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How to Increase Your Self-Confidence

confidence positive psychology Feb 15, 2024
How to Increase Your Self-Confidence

Confidence is, most often, a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we believe we will do well in life, chances are more likely that we will. Even when people with a high level of confidence fail, the secure sense of self that comes hand-in-hand with confidence means that they are much more likely to get back up, brush themselves off, learn from the experience, and move forward. While psychologically, there’s a bit more to building true confidence than a simple ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ approach, there certainly are measures we can take to kickstart a little more conviction in our self-belief. Whether you’re experiencing chronically low levels of confidence or just experiencing a temporary dip, you can take control of the narrative. 

List your achievements

Write down all of the things you have achieved this week or this year, or maybe even map out some key accomplishments from your whole lifetime. That includes the big stuff, the small stuff, and everything in between – from landing a huge pitch and crossing a 10k finish line, to acing today’s crossword puzzle. Remind yourself of what you are capable of when you put your mind to it. 

Go fishing

Speak to friends, colleagues, and family about what they think of you, and be brazen about fishing for compliments. Ask them about their favorite qualities about you. You can even sweeten the water by giving them some pre-emptive praise in return. In doing so, you can realize that you, too, have the power to make a difference to someone else’s self-esteem. 

Add up the love

Make a list of the people who love you, like you, respect you, or simply did something kind for you that one time. This can include people you have lost touch with, or who are no longer with us. Accept this as evidence that you are loved and deserve love for who you are.  

Feel yourself

At times, we can get so concerned with how we look that we forget to be mindful of how we feel. From today, make feeling good a priority. Wear clothes that make you feel good in your skin, eat food that will sustain your energy and that makes you feel comfortable in your body, and trust your gut about what doesn’t feel right about the things you are agreeing to do. 

Move mindfully

Moving in a way that feels good to you is important too. Instead of dragging yourself to that exercise class you hate with the instructor who makes you feel bad about yourself, just because it’s the trendy one that everyone is taking, find one that you enjoy. Maybe it’s a dance class, maybe it’s boxing, or maybe it’s the same class with a different instructor. Perhaps it’s a different gym facility where you feel more in tune with the other clientele, or maybe you’d prefer to join a sports team that would make keeping fit more fun for you. If you’d prefer to just go for a walk outdoors instead, go to a yoga class, or simply sit on the floor listening to how your body wants to stretch on that particular day, then choose that. Tune in to how you feel to honor the incredible vessel you get to call home and turn your movement into an exercise not just of the body, but also in mindfulness. 

Say ‘yes’ to life

An affirmation practice works to override the negative thoughts that get hardwired into our brains. Louise Hay’s philosophy around affirmation made a great impact in the self-help world. Choose one or two simple phrases that affirm who you are and who you want to be, such as ‘I am confident’, and commit to a practice of repeating it (or them) as often as you can. 

Posture like a pro

Our body language can be a powerful tell about our confidence levels, but the reverse is also true: our posture can also impact how we feel. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy, who is well-known for her talk at the TEDGlobal 2012 conference on how “Your body language shapes who you are”, has conducted a lot of research on nonverbal communication. This research explains how the concept of a power pose ー a powerful or expansive posture, such as the “Wonder Woman” or “Superman” pose ー can not only help to shift the power dynamic in a situation, but it can also affect the way we think of ourselves. Shrinking the body with a contracted posture effectively shrinks our mindset, so if you notice yourself in a hunched position, give yourself a shot of confidence by bringing your chest forward and your shoulders back, to open yourself up. Some people use power poses before public speaking – try standing with your legs and arms a little further apart, to make your body as big as you can, for a few minutes at a time.  

Set small goals

Small wins add up to big achievements, so set yourself up for success. Break bigger goals down into small tasks that you know you can achieve, but choose some that each come with their own challenge. This way, you can still feel a sense of accomplishment with each task that you complete on your way to your bigger-picture goal. A popular framework for this type of goal-setting is the ‘SMART’ acronym: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Keep ticking these off and soon enough you’ll realize how far you’ve come – and how confident you can be in your capabilities. 

For more tips on increasing your self-confidence, join Aliya Rajah in this online confidence challenge. 

All of the content on our website is thoroughly researched to ensure that the information shared is evidence-based. For more information, please visit the academic journals and other resources that influenced this article: Leadership And Self-Confidence; Self Confidence, And The Ability To Influence

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