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9 Easy Ways To Boost Your Confidence

9 Easy Ways To Boost Your Confidence

Finding that extra dose of confidence in times of personal uncertainty is a tricky thing to master. And even when you’re able to find it, it can be even more difficult to maintain. Confidence is, however, one of the strongest personal traits we can posses. It has the remarkable power to help you maintain positivity and happiness in your life at a consistent rate.

Building confidence is a never-ending uphill battle, and cultivating it is a gradual process. But here are 9 easy ways to boost your confidence and help you feel like the worthy person you already are:

1. Don’t obsess over others

I used to believe that happiness and confidence was only for the famous or well-liked, but that’s not the case. Comparing your life to others is dangerous because it normally leaves you feeling worthless in some aspect. They have something you lack or they’re leading a life that you think you want. Keep in mind that everyone is human, and part of being human is dealing with things that aren’t always pleasant. Even LeBron James and Jennifer Lawrence have personal issues that challenge their confidence daily. Instead of focusing on what you lack, focus on your goals, talents, and the things you enjoy doing most. Cultivate your passions instead of trying to change them.

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2. It’s okay to work in silence

For whatever reason, our culture is led to believe that the loud-mouth, showoff, pompous people are the most confident of the bunch. We believe worth goes unnoticed if you’re not socially recognized for something. This, too, is not the case. It’s often the ones with the most humility, who prefer work out of the public limelight, who are the most confident. Someone who shows a true display of strength, depth, and pure self confidence is the one who can continue pursuing a dream without a constant stream of public appraisal.

3. Everyone isn’t out to get you

I promise, it’s not just you who thinks you’re a walking target. You’re not the only one worrying about how others think about or perceive you. We all do it. Sadly, and thankfully in this case, we’re all pretty self-absorbed. Our internal dialogue, when we’re not petrified that others are judging us, usually defaults to the bills we have to pay, the chores we wished our roommate did, or the spaghetti we’re eating for the fifth time this week (…and it’s only Wednesday). Everyone else is fixated on something personal that’s looming, not the haircut you think looks bad or the small stain on your pants.

4. It’s okay to laugh it off

Everyone messes up from time to time. It’s pretty unavoidable unless you annex yourself somewhere deep underground or far into the woods, which would be a fairly anti-social existence. An easy way to boost self confidence is to accept your flaws, foibles, and failings in stride, with the understanding that mistakes build character. Every rejection or face plant is an opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed on the next try. Even if you can’t muster a chuckle when you fall, try at least smiling.

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5. Let go of what you can’t control

Everyone wants to be in charge of their own life. The things that happen, the people they meet, the way things play out, anything and everything in respect to our life we want to control. Sadly, this just isn’t possible. In an effort to avoid a theological debate, no one can control everything that happens to them. What you can always control, no matter what happens externally, is your attitude and reaction. To echo the previous point, take negative happenings and occurrences in stride with the hope of growth and thankfulness for the learning opportunity.

6. Compliment others

Being internally negative often results in outward negative habits like gossip, insults, and passive aggression. An effective way to help change your negative internal dialogue is to consciously change your habits of praising others. Take a stand against focusing on irritating things other people do and look for the best in them instead. Also, honesty and sincerity go a long way with compliments. People can tell when it’s forced or fabricated. If you try to actively bring out the best in others, you will in turn be well very well-liked.

7. Collaborate with others

We’re all consistently too hard on ourselves. When we initially take on a project, or try to do something, we feel alone and solely responsible for the outcome. This, in turn, causes us to focus on the parts of the project we’re deficient in, lowering self confidence further. So, what if you were to gather like-minded people who share specialized skill sets to make something really great? This will allow and encourage you to focus on something you’re really good at. You’ll not only contribute to something you believe in, but your talents will also be recognized and praised by others.

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8. Take yourself out on a date

We’re existing in the most interconnected period in the history of mankind. With the advent of social media networks, it feels like we’re always having six conversations at one time. Even though a slew of likes, comments, and post shares can elevate your self esteem, it can also leave us feeling worthless in times when we’re not getting any social media engagement. Sadly, lots of people, especially millennials, are letting their happiness run parallel with the amount of likes their latest Instagram post received. This is far from healthy. Try taking a step back, leaving your phone in a safe place, and spending some time alone doing one of your favorite activities.

9. Be kind

A simple idea that’s often the hardest to practice. One of the easiest ways to elevate your self worth is to do worthy things for others and yourself. Going the extra mile to help a friend in a pinch or staying an extra hour to bail out a coworker on a huge report will instantly make you feel confident. And, much like the sixth point above, kindness and “good vibes” always seem to find their way back to you. Simply put, if you act in accordance with the Golden Rule, you’ll start to think more highly of yourself.

Confidence is evasive, but you can find it. Utilizing the tips and steps listed above is a great place to start. Confidence isn’t built when the answers are known, but instead when you’re ready to face the questions.

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Featured photo credit: Smiling Girl Wallpaper via wallpaperseries.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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