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11 Easy Ways To Boost Your Confidence

11 Easy Ways To Boost Your Confidence
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You want to feel confident, right?

You want to be able to walk around, knowing you’re an awesome person and truly believing it. You see everyone else doing it – strutting about full of themselves – but for you, it just doesn’t seem to come naturally. Whenever you try to act confident, your thoughts seem to end up back on your insecurities. Every moment passing is a moment you’ve spiraled deeper into this idea of insecurity and despair.

Stop.

Everyone gets insecure at times, that’s life. But existing in insecurity? That’s a habit that you learn. A learned thought-pattern. You can do something about it. In fact, here are 11 things you can do to boost your confidence right now.

1. Smile more

Sounds weird, right?

Why would smiling improve your confidence? It’s actually pretty simple. Smiling makes you feel good. It fools your mind into being happier. When you feel good, you’re more likely to think you – as a whole being – are good.

So by elevating your mood, you elevate your confidence. You become less concerned with your flaws, or what you perceive to be flaws. You become less fixated on that self-damaging inner monologue, and more absorbed in appreciating where you currently are. Just have a read of this article to understand how powerful smiling actually is!

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2. Recognise your short-comings

Part of being confident is knowing who you are, what you are, and what you do well. Another part of confidence is knowing what you don’t do so well. Why is it important to know what you don’t do well at? For multiple reasons:

  1. You can improve. Knowing you don’t do well at something gives you the insight to actively do something about it. If you’re unaware that you don’t do something very well, you won’t be able to work on it – it’s as simple as that.
  2. You know what you’re capable of. By knowing this, you can easily avoid situations where your confidence may take a blow by these short-comings because you’re already aware of them!
  3. Knowing where you fall short ultimately shines light on where you excel. We can’t all excel at absolutely everything, but this just helps us to appreciate where we excel even more.
  4. We can hand over what we can’t do well, to those who will do it well.

So while it may sound contradictory to feeling confident, ultimately it opens us up to the reality of being human. It frees you from the need to be a perfectionist. That in itself will sky-rocket your confidence because you also realise that everyone else is going through the exact same thing!

3. Wear your best dress

This point isn’t literal, but of course it can be. It’s just a cute way of saying, “wear what makes you feel good.” We all have a ‘best dress.’ It’s not always a dress, of course, it can be a shirt, a tie, a pair of shoes, or whatever. It doesn’t matter what it is. Just find that object that makes you feel good and wear it. Soak it in, knowing you look good. Feeling good shows; the confidence oozes out of you.

It’s a good one when you need that little extra kick of confidence. Just read this interview with David Sarwer, a contributing researcher for the Center for Human Appearance, for an overview of the science behind looking good making you feel good.

4. Ditch the comparisons

You are you. That’s all that can be expected of you. There’s really no point in comparing the unique person that is yourself to someone else. Just remember:

  • You have not walked the same path as the person you are comparing yourself to.
  • You have not had the same opportunities as the person you are comparing yourself to.
  • You do not possess the same set of tools as the person you are comparing yourself to.

There will be places that you excel, where others will fall short. There will be places that you fall short, where others will excel. This is life. Let it go, and simply be the best you that you can be. What everyone else is doing really isn’t a standard to hold yourself to.

5. Let go of other people’s expectations

A lot of insecurity stems from holding yourself to a standard that someone else made up. Just like the above point, no one has walked in your shoes and you have not walked in theirs. What other people expect of you is irrelevant. It should never be how you define your worth. You know what you’re going through, you know what you’ve been through, so only you truly can know what it is you are capable of.

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Free yourself from other people’s expectations. You be the decider of your worth. You be the decider of the expectations. When you can reclaim this power, you’ll realise that a lot of this unease in yourself has been because you’ve been trying to prove yourself to someone who can never truly understand you.

6. List 10 things that you like about yourself

Go ahead, do it. 10 things that you like about yourself. No matter how silly or insignificant they may seem.

Done it? Great. See how easy it is to break away from putting yourself down?

Continue to build yourself up. Make it a daily habit to list the things you like about yourself. Watch as your confidence soars.

7. Be prepared

When you are prepared, you’re going to be more confident with the situation you’re going into. For example, say you were going camping. It would be pretty nerve-wracking to go into it without any gear, any preparation, and no idea of where you’re going, right?

Now say you’ve taken the time to get all your gear together, establish an action plan, and know where you’re heading. You’ll be a lot more confident going into it.

You can relate this to any everyday situation. If you’re going to a party, be prepared by looking good, feeling good and having some conversation topics in mind. If you’re giving a speech, be prepared by knowing your speech. If you’re giving a presentation, practice presenting it. Preparation will lead you to security in the situation. (Confidence!)

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8. Gear the conversation to a topic you know

If you commonly find yourself feeling insecure in social situations, and as though you have nothing to contribute to conversations, there’s a simple trick to fix that: Talk about what you know.

Obviously you don’t need to walk up and just start aimlessly talking about it, just strike up a casual conversation with someone about something they’ve said. Once you’re talking to them about what they said, relate what it is you know to what it is they said. (It’s not as hard as it sounds.)

There are infinite ways to relate topics to each other. Just find the overlap. Practice it on friends first if you don’t feel confident doing it with strangers, every step you take towards practising this will increase your confidence in social situations exponentially.

9. Identify your passions in life

There’s something about passion that brings out the most complex beauty within people. That moment when your eyes are full of awe and wonder, completely captivated by the moment, caught up in an inner sense of purpose and a burning desire.

When you know your passion in life, it gives you a lot more sense of purpose. It gives you direction. It gives you meaning. It gives you security. Ultimately, these all translate into one thing… Confidence.

If you know what you’re passionate about, you’ll always have a reserve of confidence at your disposal.

10. Ask other people for their opinion on you

It’s easy to get trapped in your head, and be convinced all of these flaws that you see are how everyone else sees you. Luckily, it’s pretty simple to remedy this self-damaging thought pattern. Go to someone you’re close with and ask them what they think of you. Listen to all the loving things they have to say about you. Listen as they point out all of your awesome points, that they see, rather than the flaws that you see.

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Once they’ve given you their opinion of you, try to understand it. Try to accept it. Try to realise that very few people, if any at all, are looking at you and seeing these flaws you’ve identified in your head. They’re seeing you when you’re not caught up in all this self-damaging monologue. There’s a beauty to you that you’re often blind to.

11. Be yourself

As simple as it is, and as contradictory as it may sound: being yourself is the ultimate source of confidence. When you are simply yourself, you’ll realise that all the masks you’ve worn were only ever holding you back from being confident.

Owning who you are frees you from comparisons and judgement, because you are what you are – it doesn’t  matter what anyone else thinks.

Ultimately confidence is something you exude when you unlearn the habit of constant insecurity. Deep down, you’re aware you have talents, worth and a unique value to bring to every situation. You just need to peel off the insecurity that you learned and allow that confidence to shine.

If you’ve got anything to add, then please just drop it in the comments below. If you think you know someone that could benefit from this, just share it!

Featured photo credit: Death to the Stock Photo via deathtothestockphoto.com

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Jake Mcspirit

Jake is a passionate writer who share a wide range of life tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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