Confidence is a state of mind. Thankfully, you can train your mind and alter its state of inertia. Thus, if you are not exactly the confident kind, you can practice confidence, and slowly, it will come to you. Typically, lack of confidence stems from one or more of the following factors:
1. Body issues- People who are not comfortable with how they look often score on the confidence front.
2. Failure or rejection- Being rejected in relationships or professionally can seriously bog you down. A constant stream of failures can peg your self-confidence to an all-time low.
3. Criticism by people around you- It could be your parents, your family, or colleagues at your workplace, constant criticism can put a serious dent in your self-confidence.
The good news is, you can regain your confidence, or build it from scratch if you have never been the confident kind. There are tons of ways you can do that, but here are probably the most effective of the lot.
Ways to boost your self-confidence
1. Get your posture right
Your body language has a direct impact on how others perceive you, and how your own subconscious perceives you. So, the next time you step out of your house, tuck that tummy in, drop those shoulders back, and walk with your head held high. If you can take long strides, it will add to that confident posture.
Even if you are feeling low, walking or sitting in a confident posture can release hormones that make you feel good. At first, you will have to fake it, but if you do it every day, the posture will become a part of your personality, and help build your self-confidence.
Here is another tip. The next time you are feeling low or anxious, find a quiet corner, and raise both your hands, as if in elation. Research has shown that imaginary situations trigger the same response from our nervous system as real-world scenarios. Thus, when you fool your brain into thinking you are elated, it responds by actually making you feel elated.
2. Dress well
Research has shown that how you look has a direct impact on how you feel. Choose clothing and accessories that are comfortable and fit you well. If you have a beard, keep it neatly trimmed, and style your hair slick before you step out. When you look good, people around you appreciate it, which helps boost your self-confidence. Call it vain, but that’s how the world is.
3. Get out of your comfort zone
Low confidence is often a direct by-product of not taking enough risks in life. You don’t need to put all your life-savings in stocks though. That’s not risk-taking. That’s foolhardiness. It’s about taking small risks, and moving out of your comfort zone. For example, if you have never approached a stranger at a club or a party, do that. Remember, people don’t bite. If you are polite, you will most likely get a polite response from the other end too.
Similarly, if you are afraid of speaking in front of a crowd, host a family get-together to begin with. Don’t worry about making mistakes. Just have fun. When you get over your fears, it helps build your self-confidence.
It could even be as simple as going bungee-jumping the next time you take a vacation.
4. Be as prepared as possible
The next time you head for an interview, prepare for it. Research the company, rehearse the interview questions in front of a mirror, and even try to find out the remuneration paid for your position by the concerned organization. When you know answers to most questions, you automatically feel more confident about yourself.
It holds true for everyone in every situation. Have thorough knowledge of the industry you are working in, become a subject matter expert, and try to learn new things in your free time. It is also about learning about you. Identify your strengths and weaknesses, and then use the strengths to your advantage.
5. Visualize success
Visualization isn’t some hokum about believing before achieving. It is a scientific technique that involves your imagination. You need to imagine achieving a goal down to the very last detail. For example, if you want to give a successful presentation for an important project, imagine yourself standing in front of an audience at the end of the presentation, and people applauding you. Try to fill in the details of the scene. It could people who congratulate you personally, the room you are to give the presentation in, the position of your laptop etc.
You need to feel the elation that you would actually feel after you have done it. As pointed out earlier, the same set of neural pathways are activated in response to our feelings, be it a real-world or an imaginary situation.
Of course, you will need to practice the technique before you start getting it right.
6. Smile often
We are inherently more attracted to happy looking faces than sullen looking ones. But that’s beside the point. Science has proved that smiling can actually make you feel good about yourself. Moreover, when you smile, you appear more confident and composed. So the next time you are feeling low, just smile.
7. Exercise regularly
Exercise is good for the body, but if science is to be believed, it is good for the mind too. That exercise alleviates stress is common knowledge. However, research also suggests that regular exercise can give your
self-confidence a serious boost. You don’t necessarily need to spend hours in the gym though. Brisk jogging about everyday also suffices. The key is to break a sweat here.
8. Superstitions aren’t all bad
If a ritual makes you feel good, do it, despite the fact that it may defy all logic. Thus, if you feel confident in your favorite pair of socks before a meeting, don’t hesitate putting them on. Scientific date suggests that rituals that make you feel good about yourself can build confidence while reducing anxiety.