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12 Unexpected Ways To Boost Self-Confidence You Should Try

12 Unexpected Ways To Boost Self-Confidence You Should Try

In order to boost self-confidence, you need to own your self-confidence. Do you depend too much on others’ opinions of you? Are you crushed by an inconsiderate statement from a co-worker? Scrap that way of thinking and know everything is on you. Only YOU have the power to be confident, and to help your confidence grow. Once you own it, try out these simple, unexpected ways you can boost your self-confidence even higher.

1. Look good.

You know how uncomfortable you feel when you wear dress shoes that are too stiff to move your toes, or a high-necked shirt, or anything else that doesn’t make you feel like your true self? It’s hard to be confident when you’re uncomfortable! Now imagine how comfortable you feel in your worn-in jeans and favorite t-shirt. Totally different, right? You feel sure of yourself because you feel like yourself. Looking good isn’t just about looking polished and put together – looking good is about feeling good! Make sure you’re wearing clothes that fit you well and look nice on you. Style your hair in a flattering way, brush your teeth until they shine, pluck and groom and do whatever you need to look good, and you’ll feel confident!

2. Smile in the mirror.

It sounds silly, but it helps! Instead of brushing your teeth and then frowning at your reflection, smile! Even if you don’t like what you see, a smile will help turn your attitude around. Even if you start with a fake smile, the action itself will affect you, and before you know it that smile will reach your eyes and turn genuine. Also know smiles make people look more attractive, so this goes hand in hand with looking good! Smiles make you more appealing to others, so if you smile as you walk the halls at work or check out at the grocery store, you’re more likely to feel confident because other people will smile back at you.

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3. Change your body language.

Everyone criticizes tall people who fold themselves into parenthesis, and it’s true – posture and body language say a lot about your confidence level! If you’re tall, stand proud! If you’re short, own every inch! Own your body and stand and walk proudly in it. Also, don’t act meek – not only will others think you’re timid, you’ll start to feel that way yourself! If you shoot your hand up to talk in a meeting, or go out of your way to get attention to speak to someone, you’ll come across as confident, and start to feel that way yourself – even if you’re just acting!

4. Think positive.

How you think influences so much about yourself, your day, your attitude, and your confidence. If you always expect the worst, then you’re more than likely always hunched over with a sad look on your face, defeated before you even begin. If you worry all the time, your fingernails might be bitten to the quick and your lip chewed until it bleeds. Thinking positive means you have faith in yourself, which will not only affect your body language, but changes your brain around. Instead of worrying about a work presentation, you might even be excited for it because you know it’s time for you to show off all you can do!

5. Kill negative thoughts.

This sounds like another way to word “think positive,” but it’s different! Killing negative thoughts means you don’t allow negative thoughts to take over your mind. Sometimes thinking positively seems too hard because you’re already down in the dumps and it seems impossible to climb out. Instead of getting to that point, be proactive and kill negative thoughts as they occur. When you find yourself thinking “This is too hard. I can’t do it. I’m going to go play a game instead,” squash these thoughts as if it were a bug! Replace it with a positive spin like, “This is so hard, but I’m going to do it to prove I can.” Instead of feeling like you have to pull yourself out of the dumps, you’ll feel like you’re conquering negativity and giving yourself an extra push ahead.

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6. Learn to accept failure.

If you got passed over for a promotion at work, don’t get depressed about it. Accept it as a failure and move on. The quicker you can accept and move past failure, the quicker you will be able to improve yourself and reach for bigger and better goals next time. Letting failure cripple you will make you insecure overall, and make it harder for you to boost your confidence later.

7. Improve your emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence (also called “EQ”) is the ability to evaluate and control your emotions, and better understand others’ emotions. Some people think EQ is just as important as IQ, because it’s so important for social interactions and relating to other people. If you can better understand and control your emotions, you’ll feel more confident in daily life because you won’t worry about breaking down when the going gets tough, or flying off the handle if your boss yells at you. It also helps because you’ll feel stronger and you will more easily relate to those around you, which will make you feel confident because people will come to you for advice and a listening ear.

8. Practice proficiency.

The better you are at what you do, the more confident you’ll feel about it. Think of how satisfied you feel when you go to work, do your best, and go home knowing you’ve made a difference that day. You can do this in every aspect of your daily life by practicing what you do, studying, and trying to find new ways to make things easier to do while producing better results.

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9. Avoid perfectionism.

No one is perfect, so don’t pressure yourself to do everything right. This goes along with accepting failure, because you need to know you don’t have to be perfect. It’s ok to send out an email with a typo in it – don’t beat yourself up! Correct yourself, or make sure to double-check next time. If you don’t expect yourself to be perfect all of the time, you’ll feel less pressure, so you’ll be more comfortable in your skin – and more confident in your abilities!

10. Celebrate your achievements.

Don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back when you meet a goal! Even if it’s the easiest item on your to-do list, recognize you have accomplished it and get pleasure from that. Sometimes you might be the only one who acknowledges any success. Don’t depend on praise from your boss, or even family members. If you congratulate yourself for your achievements, then you’ll be giving yourself a confidence boost that will push you to accomplish even more in the future.

11. Do a good deed.

What makes you feel better than doing something nice for someone else? You can volunteer, give your change to a homeless person on the street, pay for the order of the person behind you, or even give an honest compliment. Making someone else feel good is going to make you feel good in return. Once you start doing good deeds, you’ll find they come easily, and improving others’ days so often will definitely make you feel more confident!

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12. Seek your passion.

How happy do you feel when you’re doing what you love? Are you passionate about art, or writing, or interior design? Or even your job? Find what you love to do, and make as much time to do it as you possibly can. Doing something you love and are good at will make you feel confident because you feel proud of yourself and productive with what you’ve done. This will help boost your confidence so you’ll excel in other areas of your life, also!

Featured photo credit: NomadicLass via flickr.com

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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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