Confidence is sexy and powerful. In fact, research shows that confidence is as important as competence in achieving success and building relationships. In the workplace, confidence helps managers to garner support, cultivate trust and achieve results — even when they lack competence in management skills. And in the mating game, confidence is equally important with confident daters consistently ranked as the most attractive both physically and behaviourally.
But confidence isn’t static or inherent — it is fluid and can be cultivated through daily habits that help to shape the way you think and behave. You can build confidence in a variety of ways including these eleven simple tips that you can implement today:
1. Write down the compliments you receive. Most of us brush off compliments without a second thought and in doing so, we overlook valuable opportunities to boost confidence and expand our send of self. The next time someone pays you a compliment, take a moment to absorb it and consider scribbling it down. By writing down what you like about yourself (or what others say they like about you), you’re training yourself to value and remember these positive thoughts. When you write things down, you trigger cells in the brain called the reticular activating system (RAS) which experts say help to filter important information.
2. Compliment others. Studies show that giving a compliment also results in a boost in self-esteem to the compliment-giver,
so don’t hold back. Sing the praises of those with whom you work, play, live and laugh. If you happen to be complimenting your partner, be sure to express multidimensional admiration — don’t simply compliment their appearance, but also show appreciation for their actions, support, personality, and skills.
3. Get moving! Even if you don’t have time to hit the gym, do 40 squats, 40 lunges, and 40 pushups right now. If you can take coffee or bathroom break today, you can most certainly take a seven-minute break from work in the name of fitness. A wealth of research shows a positive correlation between exercise and positive self-image and it only takes a few minutes to reap the rewards.
4. Break up with friends who body shame themselves and others and seek the company of positive people. Studies show that happiness, confidence and positive body image are contagious, so surround yourself with people who have positive attitudes. If your friends are constantly criticizing others, complaining about their bodies and/or obsessing over their weight, you’re more likely to do so too and this can wreak havoc on your sex life. Body image can impact desire, arousal, orgasm and sexual satisfaction so take steps to immerse yourself in environments which help to support overall self-esteem.
5. Learn something simple today. From yoga and dance to cooking and home repair, acquiring new skills is good for your self-esteem. You might want to learn to cook a new dish, tie a bowtie, say a few words in another language (check out Duolingo for free) or make napkin origami. Whatever your interest, keep it simple and set a new learning goal each week.
6. Hug it out. Physical affection can boost confidence, so seize every opportunity to engage in a warm embrace with a loved one, friend or family member.
7. Think of a powerful moment in time. Can you recall a time when you felt powerful? Perhaps it was in a boardroom, on a sports field or in the classroom. Visualize that moment to boost your confidence before a big date, presentation or meeting.
8. Volunteer. Research shows that volunteering boosts self-esteem, health, happiness and psychological well-being. Opportunities to help others abound across the nation and you can select a role that suits your passion and strengths. Click here to find local volunteer postings.
9. Masturbate. Self-pleasure and self-esteem are positively correlated, so reach down there and give yourself a hand (or two)! When your body performs for you, whether through daily tasks, physical fitness or sexual pleasure, you tend to feel better about its appearance and function.
10. Change/improve one small habit. Do you want to get up ten minutes earlier, eat one extra serving of veggies, walk an extra 400 metres or save an extra $100 per week? Perhaps you want to spend more time with your kids or have more sex with your partner? Changing your daily habits is easier than you think. It can be as simple as setting an alarm, preplanning your meals, parking a few blocks away or cutting back on your Starbucks habit. Choose one habit to address and write down how you’ll make the change right now. Set an alarm on your phone if you need a reminder and pat yourself on your back the very first time you make a change. After a few weeks, your new habit will be formed and you’ll be on your way to a happier, healthier, more confident YOU!
11. Acknowledge and address thoughts and feelings that threaten your confidence. The most confident among us experiences (lasting) moments of low self-esteem, as the brain is plastic and changes in response to its experiences. This means that despite working actively on building self-confidence, you will inevitably have thoughts and feelings that shake your self-esteem and it’s important to acknowledge these experiences, identify their triggers and challenge their legitimacy.
For example, if you feel nervous before going out on a date, there is no sense in ignoring or denying the feelings of nervousness. Instead, embrace it! Ask yourself why you’re nervous and accept that it’s common to feel this way before a date. If your nervousness is more intense and connected to a detrimental cognitive distortion (e.g. My date is going to hate me. Every date I go on is a disaster.), then it’s time to use rational thought to assess this “hot thought”. Think about dates that weren’t disasters. Make a mental inventory of the positive experiences and interactions you’ve had on previous dates so that you can formulate a more realistic thought (e.g. It could go well, so I’m going to keep an open and just enjoy the experience).
Rather than sweeping thoughts and feelings that threaten your confidence under the rug, face them head-on and allow rational thought to lead you back into a healthy confidence zone.