How To Boost Self Confidence
It's your second month of your new job and, unfortunately, you're in way over your head because—just maybe—you may have fudged a couple tiny facts about your skill level on your resume. Should you scamper from the office with your tail between your legs? Heck no! You have psychology on your side. It's time to take a deep breath and fake it until you make it.
"If you alter your actions, usually the belief system within you follows," explains licensed therapist Cerina Griffin. "When we choose to put mind over mood, it is transformative what can take place within our emotional and mental well-being."
Here are seven tried and true ways to get your game face on.
Strike a Pose
According to experts at the Harvard Business School, power poses affect how others perceive you and also increase testosterone and decrease cortisol. Stand in front of the mirror with your chin slightly lifted, your hands on your hips, elbows out or arms expanded with open palms, and legs slightly parted, creating an expansive posture à la Wonder Woman or Superman. Do this for up to two minutes as a warm-up before potentially stressful situations to get that hormone-balancing boost—exactly what you need to feel and look your most confident.
A hallmark characteristic of a confident person is the appearance of looking calm, happy, and collected. Every time you smile, it releases feel-good brain chemicals like serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine, having a huge impact not just on you, but also the people you interact with. These chemicals decrease blood pressure and stress hormone levels, so that you relax and a sense of well-being takes over. What's more, a study in the Review of Personality and Social Psychology reports smiling is contagious; each time you smile at someone, their mirror neurons compel them to do the same—and they get the same brain chemical benefit.
Look Them in the Eye
Michael Ellsburg, author of The Power of Eye Contact, states that looking people in the eye increases the chances of people perceiving you as confident. Making direct eye contact lets people know that you are interested in what they have to say; you are sharing focused attention with them. In turn, they'll respond positively because they feel important. Practice by looking into the eyes of friends and family. Stay relaxed and completely focused on the other person. Look at one eye at a time instead of darting from left to right. When distracted, remind yourself to stay focused on the person you are talking to. If you are speaking in a group setting, be sure to share eye contact with each individual subject in the group.
Walk With Purpose
Psychologists from the University of Durham University found that the way you carry yourself when walking affects how you feel internally as well as how others view you in a first impression. Slouching and walking in a sloppy manner causes people to question your capabilities. Standing tall with good posture and taking purposeful steps can make you look—and feel—more confident. Walking with purpose actually helps keep your mind focused. Energize each step and you will feel energized.
Get Fit and Healthy
Researchers at Harvard University report that a consistent exercise routine can help boost your mood for up to 12 hours after you work out. Furthermore, people who exercise tend to feel better about themselves in general, causing them to smile more, stand prouder, look people in the eye, and carry a little bounce in their step. (All characteristics discussed above!)
Dress the Part
Dressing in a classy way will affect how others view you. Keep things ironed, clean, and well-fitting. "Frumpy" never works in a job interview and there's no greater dating fail than skinny jeans that make you look like a water balloon stuck in a Chinese finger trap. Color professor Jill Morton, author of Color Voodoo, suggests choosing the color of your clothes wisely. Red is an aggressive, energetic color that makes you stand out. Black is a sophisticated and conservative color that can appear very powerful on some. Blue is a soothing color that is calming and pleasing to the eye. Know what colors look best on you.
When you articulate your words slowly and succinctly, your heart rate decreases, as does the person's you are speaking to, causing everyone involved to feel more calm and focused. People rarely remember what you said but will always remember how you made them feel. Speech and language pathologist Katie Schwartz states, "What matters is not how many words a speaker can get out, but how many (well-chosen) words are understood by the listener." Practice breathing slowly before you begin a conversation. Use fewer words to get a point across, and leave out meaningless filler words such as "like", "kind of", and "ya know." Confident people get to the point.