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8 Ways to Appear Confident Even When You Don’t Feel It

8 Ways to Appear Confident Even When You Don’t Feel It

You know those moments, the ones where you’re doing something important and maybe even head-over-heels exciting…and on the inside you’re kinda, well, terrified? In those moments most of us would absolutely love to appear confident, even when we don’t feel it. Because the moments that terrify us are usually the ones that have to do with things that are very important to us.

Appearing confident has a lot to do with tricks and tools to help you be confident and build confidence. Here are 8 ways to appear confident even when you don’t feel it

1. Stop imagining what other people are thinking

We call the part of us that’s keen to impress people our social self. It’s the part of you that loves to work with other people, have other people think well of you, and can be used very effectively to collaborate on important things.

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But if your social self gets out of balance, it’ll start to do things like convince you that the most important thing is to think about is what other people are thinking. Wrong! The most important thing when you want to appear confident is to NOT think about what other people are thinking. This doesn’t mean we’re not attuned to their responses; it means we’re in a state of deeper presence that helps us communicate in a way that they’ll respond well to.

2. Don’t listen to your inner lizard

We all have an inner lizard – comprised of almond-shaped nuclei called amygdala in the temporal region of the brain. These little guys are pretty much in charge of fear- and negativity-based thinking. When we’re stressed – which we are to a certain extent when not feeling confident – stress hormones activate the amygdala and our fear- and negativity-based thinking. Try this: imagine your biggest worries come out of the mouth of…a lizard. Did you laugh at how silly that seems? Good. Wouldn’t you love to laugh at those thoughts?

3. Affirm that you can trust yourself

How? Author Daniel Pink says studies show that posing the challenge as a question and then answering “yes” leads to a greater sense of our own abilities than simply telling ourselves we can. I asked myself “Can I trust myself?” and I answered “Yes.” Pink also recommends listing three reasons why, f.e. “I’ve done things like this in the past, I’m dependable, and other people have told me they trust me.”

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4. Look for evidence

Dr. Martha Beck, an Oprah-contributing life coach, says our brain seems to be hard-wired to respond to the number three. If we think of three times we’ve done something, we begin to think of ourselves as someone who does that thing.

5. Don’t compile evidence that people can tell you’re not confident

If you’re like me, then you have a hunch that instead of looking for evidence that proves people are responding well to you, you tend to instead to see evidence of people not responding well to you. And you’re not alone. Many of us first begin to look for proof that our fears are true, instead of looking for evidence that proves they’re not. So don’t do this; look for evidence that people are responding well to you.

6. Know that lack of confidence is just part of the process

Tell me if I’m wrong, but I have a hunch you’ve had other times when you felt nervous about doing something or being under-skilled. And I bet you became more confident over time. The lack of confidence is just part of what happens at the beginning.

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7. Remember this: it’s just a feeling-state

Tomorrow, or even later today, you’ll feel differently. This will pass and you’ll be onto something else. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor talks about how the chemical response of most feeling-states actually only lasts about 90 seconds. After that, the chemicals are flushed through. It’s our thoughts that keep us in a state or response any longer than that. The big takeaway? Let the response be there, feel it move through your body, and then stop thinking about it.

8. See it as a sign that you’re doing something great

Nervousness or lack of confidence often means you’re growing and challenging your own fears. And no matter how small the action may seem, challenging our fears is a great thing.

Most of all, confidence is a practice. Lucky for us, the brain isn’t fused into place; it’s malleable and changeable. New neural pathways can be created, and our reactions can become conscious responses, helping us to live the life we want to live.

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Good luck!

Featured photo credit: Cute Baby Penguin/Memory Catcher via media.lifehack.org

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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