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11 Easy Ways To Boost Your Confidence

11 Easy Ways To Boost Your Confidence
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Are you overwhelmed by negative thoughts and past failures? If you are, then it is difficult to feel confident. My father’s advice always was, “Look on the bright side.” I did not realize that was such good advice until about 30 years later! Here are 11 easy ways to boost your confidence if you are feeling glum and pessimistic.

1. Focus on positive thoughts.

Looking on the bright side means focusing on the positive aspects of your life. Focus on your good health, achievements, talents, and experience. Research has shown that when elderly Canadians were convinced that their health was poor, they were much more likely to end up in hospital than those who were convinced their health was excellent. Time to dismiss all those negative thoughts!

2. Use the power of mantras.

Thoughts need to be verbalized and this is how the power of mantras, repeated to yourself, can work. Perhaps you are dogged by critical comments, desolate because of insults or crippled by setbacks? How on earth can you boost your confidence with all that going on? Many experts believe that when we repeat mantras, we can boost confidence. Try a few of these for yourself:

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  • “What others say is a reflection of them, not me.”
  • “The only approval I need is my own.”
  • “I am good enough.”
  • “I look great.”
  • “I can succeed in this.”

3. Sit up straight.

There are now posture corrector apps which can be attached to your lower back to remind you to sit up straight with head lifted and shoulders back. The experts tell us that when we slouch, this affects our whole outlook on life. One study showed that those who sat upright were much more optimistic about their prospects in careers and their relationships. Those who were slouching were way down the list as regards confidence. Stop slouching!

4. Learn from setbacks.

Maybe you think that there are far too many setbacks and this has ruined your confidence in getting that dream job or getting a great figure. You may be thinking that your weight loss program is useless because you will never achieve your goal. The secret here is think of a setback or failure as feedback. It is telling you what to adjust and how to continue on the road, using a slightly different approach.

“Life’s problems reveal who we really are”- Unknown

5. Think of expectations rather than fantasies.

If you fantasize too much and visualize lots of success, happiness and wealth, there may be a shock coming. Research now suggests that positive expectations are a much safer route to take to boost your confidence. After all, dreaming is part of a fantasy. Expectations are based on past experiences. Studies show that people with realistic expectations were doing better at getting the dream job or finding a partner.

6. Choose 5 things you can easily do.

Maybe you are a great jogger or cook? Perhaps you are kind and compassionate? Whatever it is, choose 5 of these things that you are really good at and always make you feel great afterwards. This is a great confidence booster and an even better one is to tick them off your list at the end of the day.

7. Seek out positive leisure time.

This is where you have to make an effort to avoid toxic company and also exposure to bad news. We are surrounded by disasters and every time we log on, there is news about some catastrophe, There is very rarely good news. This can drag us down into doom and gloom. The solution to boost confidence is to dedicate more time to physical activity, watching funny videos and above all, enjoying the company of positive friends and colleagues.

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8. List your achievements.

You need to constantly remind yourself of what you achieved in your life so far. This often gets overshadowed by problems and worries. These can cloud your vision and make your goal seem impossible. A good idea is to keep a list of your successes near your computer to remind yourself. There is nothing wrong with self-promotion. This is a great confidence booster. The great thing about being self-confident is that you can inspire others to be like that too. Spread the good news!

9. Count your blessings.

My father also said this! Look at what you have now. You are in a comfortable space, you have enough food to eat, and you can even read my article! Did you know that happiness is made up of 90% of how you actually view your life? The other miserable 10% make up the actual circumstances. Too often, when you are not self-confident, you tend to concentrate on this tiny percentage.

Every single day, make sure you list all the things you have to be grateful for. Your list will probably be quite long. That will make you feel happier straightaway and also boost your confidence

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10. Keep taking risks.

Imagine that you have had negative feedback or that you have screwed up at work. These things happen all the time and your confidence takes a battering. The worst possible thing you can do is to crawl back into your shell and decide to keep a low profile. Head down and work away without taking any risks. This is not a good way to recover. We need to keep taking risks and keep moving forward to achieve success. That is the best recipe to get back your confidence. Retirement is not an option yet!

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

11. Forget perfectionism.

We all strive to be the best, the nicest, the most successful. The list goes on and on. But recognizing that perfectionism is simply not achievable can be a great recipe to boost confidence. Nothing wrong with excellence but perfectionism will ensure we spend too much time comparing ourselves to others all the time. That is not healthy at all and can ruin our confidence as we observe their successes. The best way forward to self-confidence is to stop beating ourselves up for our mistakes and our faults.

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“A great figure or physique is nice, but it’s self-confidence that makes someone really sexy.” – Vivica A.Fox.

Featured photo credit: Rainy Day Inspiration :: You Must Believe In Yourself!/Jennifer via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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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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