Everyone struggles with confidence at least occasionally. After a botched presentation or an awkward dinner conversation, you might wonder if you're truly as competent as you've always thought. But if you struggle with confidence on a regular basis or if your default state is feeling unconfident, it's important to use proactive strategies to make yourself feel better.
Increased confidence is associated with a much higher quality of life. It can also help you succeed in job interviews and build a more robust social network. But you can't just flip a switch and feel more confident automatically; you have to work at it.
The good news is, there are many tactics that can help you feel more confident.
These are some of the best short-term strategies you can employ to feel more confident in the moment or throughout the day:
1. Spring for a new accessory
Depending on your current state of mind, a new fashion accessory could be exactly what you need to feel better about yourself. Investing in a leather backpack could make you feel more stylish and more like yourself in a matter of minutes. The right sunglasses can perfectly frame your face and make you feel more attractive. A ring or a similar piece of jewelry to do something similar.
2. Get a haircut
Similarly, you could get a haircut (as long as you're getting that haircut from someone you trust to do a good job). The right stylist can instantly give you a refreshed look or totally change your personal style. Either way, you'll walk away from the experience feeling like a different person and with some renewed confidence. If a haircut isn't in the cards, you can't get the same effect by shaving, trimming your bangs, or otherwise upgrading your appearance.
3. Stand tall
Studies show that the right posture can make you feel more confident almost instantly. If you stand upright with your shoulders back or sit with proper upright posture, you're going to feel better about yourself than you would by slouching. It takes attention and effort to maintain this posture, but it's worth that investment.
4. Smile and laugh
Even if you don't feel like it, make it a point to smile wide and have a good laugh. Smiling and laughing can make you feel good and feel more confident in your interactions to come. If you can't bring yourself to do it solo, ask a friend or coworker to tell you a joke – laughing is better with a friend anyway.
5. List your strengths
Take some time to list out your strengths and things you like about yourself, even if you only do so mentally. For example, are you really good at your job? Or are you the best pastry chef you know? Are you proud of the creative doodles you come up with? It's a great way to remind yourself of all your positive qualities and should have a sudden and dramatic impact on how you feel about yourself.
If you want to set yourself up for more long-term and consistent confidence, these are the best strategies for you:
Make it a point to journal on a regular basis. Writing down your thoughts and feelings is one of the best ways to process them and understand how they influence your psychology. It's also a great time to come face to face with your memories and recent past experiences. Over time, it will give you greater self-awareness and greater potential for emotional regulation; you can also read your journal in the future to see how much progress you've made.
2. Get fit
If you're not already doing so, work to achieve physical fitness. You don't have to be a bodybuilder or a model, but better eating habits and a regimen of daily exercise can make you feel much better about yourself while prolonging your lifespan.
3. Acquire new strengths
Remember listing your strengths in the previous section? Let's make that list longer. You'll feel more confident about yourself if you have more strengths to brag about, so find new skills to learn and new things to master.
4. Make new friends
It’s also helpful to make new friends (and reinforce your existing friendships). Reach out to new people regularly and get to know them. It may feel superficial at first, but once you get to know each other better, your bonds will grow; with a bigger network of supportive and insightful friends, you’ll naturally feel more confident.
5. Practice positive self-talk
Low confidence is often due to negative self-talk, so make it a point to counteract those negative thoughts with positive self-talk. Catch yourself talking down to yourself and correct those phrases before they begin to influence your self-perception.
Your boost of confidence may not be enormous and it may not last forever, but every confidence increase could be significant for your wellbeing. Take these strategies seriously and use them well to boost your self-esteem and ultimately achieve more.