10 ways to Become More Confident Today
Author: Tatenda Sithole
And the meek shall rule the earth… That is, if it’s alright by everyone else…
We all want to be more confident. Who doesn’t? No-one enjoys being picked on, shying away from saying the things they want, passing up on the opportunities they desire because they can’t bring themselves to pip up and be heard.
But for those of us who seem frozen in inaction how do we move ourselves from where we are, to where we want to be? How do we go from silently telling ourselves that one day we’ll be riding our wave to actually getting that visual surfboard and catching our break?
I have looked around for some handy tips and tricks that other confident people and Psychologists have identified. If you have any more you want to add please feel free to comment under the post:
© Photographer: Iqoncept | Agency: Dreamstime.com
1. Learn about body language and learn to change yours. Body language conveys about 55% of what we communicate. Try this 5 minute fix to look more confident: Imagine you are a puppet on a string and the puppeteer is giving you a gentle pull on your shoulders and head. Walking tall is a visual cue of high self esteem. Look calmly and directly at people as they talk and learn to ‘mirror’ their body language so they feel you are engaged with what they are saying (Taylor, 2006).
2. Smile. Smiling releases endorphins that provide energy and gives you a feel-good factor. It also gives a positive message out to people around you.
3. Remain optimistic. Studies show that optimists tend to be higher achievers socially, they experience better physical health, they recover faster from illness, and suffer less from anxiety and depression. You can learn to be more optimistic by learning to be more versatile in your ways of coping. Even when faced with the worst-case scenario consider all the options available and take ‘versatile optimistic action’. Even if that action is a more cautious response (Baylis, 2009). So remember, the glass is always half full.
4. Embrace positive imagery. The mind is a strange tool. It latches on to whatever cues you give it. If you want to embrace positivity you have to learn to frame your language accordingly. Aim to replace negative imagery with positive imagery (Tannock, 2012). Accept that you do not have the power to change the past, but you can change how you see your future. Visualise yourself succeeding, being confident, play the scenarios in which you are confident and relaxed in your mind. Do you sense how your breathing changes (take a deep breath and exhale), your shoulders loosen, you are more calm, your body language more open? Practise this visualisation regularly and you will be amazed how confident you will begin to appear.
5. See yourself as others see you. Tannock (2012) has a simple 1 minute exercise you can try today. Stand in front of a mirror and close your eyes. Imagine a trusted friend or relative speaking to you in their voice. See them vividly. Hear them tell you, in their words, how much they love you and how they want you to be happy and do well in life. Spend a minute doing this exercise, and then open your eyes. Accept their words as reality. The person you see in the mirror is who they see, and they love you. As you are.
6. Put your worries in a worry box. Miller (2010) has a clever little trick that can help you feel more relaxed and therefore make you appear more confident. When you carry your worries around with you it can affect how ‘present’ you are around people. Miller suggests a daily exercise before the start of your day. Close your eyes. Identify the individual worries that you have that day. Put them into a ‘worry box’ in your mind – imagine this as one of those big black lockable ballot boxes. Once all your worries are in there lock the box using a secret combination, take three deep breaths. And get on with your day.
7. Do something that makes you feel good about yourself. Go for a walk, talk to someone you love, paint your nails, treat yourself. If you are happier it will radiate externally.
8. Find the positive answer. Taylor (2006) suggests that is more effective to acknowledge when we are unsuccessful in one area of our lives and avoid extending negative thinking patterns to other areas. If you acknowledge that you need to work on one area you can target this specifically. So for example if you had a relationship that did not work out, you can ask yourself:
– what have you learnt from this relationship?
– if you were not involved in the relationship/ an outsider, would you still feel negatively about the way things transpired?
– who is most harmed by your negative thinking? You or your ex?
But whatever you do don’t fool yourself into thinking that just because that relationship failed you are automatically a failure elsewhere. You’d be surprised just how easily that can happen.
9. Be a copycat. Find someone who is your role model, someone you admire. What qualities about them do you appreciate? The way they talk, walk, dress, communicate? See if you can mimic some of these until they feel natural for you.
10. Stay open to your feelings (Taylor, 2006). Accept that certain things will happen, whether you have control over them or not. Acknowledge your feelings, even if they are not comfortable ones and learn to move on from them. Always aim to learn something from them.
Fake it. Fake it. Fake it. In the beginning it will be hard, but if you ‘fake’ it for 3 weeks you might soon find that your brain starts to register this as a new habit. Before you know it, your assumed confidence will become part of your character and will feel more normal so that you do start to feel more confident, more engaged with your surroundings, more open to people.
Bayliss, N (2009): The Rough Guide to Happiness. Rough Guides Ltd. London.
Miller, S (2010): 7 Secrets of Confidence. CPI Mackays. Chatham, UK.
Tannock, A (2012): The Confidence Workbook. Hodder Education. London.
Taylor, R (2006): Develop Confidence: Build a positive approach to life and work. Dorling Kindersley Limited. London.