the steps:

              • Step 1. Choose a place that you know well. For example, your house or office.
              • Step 2. Plan the route and pick specific locations in your route. For example, your front door, bathroom kitchen, etc.
              • Step 3. Decide what you want to memorize. For example, geography, list of items, answers for a test, etc.
              • Step 4. Place one or two items, with a mental image, and place them in your memory palace. Exaggerate your images. For example, use nudity or crazy images forcing it to stick in your mind.
              • Step 5. Make the image into a mnemonic.

              You can learn more about this technique here: How to Build a Memory Palace to Remember More of Everything

              2. Mnemonic

                What is it?

                A mnemonic is a memory device that aids in retention and/or retrieval of information. Mnemonic systems are techniques consciously used to improve memory by helping us use information already stored in long-term memory to make memorization easier.[2]

                How to use it?

                Mnemonics make use of retrieval cues to encode information in our brain allowing for efficient storage and retrieval of the information. The trick is to learn how to easily create mnemonics. If you find that you struggle with creating your own, try the following website: Mnemonic Generator.

                Example

                I recently came across a video using mnemonics to memorize countries. Memorizing Countries using Mnemonics is a video created as an introduction to a class for using memory techniques to learn the names of countries on maps.

                I actively search for videos that provide enormous educational value, yet receive very little exposure. At the time of this writing, this video has received less than 4k views. Let’s examine the video.

                Goal: Create a mnemonic to memorize the countries in the Caribbean (just the countries you need to learn).

                Step 1. Looking at a map – write out each country (for which five were chosen).

                Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico.

                Step 2. Write the first letter of each country vertically.

                C

                J

                H

                D

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                P

                Step 3. Create a sentence or phrase.

                Cubs

                Just

                Hate

                Doing

                Push-ups

                Cubs just hate doing push-ups. (Cuba Jamaica Haiti Dominican Republic Puerto Rico)

                3. Mnemonic Peg System

                  What is it?

                  According to Artofmemory.com, a mnemonic peg system is a technique for memorizing lists and it works by memorizing a list of words that are easy to associate with the numbers they represent.[3] These objects are the pegs of the system.

                  How to use it?

                  The trick is to create a Number Rhyme System with each number having a rhyming mnemonic keyword.

                  Example

                  Let’s look at an example of a Number Rhyme System:[4]

                  0 = hero

                  1 = gun

                  2 = shoe

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                  3 = tree

                  4 = door

                  5 = hive

                  6 = sticks

                  7 = heaven

                  8 = gate

                  9 = line

                  Another technique like the Peg system is the Number Shape System.[5] Here you are assigning mnemonic images based on the shape of the number. Watch the following video for an example of this system: Number Shape System for Memorizing Numbers.

                  4. Chunking

                    What is it?

                    Chunking is a way to remember large bits of information by chunking them into smaller pieces of information. We are more likely to then remember the information when we put the small pieces back together to see the entire picture.

                    How to use it?

                    In the video Chunking – A Learning Technique, we can see that there are several ways to chunk information.

                    Example

                    Let’s examine a simple example using a nine-digit number.

                    Step 1. What is the number you are trying to remember?

                    081127882

                    Step 2. Cut the number into smaller pieces through chunking.

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                    081 – 127 – 882

                    Let’s look at one more example from the same video.

                    “Piano teachers will first demonstrate an entire song to students. They will then ask their students to practice one measure at a time. Once the part has been learned and the neural connections in the brain have been built, then students go on to the next measure. After all chunks have been played separately, they are combined until the entire piece is connected.”

                    5. Transfer of Learning

                      What is it?

                      Transfer of learning is a way to learn something in one area and apply it in another. Authors of Thinking at Every Desk, Derek and Laura Cabrera inform us about the transfer of learning,

                      “If a student has a high transfer skills, she can learn one thing and then teach herself 10, 50, or 100 additional things.”

                      How to use it?

                      There are two specific ways to use it:

                      1. Vertical Transfer (aka Far Transfer). Think of learning something in grade school and applying it another grade or later in life.
                      2. Horizontal Transfer (aka Near Transfer). Think of learning a concept in history and applying it in math.

                      Example

                      I provide a detailed step-by-step example for this technique in this article:

                      Learn How to Learn: How to Understand and Connect Difficult Ideas Easily

                      The Bottom Line

                      The key to using the techniques discussed here is to remember that we must actively think about information.

                      We cannot simply drill information into our brain through rote memorization. We must change the way we think about memorization. We must find a way to “shake the snow-globe” in our mind or flatten the snow so that we can create new learning paths.

                      Or as Derek and Laura Cabrera point out, we must insert “Thinking” into the equation,

                      “Information X Thinking = Knowledge”

                      More About Enhancing Memories

                      Featured photo credit: Nong Vang via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] Remember Everything: Memory Palaces and the Method of Loci
                      [2] The Learning Center Exchange: 9 Types of Mnemonics for Better Memory
                      [3] Art of Memory: Mnemonic Peg System
                      [4] Art of Memory: Number Rhyme System
                      [5] Art of Memory: Number Shape System

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