How to Boost Your Confidence Instantly

by WiseFool

Simple things can have a massive impact on your sense of self. So, ensure you're making the most of opportunities to enhance your self-confidence.

Confidence is attractive. It makes us more appealing to prospective employers, potential friends and even lovers. However, many of us lack the self-esteem to make a first impression unfettered by concerns over how we'll be perceived.

It's natural to be nervous around new people and I'm not for one moment suggesting that we should all walk around with egos the size of the Great Wall of China. But wouldn't it be nice to feel more secure in yourself; to know that you are, in fact, 'good enough'?

Well, there are many ways to improve your perception of self, and most of them require time and practice. However, there are a few techniques that can have an almost instant effect on your self-confidence.

The Importance of Good Posture

This otter's no slouch - good postureHave you ever really taken note of how you stand and move? The fact is, most of us, me included, are predisposed to the kind of posture an arthritic sloth would be proud of: we slouch, we stoop our shoulders.

What's this all about? Well, consciously or subconsciously, there could be a couple of things going on. First, we're trying to make ourselves as small as possible, we want to go unnoticed. Second, we simply feel the doldrums, that sensation of life weighing down us. Life is tough, and we're clawing through as though in quicksand.

Because, for most of us, our natural pose is lethargic and slumpy, it can feel incredibly odd when you suddenly stand, sit or walk upright. Give it a go now. If you're sitting down, straighten your back, and notice how much taller you suddenly become.

People who carry themselves well and have good posture, aren't trying to occupy as small a space as possible; they are confident and secure enough to fill a whole room. Next time you're 'people watching' (and if you never people watch, then you should do it some time), take note of how people walk and stand, more importantly though, be aware of what assumptions you make about that person according to their posture.

We all assume people with good posture are more confident. We might even go as far as to assume that people with good posture are more affluent and/or intelligent.

So, why not try it for yourself? Get in front of a mirror and stand as straight as you can. Feels weird? Well, that just goes to show how badly you were standing before.

Oh and, of course, there's the added bonus of good posture being better for your back!

Correct posture may feel awkward for a while, but it's well worth sticking with, because not only will it alter the way people look at you, but it'll also change the way you look at yourself. It's amazing how something as simple as standing up straight can affect self-perception. 

Keep Smiling

Keep smiling, although perhaps not quite as menacingly as thisAlmost everybody looks more attractive when they smile. We are drawn to smilers; smiling is a way of acknowledging people, it's a way of socially bonding and, naturally, it's a spontaneous expression of happiness.

Now, it cannot be said that everybody who smiles frequently is happier. Some highly anxious people smile often, as a way of masking their feelings. Other very content people smile infrequently.

And although there is a school of thought that states a smile can actually make you happy, happiness here isn't really the goal. Instead, you're focusing on making yourself seem more comfortable and confident in your surroundings.

Personally, my natural, expressionless face makes me look as if I'm miserable - I'm sure I'm not alone in this. Many's the time I've been told to "cheer up!" and sometimes, I even get asked, "what's the matter?" When I'm nervous, this is worse, because a neutral face, coupled perhaps with a concerned crease of the brow, makes me seem decidedly depressed. I don't feel it, but it's the vibe I'm giving off to people around me.

Therefore, I've learned over the years that, if I'm trying to make a good first impression: at a job interview or meeting new people for the first time, it's important for me to smile.

I don't know whether this has a direct effect on my mood.

However, what I do know is that it makes an interviewer, or new friend, more comfortable, which in turn helps to put me at ease. The atmosphere is instantly lifted, and comfort is conducive to confidence.

Dress to Impress

Dress smart and you'll feel instantly more confidentRightly or wrongly, we judge a lot on appearances. We all know that we shouldn't, but it's a natural inclination that can't entirely be quelled.

The good news is that if you look good, then you're much more likely to feel good too. Gentleman,  have you ever noticed how much more confident you feel when dressed in a snappy suit? Ladies, ever realized you hold yourself differently, when you're in clothes that make you feel attractive?

It's true for all of us. Clothes really do maketh the man...or the woman.

However, there's a balance here, because you won't feel confident if you don't feel comfortable  So, I'm not advising wearing something that makes you feel hideously awkward. But I do think there's a happy medium between dressing well and dressing comfortably.

As far as confidence is concerned, you'll feel like a whole new person when you're dressed to impress. 

Make Eye Contact

Like a smile, eye contact is more important in terms of what it does to the people around you, than what it will directly do for you.

If someone makes eye contact with you and holds it, what thoughts go through your head?

For the sake of this thought experiment, we'll assume that the eye contact is not intense to the point of being creepy.

Whether or not eye contact makes you uncomfortable, and it can be excruciating for some people, what you're likely to assume about someone who can make and sustain eye contact is that they are confident and open.

With someone who wants to avoid your eyes, on the other hand, you're likely to feel wary. What have they got to hide? Are they lying?

Now, of course, this isn't to suggest all people who make eye contact are truthful and all people who avoid it are lying - conmen are extremely good at making their victims feel at ease and will use a lot of eye contact to achieve this. So, I'm not advising eye contact be used as a quasi lie detector.

However, our primal responses to these forms of interaction are hardwired. And the fact is, you will come across as more open and sincere if you're able to make eye contact with people. Like smiling, the comfort level of the other person (or people), will help to abate your own nerves and improve your own confidence.

Try to Look on The Bright Side

Try to see the silver liningIt's human nature, sadly, to point out the negative in things. For some people, it's in their nature to point out the negative in everything. At its source, this has a lot to do with trying to make ourselves feel better by comparison.

In reality, pointing out the faults in others has the exact opposite effect. If you spend your time being critical of others, that criticism will be equally focused on yourself (unless you're a narcissist).Slowly but surely, this thought process is eroding your self confidence.

The good news is that the reverse is also true: if you can find the positives in people or situations, you will, typically, beat yourself up less about your own failings.

This is not to say that you have to like everybody  or think that everything is wonderful. But if you're able to see the silver lining and recognize that nobody is all bad, it will have a tremendous impact on your perception of self and your overall view of life. 

Moreover, although we all have a propensity to be negative, none of us finds that quality attractive in others. Like smiling and making eye contact, if you're able to present a positive air, you're instantly making yourself more appealing.

And, as already discussed, the more magnetic you make yourself, the more at ease people around you will be and the more confident you will feel. 

Julie Andrews Has Confidence in All Kinds of Things

More Tips for Improving Your Self Perception

Self-pity and bitterness are destructive emotions that are best tossed aside. Easier said than done, you say? Well, maybe not.
Sensible, level-headed folk may tell you that following your dreams is a nonsense. But, just because the odds are stacked against you, doesn't mean it's impossible.
Updated: 03/25/2013, WiseFool
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frankbeswick on 12/28/2015

One good remedy for lack of confidence is to find the activities of which you are not confident then go and succeed in them. One area that always gave me trouble at school was woodwork. I was incapable of planing straight, so I exasperated the teacher. Things changed when it was found that I have defective eyesight, a condition that means that my visual judgment is skewed. It also affected my sport, as I would mis-kick footballs on my left side. Having learned that there was a cause to my condition, later on I took a woodwork course and now do not consider myself poor at this subject. OK, I am not a craftsman, but what I do looks good and works.

iggy on 12/28/2015

I have a good amount of confidence but know I cold have more, good information

MaggiePowell on 06/26/2013

Confidence is hard.... some days I just want to hide behind my glasses...Thanks for the tips, maybe now I can fake it better..

WiseFool on 04/02/2013

Thanks, Ruby. I appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to comment.

RubyHelenRose on 04/01/2013

sound of music, how wonderful, good memories, happy happy posture corrector!

WiseFool on 03/30/2013

You go, girl!

katiem2 on 03/30/2013

You are so right I'm on it! :)K

WiseFool on 03/27/2013

Hello, Mira. Thanks for adding that - it's a philosophy well worth keeping at the forefronts of our minds.

Mira on 03/26/2013

You make some great points. I would also add that taking charge to change the things we can change in our lives -- and then enjoying the results and the journey itself -- can be quite confidence-boosting. Many times we tend to focus on what's not going right, and that takes energy away from a focus on things we can turn our way, things we can make happen, like work that's closer to our vocation, or more life enjoyment by making it a priority to spend more time with friends, and so on.

WiseFool on 03/26/2013

Thanks, Dustytoes. Like you, I've been making a concerted effort to be more positive. I know negativity has been one of my great failings over the years. So now, when I realize I'm doing it, I make a conscious effort to stop and think of something good about whatever person, event or thing I'm bitching about. It's just retraining our thought process, and it's amazing how much of an effect that can have on the way you perceive yourself.

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