Monday, June 27, 2011

10 Secrets for Instant Self-Confidence

Self Confidence
1. Smile
The one-second tip for when you’re feeling nervous and unconfident is simply to smile! You don’t just smile because you are happy and confident – you can smile to make yourself feel better. The act of smiling is so strongly associated with positive feelings that it’s almost impossible to feel bad while smiling.

2. Make eye contact

As well as smiling, meet the eyes of other people in the room. Give them your smile; you’ll almost certainly get one back, and being smiled at is a great self-confidence boost. Like smiling, eye contact shows people that you’re confident. Staring at your shoes or at the table reinforces your feelings of self-doubt and shyness.
3. Change your inner voice

Most of us have a critical inner voice that tells us we’re stupid, not good enough, that we’re too fat, thin, loud, quiet… Being able to change that inner voice is key to feeling self-confident on the inside, which will help you project your confidence to the world. Make your inner voice a supportive friend who knows you fully but also recognizes your talents and gifts, and wants you to make the best of yourself.

4. Forget other people’s standards

Whatever the situation that’s causing you a crisis of self-confidence, you can help yourself immeasurably by holding yourself to your own standards alone. Other people have different values from you, and however hard you try, you’ll never please everyone all of the time. Don’t worry that people will think you’re too overweight, underweight, too feckless, too boring, too frugal, too frivolous … hold yourself to your standards, not some imagined standards belonging to others. And remember that commonly-held values and standards vary from society to society: you don’t have to accept them just because the people around you do.

5. Make the most of your appearance

Even if you’ve only got a minute or two, duck into the bathroom to make sure you’re looking your best. Brushing your hair, giving your face a good wash, retouching your makeup, straightening your collar, checking you’ve not got a bit of parsley stuck between your teeth … all of these can make the difference between feeling confident in your physical appearance and feeling anxious about an imagined flaw.

6. Pray or meditate briefly

If you believe in a higher power, whether God, or another spiritual force, it can be a real boost to self-confidence to say a silent prayer. (You could also meditate instead of praying.) This helps you to take a step back from your immediate situation, to see the wider picture and to seek help from something or someone greater than yourself. This is a Christian prayer, but you could write something similar that fits your own religious beliefs or spiritual tradition:

7. Reframe

If something unexpected happens, it’s easy to let it knock your fledgling self-confidence. Perhaps you spill your drink on someone, you arrive late for the big meeting because of traffic problems, or someone who you wanted to speak to gives you a cold brush-off. Try to “reframe” the situation; put it in the best possible light: often, events are only negative because of the meaning we attach to them.

8. Find the next step

Keep your self-confidence up by taking gradual steps forwards, rather than freezing when faced with what seems like a giant leap. If you’re not sure what to do, look for one simple step that you can take to make progress. That might mean making eye contact at a party, introducing yourself to a stranger, breaking the ice in a meeting, or asking a question of your interviewers that shows your knowledge of their industry and company.
9. Speak slowly

An easy tip for both seeming and being more self-confidence is to speak slowly. If you gabble, you’ll end up feeling worse as you know you’re being unclear to your audience or to the person you’re in a conversation with. Speaking slowly gives you the chance to think about what you’re going to say next. If you’re giving a talk or presentation, pause at the end of phrases and sentences to help your audience take in what you’ve said.

10. Contribute something

Have you ever sat through an entire class at college or meeting at work without saying a word? Have you had an evening out where friends chatted happily while you sat and stared silently at your drink? Chances are, you weren’t feeling very self-confident at the time – and you probably felt even worse afterwards. Whatever the situation you’re in, make an effort to contribute. Even if you don’t think you have much to say, your thoughts and perspective are valuable to those around you.

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